Ghostwind: I understand. Thank you for the tip. I will post what happens.
I just ran the Opensuse 11.2 live CD, and I still had the same shutdown problems. I am now willing to bet that the problem lies somewhere in the mobo.
I will still wait for replication from six-foot-pole before contacting tech support.
Another question for all, do you have bitlocker enabled on your systems. I came across an article that seems to describe our problem perfectly.
Edit: this hotfix solved my problem.