Asus M5A78L / USB3

"core1" - workstation


  • box: PC6070BSCANDV2 black miditower from Lian Li.
  • power supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 400W (was: Corsair CX 430W V2)
  • motherboard: M5A78L / USB3 from Asus. Note this motherboard is ATX sized, not micro-ATX.
  • memory: 2 x Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary Edition 16GB 1600 MHz (kit with 2 x 8 GB), 4 DIMMs, a total of 32 GB memory (maximum). All fours slots filled.
  • cpu: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, Quad-Core @ 3.4 GHz
  • cpu cooler: stock
  • gfx card: MSI Radeon R5 230 1GB DDR3, passive cooling (was: XFX Radeon HD5450 1 GB DDR3)


  • 1 x ssd: SanDisk Ultra Plus 128 GB (SDSSDHP-128G, serial number: 130740403862)
  • 1 x hdd: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 rpm sata 6 Gbps
  • 1 x odd: NEC AD-5170 IDE, DVD+R/+RW/DVD-R/-RW (Dual layer)
  • 1 x ssd: Crucial M500 240 GB SSD (CT240M500SSD1, serial number: 13430954ed69, firmware: MU03)

bios: version 1701 (was: 1401).

Operating systems: FreeBSD,

kvm switch: port 4

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History / work log

2021-08-01: I re-created this page on my self-hosted web server.

2020-08-04: the internal DVD drive (/dev/cd0, "Optiarc DVD RW AD-5170A 1.12" according to camcontrol devlist) doesn't read (audio) CD's anymore. Luckily, the external Plextor still works, even if a bit unstable. I can mount cd9660 DVD's in /dev/cd0 via mount /cdrom but it fails most of the time, feels like the drive takes a long time to recognize the cd / dvd. Maybe the drive needs to be cleaned. Or maybe the laser is going bad.

2020-01-15: Hmm, today the machine is unresponsive, ssh sessions terminated

root@kg-core1# Fssh_packet_write_wait: Connection to port 22: Broken pipe

and no response to ping, nothing on console / primary screen either. I powered it off (swedish button), powered it back on and it booted normally.

2019-09-03: PSU - replaced the old CX430W with the new MasterWatt Lite 400W, and the machine is now alive again. The new PSU is nice and quiet.

2019-09-02: PSU - at 14:03 I got a text message that my item was ready for pickup in my designated Elkjop store. I picked it up on my way home.

2019-08-24: I ordered a new PSU from Elkjop, they had a Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 400W for NOK 299.- which is cheap. I don't know anything bout the MasterWatt series, we shall find out when it arrives.

2019-08-24: psu - today I tested the PSU. It is dead, not a single voltage out of it when connected to my chinese PSU tester.

2019-08-21: after a power outage last night, the machine refused to power on.

2019-06-22: in bios I enabled 'SVM', to use virtual machines.

2019-06-20: shutdown the machine and cleaned it of dust. A dust "lump" had clogged the CPU fan so it didn't start afterwards, but once the clog was removed, everything is back to normal again.

2018-07-30: I shutdown the machine and swapped out the temporary nvidia card for the new MSI Radeon R5 230. After getting it back together, pciconf identifies the card like this:

root@kg-core1# pciconf -lv | grep -A 4 vga
vgapci0@pci0:1:0:0:    class=0x030000 card=0x80991462 chip=0x677b1002 rev=0x00 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI]'
    device     = 'Caicos PRO [Radeon HD 7450]'
    class      = display
    subclass   = VGA


2018-07-30: I got a "ready for pick-up" message on my phone, and picked up the package from the pick-up point during the day.

2018-07-29: from Komplett, I ordered 1 x MSI Radeon R5 230 1GB DDR3 (884880) for NOK 449.- delivered to a pick-up point near me. It was the cheapest passively cooled Radeon card I could find.

2018-07-29: I found a [Asus EN6200TC256]( card in the ASrock M3A UCC machine, this machine is powered off, so I'm borrowing this card.

2018-07-28: I shut down the machine and replaced the graphics card (temporary replacement)

old: XFX Radeon HD5450 1 GB DDR3
new: Club HD4850 512MB

the "new" one is already annoying, because it has a fan. I have other grahics cards, but they require 2 x PCIE 6-pin power, and the CX430 in this machine only have 1 x PCIE connector. And they also have fans. I will be looking for a new fanless graphics card come next week.

2016-10-05: an unscheduled power outage this evening required a power on of the machine after power was restored.

