Boot order is set for DVD drive to boot first, then the HDD just because it was easier while trying to get Ubuntu to run when the HDD was still in it. Just to recap, when the hard drive is installed, Ubuntu looks like its going to load all the way and run, but just before it does it goes into screens full of assorted ata01 XXXX errors. I did run a full memory test from the Ubuntu disc, then got it to boot all the way into Ubuntu for about 5 minutes before locking up. Rebooting brought back the original problem. Searching found nothing burried in all the clutter that seems relavent.
Ubuntu loads and runs just fine from the DVD if the hard drive is physically removed, without fail.
Wish I could get it to run long enough with the hard drive in there so I could try
on it and possibly salvage the drive.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1M
Also worth mention I suppose. I've seen bad hard drives before, usualy associated with the grind of death noise. This one makes no noise and seems to be spinning just fine.