Couple questions about my new setup

Hi all, just got myself my new computer assembled a week ago:

i5 760
ASUS P7P55D-E (no pro, no LX, no nothin)
GSkill ECO 1600mHz, CL8, 2x2GB (s'posed to run at 1.35V)
XFX ZNDC radeon hd 6850
Seasonic x650 gold 650w psu

Got Windows 7 and Linux Mint 10 dual booting on a couple partitions of my samsung f3 1tb drive.

I have 3 questions about this rig and its behavior.

First, on boot. If the computer has been unplugged or the PSU switched off and I boot the machine, all LEDs and fans will power up for about a second, power off, and then 5 seconds later everything will boot as normal. Is this ordinary operation for this motherboard or modern machines in general? It boots without that pause if it has been plugged in and the PSU switched on even if it has been off for hours.

Second, the RAM. The motherboard assigned my ram 1333mHz, CL9, approx 1.55V. If I select XMP it will give it the appropriate values and slightly change my CPU clock. Is that enough to void my warranty as far as overclocking or is it fine? (I might overclock sometime but given that I've only had the board for about a week I want to make sure it runs well for a while before I risk voiding my warranty!) If not can anyone point me to a good primer on changing just the RAM settings myself? I'm totally not confident about mucking around with random numbers in BIOS yet :)

Third, and this kind of concerns me. Twice now I have had my NIC controller stop functioning - no ethernet connection in either OS (says "network cable damaged or unplugged" or something like that) Once when I was rebooting multiple times trying to get my firefox profile set up in dual boot, and again when I disabled the network in Win7 trying to troubleshoot playing Dungeon Siege 2 via Hamachi and simulated LAN (The ethernet did not come back when I re-enabled the network even after rebooting and was also dead in Mint at that point) In order to restore network I had to "power cycle", that is, I switched off the PSU and (with it off) held the chassis power button for several seconds, then switched the PSU back on and restarted the computer (incidentally resulting in the same behavior as in question 1)

Mostly I want to know if I should be concerned about my motherboard in general from a flaky NIC, or if it's just the NIC and I shouldn't worry about it. I would rather buy a card and drop it in a PCI slot for ethernet than dealing with RMA if that's all it is :) If it makes any difference the only thing my ethernet is connected to is a DSL modem.

Oh and an offhand fourth if anyone knows any tricks to making radeon 6850 work in mint/ubuntu other than waiting for a new kernel in april I'd be glad to hear it :/

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