CentOS 4.4 and New nForce Chipsets

CentOS is a great OS, and we use it for all our cPanel installs. It is getting a little old, but currently CentOS 5 isn’t supported by cPanel, so we must continue to use CentOS 4.4 for these installs.

The latest batch of motherboards we got in use the MCP61 (nForce 430 chipset). Luckily the SATA controller is supported using the nv_sata kernel module that comes with CentOS 4.4, so there is no need to upgrade that. However the network interface of this chipset is not recognized by the forcedeth driver (reverse engineered nForce network driver).

The solution to fix this problem is to compile the latest forcedeth.ko (kernel module). Here is how you do it.

1) Install CentOS and be sure to install gcc and kernel-devel for your kernel.
2) Download the latest forcedeth drivers from nVidia. You can get them from here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_nforce_1.21.html
3) Extract the files from the zip file.
4) Change to the directory that contains the forcedeth.c source code. (./NV_Linux_DRV_PKG_v1.21/RHEL4_U4/source)
5) Create a Makefile that contains:
obj-m := forcedeth.o
6) Now compile the module with the following command:
make -C /usr/src/kernels/2.6.9-42.0.10.EL-i686/ SUBDIRS=$PWD modules

Please note that your path might differ as you might be using a different version of the kernel.

7) When this completes you will have a new forcedeth.ko file in the current directory. Move this file into modules directory:

cp forcedeth.ko /lib/modules/2.6.9-42.0.10.EL/kernel/drivers/net/

Again, your path might differ based on the version of the kernel you are running.

8) Add an entry to alias the kernel module to your network interface in /etc/modprobe.conf
alias eth0 forcedeth

I threw a reboot at the machine just in case, but you can also do:

modprobe forcedeth

and your network card should now appear in:

ifconfig -a

And there you go…

Comments (2)

  1. 1:08 pm, January 15, 2009Brailler 

    Thank you for the article.

    I just got an ASUS M3N78-VM motherboard with the NVIDIA GeForce 8200 (MCP78S) chipset and the LAN wasn’t working on PBX In a Flash 1.3 (based on CentOs). Followed your instructions and now the LAN works.

    Hope this helps someone else who has a similar problem find this page.

  2. 2:06 am, July 5, 2009Jirapong 

    You're saved my day!!! Thank you.

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