YES! My cheap little atom boxes are finally running stable!
The problem was ACPI. I got on a tangent with unstable band-aids like intel_idle.max_cstates. Learned a little bit, which of course helps me with my traveling Porteus needs too.
tldr: the fix
What I learned:
The sledgehammer approach of disabling acpi altogether:
Ok, that boots and runs stably, BUT now you only have one core running at full power. Using TOP (press the #1 key to see if all the cores are detected, or HTOP (or whatever your fav util is) to make sure that all your cores are running. With acpi=off, they may not be. Only one was running using this kernel cheatcode.
Time to refine acpi a little bit
If acpi=off works, but seems like overkill, try any one of these:
In my case, acpi=noirq did the trick. All my cores are running, video doesn't halt at boot, the cpus are frequency scaling, dmesg is no longer getting spammed with errors - life is good!
Minor note: Although now all seems fixed with the acpi=noirq cheatcode, I do have to tickle my monitors dpms for power savings to be accepted
WHEW! So glad I was finally able to tame this el-cheapo little box the right way it seems. Still, a great lesson to keep in my Porteus travels too in case I run across another troublesome box.
That's a UNIX book - cool. -Garth