Dead Intel NIC and the Warranty Process

A couple of months ago I came home to a Myth server with a kernel crash report on the console.  The problem was in e1000.ko.  This had happened once or twice before over the last year or so and I wasn’t overly concerned.  I rebooted and the machine hung after detecting hard drives.  I was able to figure out the problem and I’m still dealing with Intel customer support (but they’re doing a good job!).

When I had the time to debug the problem I started up the computer and it booted fine.  I thought it had booted fine but it turns out that the machine couldn’t find the network card, an Intel gigabit adapter.  `lspci` showed nothing even though there was a link light.  I found that to be strange but I was still very happy the problem wasn’t more serious.   I re-seated the card and rebooted.  This time the computer wouldn’t boot again.  I removed the network card from the machine and rebooted.  This time the computer booted fine.  I repeated this a few times until I was pretty confident that the network card was causing the boot process to stop.  I found it extremely odd that the network controller card was stopping the boot process before even the bootloader started executing.  I brought the network card into work and tested it on a spare machine.  I saw the same behavior at work.

Most (all?) Intel network cards have a lifetime warranty.  I called up Intel and was surprised at how easy it was to get through their customer support.  They authorized a return and said I’d get an email telling me how to send the card back.  Once they had the broken card they’d send me a replacement.  They said it wouldn’t be the same model but it would be a current comparable model.  I was fine with that.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the email that they promised.  The reason is because I use Sender Verification on my mail server and they were sending using a non-existent email address.  Since I also use Sender Verification at work I couldn’t call them and give them my work email address.  I’d much prefer that they fix their sender address but I know there’s no hope in that happening with out enduring a whole lot of pain.  I haven’t had the time yet to call them and request them to fax the directions.

I’m doing OK without the adapter.  I’m using the 100 Mb on-board adapter on my Myth server.  That’s fine for Myth.  In fact my Myth frontend has a 100 Mb adapter anyways.  Where I suffer is with my desktop machine which I run diskless.

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