Last week I got myself a brand new Ivy Bridge system (Z77 board, i5 3570K CPU, no graphics card yet - I'm using integrated Intel solution for now) and I've installed LMDE 201204 64-bit (using MATE). Right from the start I had these random freezes. Sometimes the system would work for hours without problems, sometimes it would freeze in minutes. The freeze is a complete show-stopper: no keyboard, no console, no Alt+SysRq, no log messages, no nothing. It would just stop until I pulled the plug on it (literally).
The only thing I noticed is that the system always hangs when I'm actually working on it. I can leave it running a stress test and when I come back hours later everything is working. Five minutes later it freezes when I click a menu item, button or panel icon - every freeze happened at the moment I was interacting with the the interface in some way.
At first I thought hardware issues, so I tested memory (no errors after 5 hours run) and stress tested the CPU (core temperatures below 55°C, no problems). I installed Windows 7 on a different drive and tested it for a full day - no problems. It could still be a problem with my LMDE drive, but I doubt it - that drive didn't have any problem on my older system.
Now I'm thinking that the problem is in the lack of support for the Intel graphics - that the drivers for Ivy Bridge simply aren't there yet in Debian Testing (and in LMDE). For that reason and following advice in this thread
I installed newer kernel from http://liquorix.net/
. I am now in my 7th hour without a horrible crash - a new record.
If my luck continues to hold for the rest of the week I will mark this thread as solved. If not, ... well, let's just hope the solution to my problem really is that simple. Anyway, maybe this thread could help somebody else with similar problems.