Well, it's no fun at all if I just tell you the good stuff is it?
The P6T Deluxe comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports, courtesy of a Marvell 88E8056 controller. In the course of decompressing a 218GB backup image from network storage I've had a spate of drop outs where Vista would temporarily lose the drive mapping. The Event Log shows a number of "Mac FIFO Status 1" errors from the Yukon (= Marvell) controller. I've tried installing the latest drivers, using the other port, removing unnecessary Asus supplied software and using a shorter Cat6 cable. The later seemed to help but even one such error in the course of six hours is one too many as far as I'm concerned. The network has worked just fine with other machines so I'm laying this firmly at the motherboard's door but with everything else working so well I really can't face disassembling the machine in order to get a replacement motherboard with no guarantee that things will be any better.
For normal network browsing and transfer of smaller files this wouldn't be an issue as Vista reconnects quickly but Acronis TrueImage seems unable to recover gracefully so I've decided to get rid of it in favour of Backup MyPC 7
. I understand that Backup MyPC (horrid name) is derived from XP Pro's NTBackup, a program which many derided but always worked well for me, flawlessly recovering my system from two HDD crashes over the years. It was also very configurable from the command line which made setting up specific scheduled backups a breeze.
My second decision is to ditch the Marvell controller in favour of an Intel® PRO/1000 PT
PCIe x1 network card. While it may not have the cachet of a Killer NIC, Intel have a reputation for rock solid network cards and this won't be the first time I've used one from them.