2016-08-26: after a scheduled power outage (power company scheduled maintenance), I powered on the machine this morning - it worked. But - shortly after I start graphics mode (via startxfce4) the machine blanks the screen, and is unreachable over the network. It doesn't reboot. I can power off and on, and repeat this sequence. So, PSU, gfx card, motherboard or .. software. It only happens in FreeBSD 9.3-stable. When I use FreeBSD 8.4-stable - no problems. Time to update my 9.3 installation.

2014-10-25: bios - I updated to version 1701, date 04/27/2013, via EZ Flash 2 and a FAT-formatted usb stick. After the update the "System Information" screen in BIOS shows version 1701, build date 04/27/2013.

2014-10-25: installing a new SSD in the machine, a Crucial M500 240 GB (had it laying around from a previous "buy when its cheap" round). Details: Model: CT240M500SSD1, serial number: 13430954ed69, firmware: MU03, I just laid that drive loose in the hard drive cage too. I also rearranged the sata cables, so that the drives are connected to motherboard sata ports like this: port 1 - SanDisk 128 GB SSD, port 2 - Seagate 1TB HDD, port 2 - Crucial 240 GB SSD. Verified that all three drives show up in the BIOS.

2014-10-25: bios - newest version is 1701, "improve system stability" dated 2013/12/19.

2014-05-10: or I could build a fan controller: this one is half-finished, based on msp430. AVR based one here.

2014-05-10: fans - the CPU fan noise level is becoming annoying; the CPU is working more and the fan runs quicker than it used to. I checked the front fan filter and cleaned it (it wasn't very dirty). I also cleaned the fan grille on the back of the chassis, and on the side door. Both of these were quite dusty. I need to find a fan controller and see if I can get the front fan connected and running. If that isn't enough, I also have the side door fan ready to use. It seems like 5000 rpm for the fans is the pain limit; above that and I am annoyed, below that I'm ok.

2013-08-16: I connected a Belkin usb hub (F5U701-BLK, 7-Port Powered Mobile Hub) to the machine. When first connected without power, it shows up like this in /var/log/messages:

Aug 16 14:31:43 kg-core1 kernel: uhub8: <vendor 0x05e3 USB2.0 Hub, class 9/0, rev 2.00/32.98, addr 2> on usbus2
Aug 16 14:31:44 kg-core1 kernel: uhub8: 4 ports with 4 removable, self powered
Aug 16 14:31:45 kg-core1 kernel: ugen2.3: <vendor 0x05e3> at usbus2
Aug 16 14:31:45 kg-core1 kernel: uhub9: <vendor 0x05e3 USB2.0 Hub, class 9/0, rev 2.00/32.98, addr 3> on usbus2
Aug 16 14:31:45 kg-core1 kernel: uhub9: 4 ports with 4 removable, self powered

output from usbconfig:

root@kg-core1# usbconfig -u 2
ugen2.1: <EHCI root HUB ATI> at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE
ugen2.2: <USB2.0 Hub vendor 0x05e3> at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE
ugen2.3: <USB2.0 Hub vendor 0x05e3> at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE

(the first line is the internal USB controller on the motherboard). So it seems it is two 4-port hubs in one box.

device description

root@kg-core1# usbconfig -d ugen2.2 dump_device_desc
ugen2.2: <USB2.0 Hub vendor 0x05e3> at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE

  bLength = 0x0012
  bDescriptorType = 0x0001
  bcdUSB = 0x0200
  bDeviceClass = 0x0009
  bDeviceSubClass = 0x0000
  bDeviceProtocol = 0x0001
  bMaxPacketSize0 = 0x0040
  idVendor = 0x05e3
  idProduct = 0x0608
  bcdDevice = 0x3298
  iManufacturer = 0x0000  <no string>
  iProduct = 0x0001  <USB2.0 Hub>
  iSerialNumber = 0x0000  <no string>
  bNumConfigurations = 0x0001

current config

root@kg-core1# usbconfig -d ugen2.2 dump_curr_config_desc
ugen2.2: <USB2.0 Hub vendor 0x05e3> at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE

 Configuration index 0

    bLength = 0x0009
    bDescriptorType = 0x0002
    wTotalLength = 0x0019
    bNumInterfaces = 0x0001
    bConfigurationValue = 0x0001
    iConfiguration = 0x0000  <no string>
    bmAttributes = 0x00e0
    bMaxPower = 0x0032

    Interface 0
      bLength = 0x0009
      bDescriptorType = 0x0004
      bInterfaceNumber = 0x0000
      bAlternateSetting = 0x0000
      bNumEndpoints = 0x0001
      bInterfaceClass = 0x0009
      bInterfaceSubClass = 0x0000
      bInterfaceProtocol = 0x0000
      iInterface = 0x0000  <no string>

     Endpoint 0
        bLength = 0x0007
        bDescriptorType = 0x0005
        bEndpointAddress = 0x0081  <IN>
        bmAttributes = 0x0003  <INTERRUPT>
        wMaxPacketSize = 0x0001
        bInterval = 0x000c
        bRefresh = 0x0000
        bSynchAddress = 0x0000

No change is deteced if I power the usb hub using the included external PSU. That's all.

