I probably should have kept a precise log of my actions in some kind of notebook for engineering, but this is my recollection of how things went down:
1) I updated to the latest bios and tried to do multimonitor output with my existing config. No go. Note: this was stable, however
2) I tried to boot from my old laptop hd over usb, but I could not boot because I had to change some settings on the hd.
3-0) I either booted a Knoppix cd before or after the bios update, and it ran fine. Subsequent boots did not produce a properly running Knoppix. Sometimes I got assertion failures on boot.
4) My desktop install would have trouble booting.
5) I changed the usb hd settings on my laptop, then tried to boot it. Had weird hangs or segfaults.
6) Pulled some ram, things began to work.
7) Burned a memtest86 cd, started testing ram.
8) Eventually tested each piece of ram individually, all came back bad. That means I have 4gb of bad ram in my computer which otherwise was very stable.
So what seems to have happened is
- My ram is bad. OR
- My motherboard is bad. OR
- I simply seated my memory wrong.
I hope I can narrow it down today. Does anyone have access to a motherboard that uses DDR2 memory?