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It isn't normal for Fedora to crash, and certainly both FC16 & FC17 should be working very happily with Sandy Bridge.

In most cases, you should be seeing some sort of message in /var/log/messages (or the older rotated version of that). If you don't see anything at all, you are probably running into a hardware problem of some sort.

Most "hardware" problems are memory related, and running memcheck86+ may be able to shed some light onto things.

Good luck!