Chili's Folly: Intel NUC, i3-4010U, 120 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM, external 500 GB HDD, Ubuntu Saucy; small, silent and fast.
Thanks Chili, Time was of the essence so I ended up switching out the motherboard and now I can't remember what the hardware was. Next time I run into this kind of problem, I'll try Ubuntu 11.10 and up~
Thanks for the tip on compat-wireless, chili555 !
I manage to make my atheros ethernet card (1969:1091 - AR8161) works with a 3.2 linux kernel by using alx driver :
You have to use this tarball to compile the alx driver :