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Intel onboard network card issues


Andne
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I have an Intel DQ67SW board that I'm trying to upgrade my desktop with to have a better machine for editing photos on and other general use (Core i5, 16GB RAM, Vertex 3 SSD, WD Caviar Black data drive). When it works, it's a pretty nice system, but the current challenge is getting it to actually work.

 

In the past day, I have managed to reinstall Windows 7 probably about 7 or 8 times. I finally had it working last night and all the updates installed, and now it's back to locking up again this morning. I have pretty much traced my problem to the intel networking drivers - most of the time when I load them, the computer will hard-lock. Occasionally I have gotten it to load the drivers without locking up, and thought I had solved the problem last night, but it's back to being a pain again this morning. I have tried finding information on intel's site about this with no luck. My latest thought is that the SSD and NIC aren't getting along, but that doesn't make much sense to me. I have also tried replacing the PSU with a larger one thinking that I was hitting some sort of issue with it, but that didn't help either (currently I have a 500W antec in there).

 

Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this issue? I had the computer working for a bit, and it was running pretty well for the last week, but ever since I started trying to rebuild the OS with what I want it to have, the computer has not been willing to co-operate with me. I did have Win7 Ultimate on it for a bit, and don't remember any issues there. The board was also used for a VM server for a bit - running 2008R2, and I don't recall any issues with that either. Could the fact that I'm trying to load Win7 Professional now be the issue? That makes even less sense to me than anything else. All of these versions have been 64-bit, though Professional is a OEM disc vs. the technet versions I was using before - again, why would that matter?

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For starter, Have you updated the firmware on the Vertex 3? The Sanforce bugs just got worked out so you should have version 2.15 on that drive. I am assuming the problem is between your controller and the V3. It is a well documented problem which I have posted on several times as I went through a similar exercise. Secondly, hopefully you are not running the Intel rapid storage drivers as that only compounds the problem. My suggestion is to be absolutely sure, run the system with a spindle drive and make sure you do not have any other issues. Then update the V3 and try again. I am betting you are victim of Sanforce...

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That's what led to me rebuilding the computer, was updating the SSD firmware to 2.15 (that was a fun challenge on it's own, intel NIC didn't want to work in linux, by the time I got done, I had ended up wiping the drive). Before I did so, the computer worked ok, just couldn't wake up from sleep. That problem has been fixed now, but I can't enable the network card instead. I have also tried running off the spindle drive only, and that doesn't seem to help any either. I've tried putting a different card into the computer and disabling the NIC in BIOS, but it still ends up being enabled (something related to the management engine maybe?) and Windows wants to load a driver. Not so useful when the other NICs that I have are all Intel as well, so the driver I need for them also tries to install the onboard driver.

 

I'm at the point where I install windows, then try to install the LAN drivers, I have never installed the RST driver, from what I have been able to figure out, it doesn't do anything useful unless you're doing RAID, which I'm not. As long as I don't install the intel PROSet network drivers, I seem to be fine, it's installing them that just hoses the computer. I'm pretty much at the point of thinking that I need to RMA or replace the board, maybe something got damaged when I was moving it from the VM case to the desktop case. That still doesn't really explain why it ran fine until this mess with me trying to update the SSD firmware.

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Interesting problem. Certainly sounds like something got hosed. Probably worth trying a new board at this point as it sounds like you ruled everything else. Did you resue the power supply? or is that a different one? That is the only other thing I can think of that you did not already try.

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I think I maybe found the problem - it had something to do with the Intel Management Engine. I talked to Intel support a bit, and they had me do a BIOS recovery. It took longer than I remember a previous BIOS update taking, and I don't recal it ever updating the Mangement Engine firmware before. This time that got updated, and now things appear to be working (at least the 32-bit install on the drive was able to load the driver happily for once). Apparently that firmware was fouled up or something, so it was messing with the NIC (the ME gets to share it for the IP-KVM logic). Also, after running the recovery, I saw the management engine settings in the BIOS again, something that was missing beforehand.

 

Anyways, I had managed to back up the computer to WHS once last night before everything went crazy, so now let's see if I can just restore that initial image back onto my hard drives. I have managed to boot into the restore wizard and load my drivers from a USB key, and it's running now. Microsoft needs to work on the inteface for mapping partitions though, why couldn't it recognize my drives as being same/similar to the initial set and just give me an option to re-create the old partition setup? With that system reserved partition in there, if you drop a blank drive in (replacing a failure), the average user is not going to understand how to recreate and map the original partitions to the new drive.

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