A year ago we had reviewed the M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi motherboard from ASUS, which was a phenomenal Socket AM2 motherboard that used NVIDIA's nForce 590 SLI Chipset and featured a number of ASUS innovations. Recently ASUS had sent out to us an updated M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi, which adds official support for Microsoft Windows Vista. At hand today we have re-tested the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe and now have additional compatibility comments for Linux as well as Solaris.
The first board of this model that I got I booted to an IDE CD drive and installed FC6 64 to a 400GB SATA drive. That worked fine and dandy. But I could not get this to boot. I'd get as far in the POST sequence where the motherboard dumps to screen a listing of the devices on the PCI buss, and the cursor would keep on blinking, and... nothing. No GRUB. No GR. Nothing.
I called ASUS, and after some highly unhelpfull conversation with the tech support people there, got it RMAd.
The board that came back promptly started bloating two of the electrolytic capacitors, but not before showiung the same problem: could not boot.
I called them again, and got the runaround, again with decidedly clueless tech support people, and despite trying everything with moving the SATA drive to every socket, and playing with the BIOS settings, including changing the hard drive access method from "auto" to "large", it would not boot. It booted a smalled drive, and the larger drive booted on other machines, but could not get this thing to boot.
The suggestions from tech support showed again and again that they had no idea what was going on. "Are you sure Fedora has drivers for this chipset?" was among the gems they gave me, never mind that I never got far enough in the booting process for this to be an issue. "We think it's something with the MBR" was another, of course without any notion of helping figure out just what was wrong with the MBR, nor any explanation of why they went through with an RMA in the first place if that was the problem.
I am disgusted with the product, and disgusted with the company.
Sounds like you had a bad experience with the company, but in all fairness I doubt you could call up any of the top motherboard manufacturers and get good Linux tech support. That would have been the last thing I would have done because I know it would have been an exercise in frustration... instead it may have been more helpful to post about your issue on a forum such as this one where there are many people who have installed Linux numerous times on different hardware combinations.
I had a similar issue once before with a SATA drive, but I don't think it was on an ASUS board (at least not the MSN32-SLI). I got past it but I don't recall exactly what I did. Did you try different operating systems, or different versions of Fedora? What about attempting to boot an install while using an IDE drive (to make sure the problem was related to SATA)?
This is probably not related, but I've noticed on one ASUS board that in the past when I used high-quality memory sticks the computer would not boot up. The hardware I was using was and ASUS K8V Deluxe and Mushkin DDR400 memory. I made sure that all BIOS memory (and other) settings were on default, successfully installed Linux from a CD, and after restarting the system the computer would not boot. After several other things I ran a memory test started getting lots of errors in some of the tests. I increased the voltage from the default setting to something higher (can't remember what) and all memcheck errors went away.
Do you still have the hardware? What testing or troubleshooting have you done so far?
Sounds like you had a bad experience with the company, but in all fairness I doubt you could call up any of the top motherboard manufacturers and get good Linux tech support. That would have been the last thing I would have done because I know it would have been an exercise in frustration...