You mentioned PCI NICs, what about trying a native PCIe NIC? There have been cases of PCI design cards (and even PCIe cards that are based on modified PCI designs) that are having problems with many of Intels new boards - you only have to look at threads relating to TV Tuners to see such examples of compatibility issues.
Well, I don't want to buy anther ethernet card when I have so many of them lying around.
But I've firgured out that ACPI is to blame. When I disable ACPI using the "noacpi" boot parameter, the cards work just fine. Disabling ACPI has, however, serious consequences - such as no SMP support :-( So it's a no go.
I don't know of a definitive way of getting it to work but you could log an official tech support request with Intel over the matter to see what they have to say. Let us know how it goes. Otherwise maybe someone else here has experience with this issue.
You may also be able to sell all your PCI network interface cards 2nd hand and scrape together enough as a result, for a new (native) PCIe card. For the amount of time and effort involved looking for a solution (which may never come), it may just be easier in the long run to bite the bullet and get another card. Using old cards in new systems seems fraught with problems these days, more so than I ever remember things from years ago. Once upon a time a standard being backwards compatible meant you were covered but alas not any more.
I am having more or less the same problem using an AVM B1 active ISDN pci card. I also tried the trusty AVM Fritz!PCI and a 3com 905c. None of those work.
I already tried the support chat, but there I was just told that Linux was not supported ...
Now I am wondering if this is a general problem of the Chipset, the CPU or a specific problem motherboard/firmware (BIOS). Are there H77-boards (of any manufacturer) where cards like this work?
Yes, BIOS detects the cards. The cards are even detected by the kernel drivers, but when it comes to actually pushing data through them it fails. As LubosD also already found out, disabling ACPI makes the cards work. Of course that kind of defeats the purpose of buying modern hardware
It's really disappointing to see that even Intel can't make their stuff work properly with software that they partly developed them selves (AFAIK lots of ACPI-code in Linux comes from Intel). To me that was the primary argument to buy Intel hardware. But enough ranting, back to the problem