I probably should have gone to the trouble of figuring all this out back in February when I first rebuilt my desktop, but free time is something I haven’t had a lot of this year.  It all started when I upgraded my X38/Q6600 based computer to a platform which could support more memory.  The Intel 6 series debacle surfaced the day I was sitting down to order my parts, so I decided to go a generation back not knowing how long the recall and re-release would take.  No complaints though, as I grabbed myself an i7-950, Gigabyte X58-UD3R, and 16GB of G.Skill RAM.

When it finally arrived I threw it all together and booted my Ubuntu partition: Everything worked.  I then set about re-installing Windows and again, everything worked (unfortunately I had to install the network drivers from the included CD, that kind of sucked!).  It was one of those tumultuous times in my life where I needed to use Windows so I set it about whatever task it needed to do and went to sleep.  I woke up the next morning to a frozen desktop.  Not cool.  I memtested my RAM again and again convinced this was the source of trouble, but time and again it checked out fine (not to mention that it was rock solid in Linux).  This went on until about a week ago when I finally got the blue screen I had been waiting for.  It referenced the M-Audio driver for my [pretty old] MobilePre USB.  I immediately backed up a few databases and re-installed Windows.  Thankfully, Windows 7 used the standard audio over USB drivers and I’ve been rock-solid ever since.

Of course I don’t have the money or extra hardware around to test this, but I do have a theory as to what the issue was.  The Gigabyte board I purchased used a number of non-Intel components, including NEC supplied USB 3, Realtek networking, and an apparently strange implementation of SATA 3.  My guess is that, since none of these are integrated into the southbridge, one of them was interfering with something in the USB firmware supplied by NEC.  Then again, since I’m not having this problem anymore hopefully this is the last time I need to give it too much thought :)