didn't take very long. immediately it said "No Hard Disk is Detected." attempted to load windows. crashes and tries to restart. absolutely no reason why it shouldn't have. boots fine with the RMA Gigabyte board I had with same hardware and OS (that board has it's own issues, i'll link the thread at the bottom)
endless cycle of reboots. safe mode = nothing. switched AHCI to IDE. nothing. different SATA port = nada. reluctantly decide to reformat.
same issue, only it boots.
update drivers. restart. same. ***.
when restarting (about a thousand times) it sometimes just wouldn't come on. finally got five long beeps - looked it up - CPU malfunction.
take everything out. everything. hook up to Gigabyte board. boots just fine, only now sadly reformatted and missing all my stuff.
plug everything back to EVGA. seems to work. same problem though.
call EVGA support. tell them the problem.
"Oh, that's because you're plugged into the red SATA port"
plugged into black just to humor them. same. suggests things i've already tried, such as IDE.
he then asks which SATA port i'm plugged into. (now black)
Him: "okay, that's because you're not plugged into the red port... it's trying to boot from the red port"
Me: "so I can't use the red port? it's not backwards compatible?"
Him: "yes, it is backwards compatible."
Me: "but it didn't work. is there something wrong with the board? i'm still getting an HDD error."
Him: "you can always disable the red ports if you're not going to use them"
Me: "okay, can you show me how?"
Him: "(gives instructions)... now hit 'disable' "
Me: "there is no disable option."
Him: "okay, i think we're using different BIOS then"
Him: "but it shouldn't be a problem. it shouldn't affect windows"
Me: " ... so you're saying it's normal?"
Him: "yes, it's normal."
Me: "and the beep?"
Him: "it's normal too"
thank the man for his time, seeing that he was completely out of ideas.
so should i return it or what? this junk can't be normal... EVGA doesn't make their boards say "HDD fail" by default.
also the Gigabyte problems (which were mild in comparason) if anybody's interested. also includes the rest of my hardware:
I sat there until about 5AM in the bios enabling and disabling things until I finally got it fixed.
The error, which was "No Hard Disk is Detected!!!" quit popping up after I disabled the eSATA port. Weird right? After doing it I looked it up and apparently it's a pretty common problem with most (if not all) Z68 boards that support eSATA have. Why they made these things like this I'll never know. And why the support guy didn't know how to fix this, given it's pretty common, is an even greater mystery.
I'm still not really sure why it wouldn't fire up sometimes the other night, but after about 500 consecutive improper shut downs I guess anything's possible.
Anyway, I've forgiven the board for any weirdness because it seems to be working fine for now... but I'm gonna make sure to keep a close eye on it during the 30 days.