After a couple of days (for otiose reasons) I got it home and, casting those connected to my tracker to the four winds, I swapped the board over from its old case. This wasn't too difficult, although the new case is a little cramped for 3.5" drive space - I'd rather they made space for one 5.25" drive and had two or three 3.5" drive bays spaced out in front of the case. The server and the firewall are both attached to a KVM switch for historic reasons, so I plugged that back in and fired it up. It seemed to start, but no "loadity-load-load-load" activity came from the main hard drive. Hmmmmm. The KVM switch has no keyboard or screen, again for historic reasons, so it was time to get that old standby monitor from downstairs and the old bombproof IBM keyboard I use for gaming and see what was what.
Which was that one of the SATA drives wasn't being recognised at all. The BIOS seemed to be doing some kind of work trying to find it - when I started the machine again with it unplugged the BIOS booted normally, but with it connected it would pause for a long time at the "Searching for IDE devices" message, before finally timing out. I swear it came up once, but that was only with the other SATA drive removed and I tried that combination again without success.
Of course, Linux doesn't see hide nor hair of it.
The case power supply (200W) should be perfectly up to it. The motherboard is up to it. The SATA drive that works is 200GB one and the one that doesn't is 250GB, but I'm not aware of any >200GB limit in BIOSes or anything. Even finding BIOS upgrades on VIA's site seems hard enough, but they don't list any specific fixes for problems like this so I'm not going to flash the BIOS just in case. And I really don't want to have to buy an external USB case for the drive, because I bought the larger case specifically to avoid this possibility.
So, Lazyweb: any ideas what might be wrong?
All posts licensed under the CC-BY-NC license. Author Paul Wayper.