After writing so confidently about finding a fix for the earlier kernel problems with an Intel D945GCLF board, it returned with a vengeance shortly afterwards. Frustration finally won the day and a completely fresh install followed.
Gentoo had been the Linux distribution of choice on the previous box, but as speed was of the essence here (downtime was almost five days), something else was in order. That something turned out to be Arch Linux — might as well start with something completely different.
One thing became immediately apparent though: No more crashes. Throughout the entire installation process not a single problem, even with the newest 126.96.36.199 kernel. So why the difference? 64 vs. 32 bit?
As a quick test out came the trusty x86_64 PLD-Linux Rescue disc — and back came the problems. Same kernel version, same architecture, different distribution. Or was it… Different from the working Arch64 install certainly, but not different from the equally problematical Gentoo install. Could it be the Gentoo patchset that was causing all the problems? A quick verification with a Gentoo LiveCD and again the same problems.
It wasn’t the fault of the Atom board at all, some part of the Gentoo distribution was causing the issues. Following this revelation, and a reboot back into Arch64, the system has been up and stable for over 40 hours with several long periods at load. There’s no sign of the earlier ACPI/APIC problems experienced under Gentoo and its derivatives, just fast, stable, Arch64 goodness.
ArchLinux — consider me an errant soul returned to the fold.