Thanks for taking a look at my problem.
Yes I really mean 8 minutes and yes it is a long time (and seems to get longer each time I have to wait with my finger on the F2 key!)
I shoulod have mentioned in my first post that I also followed the Intel troubleshooting guide and tried with just the board, cpu, and memory, and, after 8 minutes, got the "no boot device" message. I have also tried default BIOS settings (and every other combination I can think of.)
I think my next move is to borrow a video card in hopes it will display something during the 8 minute delay that the onboard video is not displaying.
I have exactly same trouble with occasional very very long boot sequence. From power on to the intel logo screen takes 5-8 minutes. From that point on the system boots normally. During the first 5-8 minute period the screen is blank except for a non-blinking cursor in the upper left corner.
This also started suddenly, about one year ago. I have not used this computer as daily basis so I have not earlier tried to fix this. This problem appeared after a normal system shutdown. The odd thing is, that this very long boot sequence does not happen on every boot, only about 75% of the boots. And if the power is cut off during the 5-8 minutes waiting period and re-started again, the system boots normally.
The system consists of the DQ35JO motherboard, a Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 processor, 2GB Kingston DDR2 667MHz CL5 memory, a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA2 hard drive, on board audio, PNY Quadro FX 380 PCI-E 256M GDDR-3 2XDVI graphics card, one cd/dvd drive, and Windows Vista Business 64-bit (the problem was present in SP1 and continued with SP2).
I have tried different Kingston 2GB memory modules and the problem has occurred with different modules.
I have also a issue with RAM in this system. It allows only one 2GB RAM module - when I put in another 2GB module of RAM, the system becomes very slow. I will post another thread about this one: http://communities.intel.com/message/69500
I too very innocently upgraded to the latest bios and are experiencing this exact same issue with the extremely slow boot times with the stupid flashing cursor in the top left hand corner of the screen.
After reading countless post about this issue, I can now see that this is definitely an issue with the bios. I find it really unbelievable that Intel has acknowledged this problem but have still not been able to fix it.
This is extremely disappointing and leaves a very bad mark on Intel's supportability and reliability. I work for a global blue chip company and I know if our company provided this level of service/support to our customers and clients; we would be shot by management.
INTEL please fix this issue and provide the level of support a company of your stature should really be providing.