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Hardware:

AsRock X99 WS-E
Xeon E5-2609
4x GTX 1080

I'm currently attempting to install a newer system, after purchasing a M.2 drive to replace an older SATA drive I have. The software currently running on the SATA drive works as intended, specced as below:

Mint 18.2 x64
Cinnamon
Kernel 4.8.0-53-generic
Nvidia 384.69

Installation preparations for systems intended for the M.2 drive are as follows:

Rufus on Windows 10 creates bootable USB drive with distro ISO
GPT partition scheme for UEFI
Large FAT32 file system
32Kb cluster size

Originally, I had attempted to install the newer Mint 18.3, but I had run into issues. The exact steps taken after a clean install of the system was:

add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers-ppa
apt update
apt full-upgrade
apt install nvidia-384
reboot now

Upon reboot, it would make it past GRUB, and to the splash screen. Shortly after, the screen would go blank. Can't even Alt + F1 to terminal. All I could do was Alt + SysRq + B to restart.

I have also attempted this with 387 and 390, trying both the ppa, and the .run file directly from Nvidia's website. In the case of .run installations, I had not added the ppa from above.

I have attempted this with the following distros:

Mint 18.3
Debian 9.3
Lubuntu 17.10
Ubuntu 17.10
Ubuntu 17.10 server

The majority of these distros gave me the blank screen issue. Lubuntu seemed to get to the desktop just fine, until everything froze a few seconds later, with the SysRq combination being the only thing I could do from the keyboard.

In addition, I have tried multiple kernel versions, including 4.15.1, 4.13, and the default versions that have come with each distro listed above.

nomodeset does not solve the issue. Secure boot is disabled. SATA drive is disconnected to avoid potential interference with installation and operation from M.2.

Nouveau drivers are strictly off-limits, as I require Nvidia's drivers to be able to run Folding@Home (which is the sole purpose of the system, and another one with identical hardware).

I'm tired, guys. Three days spending every waking moment working on a system I've reinstalled over 30 times by now. Please tell me someone can figure this out. None of the other forums, SE questions and blog posts floating around on the internet seem to have helped. I'd dd clone the SATA drive if it wasn't 50% larger than the M.2!

  • Mint is off topic here. – Organic Marble Feb 4 '18 at 13:33
  • Ubuntu and Ubuntu Server are not, however – hg2 Feb 4 '18 at 14:14
  • It's been three months since you posted your problems. How did they work out? – WinEunuuchs2Unix May 4 '18 at 0:30
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It appears something is playing better in 18.04 than in 16.04 and derivatives, at least on the M4800 QHD+ system that I've been pulling my hair out with a similar issue. With 16.04.4 and older we had been running along fine in Legacy boot mode but some recent stable 4.4.x backport caused a bad reaction with the Nvidia drivers and we haven't been able to find a stable combination that didn't require booting via recovery mode every time.

With 18.04 we were able to install the nvidia-390 package from the ppa:graphics-drivers and reboot and the system actually started up and was functional without any more fuss and we got the full resolution of 3200x1800 instead of 1600x1200 which looks crappy on a 16:9/16:10 screen since it is a 4:3 ratio.

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