I had this problem with Arch64 and instead of blaming Arch (and after losing half an hour restarting back and forth between Linux and Windows) I finally grabbed SLAX. SLAX is the best KDE experience I had since 2002. Anyways, it still didn't work. Then I googled to find what the heck is going on. And I ran into this page
It turns out pull out the plug and let it freeze is still needed in IT of 2006 😀 I bet kick the card would also work (psychologically to you). Anyways, I'm now getting the super super latest kernel 188.8.131.52 and hope that forcedeth.c is in version 0.53 which is said to fix the damn issue. Wish me luck! 🙂 oh and thanks Google.
ps. if you read the page I linked, you could see that even the official drivers. suffer. Anyways glad at least I have a way to make it work..
UPDATE: needs 2.6.17-rc4