In my previous post, I explained that I'd decided to dump the NVIDIA nForce 680i chipset due to the frustrating reliability problems I had been experiencing. I purchased a new Intel X48 Express based board instead - a Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 to be precise.
The motherboard change went fairly smoothly. The only hardware issue is that I had to bend one of the aluminium fins on my Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro CPU heatsink/fan in order for it to fit around the motherboard's own heatsink over the chipset. Also, the cooler now slightly blocks one of the memory slots, but this isn't a problem at the moment as I can use slots 2 and 4 and still get dual channel interleaved memory speed. I may have to modify the fan a little more if I add more memory in future, but 4 GiB is plenty for the time being.
After the hardware setup the machine booted fine and I had my Windows 7 RC DVD ready to reinstall (backing everything up before starting any of this of course). Just for kicks, I decided to let the existing Windows 7 RC install try to boot to see how far it got. Rather than crash and burn as I expected, it instead booted into VGA mode, spent a minute or so installing drivers, rebooted and then the machine was fully functional (aside from the damned Abit AirPace wireless card I had to install manually AGAIN - I'll write a how-to post about this in future as quite a few people are arriving at my site via searches for this). I've used the machine in this state for a few days now and it seems to be rock steady.
I don't know quite how Windows 7 managed this trick - Windows Vista 64 certainly didn't do it when I changed motherboards last time (from one 680i to another very similar board) and I had to reinstall from scratch. Is there anything Windows 7 cannot do? Assuming I don't run into problems with this, I'm planning on leaving this install in place until Windows 7 final is released.