I'm beginning to think there's something deeper than just a nic/driver problem. Still using 5.0b6a, preclearing several disks gave strange results. When the other three 2TB drives had finished, the F4 on sdb was trailing badly, still about 90% through the 2nd step. Throughput was in the low 20MB/s while the other drives had been 4x that or better. I moved the Samsung to sde where it progressed at closer to 100MB/s (though I'd have said an erratic 80-100MB/s). Of course I had to try another array using those disk assignments. Nope, it still crashed when the nic was pushed.
So, right now I'm installing Slackware 13.1 to see if a vanilla Samba volume on recent drivers can handle the stress.