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It seems that you are not the only one that have that problems, a lot of people on the internet are reporting the same thing, problems with Intel 82578DC Gigabit Network Connection on Windows 7 32bit (X86) and Windows 7 64bit (X64), now my thinking is that it's not an motherboard issue, it seems to me that the only problem for that could be an operating system. You said that you installed new network driver, did you tried to enter you motherboard BIOS to see if there's any options for setting your LAN card, i mean more advanced options.
I'm using an Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L of course i don't have a same LAN chip as you do, but my point is that when i first installed Windows 7 64bit (X64) i needed to went to BIOS to set something on my board for using it on Windows 7 64bit.
So my opinion is for you to try updating your BIOS to the latest, then try reinstalling the Windows you are using and applying your newest driver for LAN found on the DFI page. If the problems persists try going back to Windows XP to see if there's an issue about your LAN card.
And for the last don't turn of Automatic Updates on Windows, they can help you for sure trust me If any of this doesn't help try Microsoft Support page they have a lot of trained personnel ready to help you in a moments notice (you never know maybe there's some patch on their page for your problem, that's why it's important to use Windows Updates)
Hope it helps
Thanks a lot for your reply.
I have checked the BIOS and updated it to the latest version. But it did not help. Also the network carded worked fine before I reinstalled Win7 (x4), therefore I guess it is a driver/OS issue. All patches available over Windows Update are installed and the latest driver version for all hardware devices is installed.
I will try to contact Microsoft now, maybe they have a solution. In case I find a way to get the network card properly to work, I will post it here.
Regards and Merry Christmas!