On Saturday, I went to Directron again to pick up the computer. This time, it was actually ready. I asked for them to remove the $27 for assembly from the bill to make up for the hassle; they did not remove it, but gave me store credit for it. That is satisfactory for me.
I didn’t want having to go back a third time, so I checked the computer in the store. It was well built and had all the components I had ordered. It also contained a graphics card, some GeForce 6400 with 64 MB RAM and TV-out, I think. I’m not sure if I’ll use it, though. It’s newer than any of my other graphics cards, but it only has one monitor output. At least my primary computer needs to have two.
At home, I powered it up, then swapped out the graphics card for my GeForce 5200 with two monitor-outs, put in my CD and DVD drives. I re-routed some of the cables. It’s really well set up now, good airflow, and very quiet.
Then I popped in the Windows 2003 Server CD and hit a wall. To recognize the SATA controller, I needed to put drivers on a floppy, and I didn’t have a floppy drive in that machine. So I took out the drive from my old machine and put it in the new one, then used the Asus CD to create a driver disk… which failed. I downloaded the drivers from the web, copied them, and that finally worked.
Now the Windows setup detected the drive and let me partition it. It started copying files, did the first reboot, displayed the Windows 2003 Server loading screen with the nice [ ###–> ] bar and did nothing.
That’s where I still am. After two days, I still haven’t been able to install Windows on my SATA drive. I’m working on freeing up a regular parallel ATA drive so I can check if the Windows setup will work on that. Unfortunately, it’s TeachJava!  this week, so I won’t get to it until tonight. I’ll also try to create a slipstreamed Windows 2003 Server + Service Pack 1 installation CD that will also include the SATA drivers. Maybe there’s something wrong with the drivers on the floppy.
If someone has a clue what’s going wrong, please let me know.
So it definitely has something to do with the Western Digital WD1600JD 160 GB 7200 RPM 8MB cache SATA drive. I put in a PATA drive and removed the SATA drive and it worked. If I left the SATA drive plugged in but didn’t use it as system drive for the Windows installation, it would not work. Maybe it is some kind of incompatibility between the Asus A8V board and the drive. I’ll keep on testing.