2013-07-24: HDD firmware update for the Seagate drive. Article 223651 says that firmware version CC4H is available, my drive has CC47. Download iso, burn to cd, boot. I used the cdrecord on the vm machine to burn the CD (bonus - new DVD drive tested). I also tested that the CD is mountable and readable on the core1 machine (tested the old DVD drive) - ok. Booted from the CD, followed all steps, but the Seagate firmware utility said that it found no matching drives. Inputting model no (ST1000DM003) and serial no (Z1D58E0Y) on the Seagate web got me info that theres is no newer firmware available. Oh well. More info:

Serial Number:    Z1D58E0Y
Model Number:    ST1000DM003
Part Number:    1CH162-305
Family:    BARRACUDA 7200.14 FAMILY

That's it.

2013-07-23: first power on: BIOS version 1401, everything looks ok. BIOS: I changed SATA configuration from "IDE" to "AHCI". Booting from the FreeBSD 8.4-release memstick image further verifies; things look ok. For good measure, I also booted from the FreeBSD 9.1-release memstick image - ok there too. BIOS: newest version is 1503.

2013-07-23: new case: starting to mount new parts into the PC6070B case. The PSU and the DVD drive is already there. I moved a few of the standoffs (there are 6 standoffs) into the correct position for a ATX motherboard, and installed the new I/O shield. Installed the motherboard and secured with 6 screws. Next up is the CPU and cpu cooler. Open lever on cpu socket, insert cpu gently (the correct way, triangles matching up on cpu and socket), close lever. The stock cooler comes with thermal paste already applied, so just place the cooler (the lever should be on the opposite edge as the CPU fan socket on the motherboard, attach it and close the lever. Connect the CPU fan connector to the matching socket. I also connected the rear fan to the chassis fan socket. Memory next: I have 4 DIMMs, 2 kits of KHX16LC10X3K2/16X (16GB DDR3L - 1600 CL10 240 pin UDIMM kit (2 x 8GB)). Just click them in. There is no front audio on this case, so the AAFP (front panel audio) connector isn't used. Next I connected up the front usb connectors, the ATX power connectors, then the system panel connector, remembering that the Reset sw and Power sw connectors is reversed in the case. Connected up the IDE connector to the DVD drive. Storage: I first installed the Barracuda 1TB hard drive in the upper slot of the hard drive cage, I didn't find a good place and method to secure the SSD drive, so currently it just lays in the hard drive cage. I connected up the power cables to the drives. The only remaining part now is the graphics card: I choose the Radeon HD5450 first, we'll see how good it works. It doesn't have any extra power connectors, so I just plug it into the PCIe 2.0 x16 slot and secure it with the screw for the edge bracket. This card has VGA, HDMI and DVI outputs - good. Ready for test power on.

2013-07-22: I got a delivery note, and picked up the parcels (there were three) at my local post office (Sofienberg). Later this evening, when I started unpacking, I realized something: the motherboard is ATX size, not Micro-ATX. Asus has the correct specs, Netonnet has the wrong specs. Darn!. After a bit of thinking, I figured out that I'll just use the Core 1000 case for the [vm] machine (which has a micro-ATX motherboard), and reuse that case, which is a Lian Li miditower PC6070BSCANDV2, black. That case accepts ATX motherboards.

2013-07-14: I ordered the parts for a new workstation from Parts are:

case: 1 x Fractal Design Core 1000, NOK 299.-
psu: 1 x Corsair CX430W modular, NOK 365.-
motherboard: 1 x Asus M5A78L / USB 3, NOK 579.- (specifications at Netonnet's web site said that this is a Micro-ATX sized motherboard)
cpu: 1 x AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, NOK 619.-
memory: 2 x Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary Edition 16GB 1600 MHz (kit with 2 x 8 GB), NOK 949.- each, total NOK 1898.-
optical drive: 1 x Samsung SH-224BB, internal DVD, sata, NOK 179.-
ssd: 1 x SanDisk Ultra Plus 128 GB, NOK 699.-
hdd: 1 x Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 rpm sata 6 Gbps, NOK 499.-

optional parts:

graphics card: 1 x EVGA GeForce 210 1 GB DDR3, no fan, NOK 219.-
graphics card: 1 x  XFX Radeon HD5450 1 GB DDR3, no fan, NOK 249.-

without optional parts the total is NOK 5137.- , with optional parts the total is NOK 5605.- Not bad for a new workstation.