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PCIe reference design does not work on various Dell platforms

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
911 Views

I have been trying to get the Arria II GX development board running with the PCIe reference design, and I'm losing the will to live. 

 

It appears to work fine in a Dell XPS-730 machine, but it doesn't work in a Dell R710, a Dell R610, or a Dell R5400. 

 

With the Altera card installed in any of these machines, the BIOS reports "PCIe training error" and then fails to boot. 

 

Altera support claims that this is a Dell BIOS issue. Dell claim we have the latest BIOS and there is nothing wrong with their machines. I have tried two different BIOS versions. I can install other PCIe cards in all the Dell boxes and they work fine. I'm totally at a loss here... if the Altera PCIe reference design simply doesn't work in the world's most popular brand of computer, what can you do? 

 

Has anyone else encountered this problem before? 

 

I have tried the x1, x4 and x8 reference designs using both hard IP and soft IP, and none of them work on 3 out of 4 Dell platforms. 

 

The only thing I can think to do now, is to buy an expensive PCIe protocol analyzer and see if I can work out what on earth is going on here. 

 

Many thanks for any thoughts or help, 

Mike.
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6 Replies
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
132 Views

I've noticed an old thread on this issue, but it's not clear to me what the solution is (if indeed there is a solution). 

 

The only option I see now is to ditch Altera and move to a different PCIe solution.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
132 Views

If you don't mind, can you show the thread that you are referring to? 

I'm kind of interested in.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
132 Views

The forum won't let me post a link, because I haven't made enough posts yet. 

 

Google for "altera pcie training error", and that should find it for you. 

 

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
132 Views

I tried on Optiplex 745. Interestingly, this PC doesn't train up at x8 or x4. It only trains up on x1. i5/i7 only trains up at x1 or x8. I'm using x8.  

 

Check if your chipset or CPU is compatible with Altera's PCIe IP.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
132 Views

Is there a list of compatible chipsets? My question would be, why isn't it compatible with all chipsets within the PCIe specification? 

 

I spent some time with a protocol analyser looking at what is going on. I found that, in some machines, the Altera FPGA never transmits TS1 traning sequences. This, in turn, causes the motherboard to go into compliance mode and transmit compliance messages. 

 

From this I would deduce that the PCIe core is not 'detecting' the receivers on the motherboard for whatever reason. Maybe there's a way to force detection by hacking the PCIe core?
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
132 Views

Hi Siskin, 

 

I did see a compatible chipset list but can't remember where I saw. For my case, it was i5 which wasn't in the list because the list was somewhat old. I believe you do have to request Altera for that.  

 

It's definitely nice to have protocol analyser to sniff PCIe interface. I haven't gone down that path. So, I don't have much to help you on that. 

 

K.
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