There are different types of Serial Port header connector cables - straight wired or crossover wired. Are you sure you're using the correct sort? I don't have this motherboard (and if it's anything like my DG45ID, the manual doesn't explicitly state which type to use) but if you look at the manual and check the pin allocations on a serial port, you should be able to work it out. I don't recall which sort I'm using as I bought my serial adapter quite some time ago.
You're absolutely correct. The problem cable was "straight"; the cable that worked was indeed crossover wired.
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Glad I could help I've not read the manual for your motherboard but assuming you used it when setting up the board, clearly this issue STILL hasn't been made clear enough for customers. If you're reading this someone at Intel who writes motherboard manuals, please make this clear(er) in your manuals what type of serial adapter cable to use (that is if any new mobos still have these headers).
You've reminded me that when I was setting up my DG45ID I actually had to liase with Intel Tech Support here in the UK over this and even the tech support person wasn't sure if it was a cross-over or straight wired one I needed. I asked them then to make the manuals clearer. As it happened the straight wired one I had was about the right length and the cross-over one the wrong length so I had to do a conversion with my soldering iron for the ideal solution but now I think of it, mine is also cross-over wired (now).