New Quad Core in Abit AB9 mobo, windows setup screen keeps rebooting, confused with RAID, AHCI Help me please

I'm setting up a new Quad Core Intel Based PC. I installed the O.S. from an SATA DVD-ROM onto an SATA Hard drive.  The installation went quickly and flawlessly. I wanted to get the RAID to work and switched a setting in the BIOS as recommended from this site, ABIT and many other places on the internet... when I went to boot up I got a failure after the inital bootup screen.  I tried to reinstall with the disk, but I got the infamous REBOOT at the "Setup is inspecting your hardware..."   Now the darn thing is in a reboot loop.

I've changed every known setting in the BIOS, swapped out drives, used IDE CD-ROMs and I'm very stuck. I've got to deliver this computer today.

These mobos have come a long way and since the introduction of the SATA drives, I've had nothing but an Alice in Wonderland experiences trying to get things to work.

Question 1:  What does AHCI, RAID and IDE have to do with the fact that my system keeps rebooting on the initial DOS setup screen for windows xp?

Question 2: (more importantly) How the hell do you setup a system from scratch with RAID?  I've read conflicting information and nothing jives.  I have 2 SATA Hard drives, an SATA CD-ROM drive and a killer new Abit AB9 QuadGT mobo with matching Quad Core processor.  Please, step by step... I'm a car mechanic and understand step-by-step.

Thank you kindly in advance.
JB
J_bodenheimerAsked:
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Jeff BrownGlobal Helpdesk SupervisorCommented:
Okee   you actually have no problems here everything is working as intended.  The different modes of the controller  determines which HAL  hardware application layer gets installed at base install  The correct way to have done this on an AB9 (i have one btw  love it) is to turn the raid on before installing the system.  to do this on the ab9  goto the bios and turn raid functionality on the controller set you wish to use (be careful here the ab9's have multiple controllers --i use the pro version which has 3 seperate sata raid capable controllers)  the main sata controller is the intel and should have 6 sata ports. Ok with raid turned on you will get new post screens for the raid controllers saying to enter the raid bios  press some key (sorry can't be more specific here i'd have to reboot the machine i'm typing on to tell what the exact message says)  once in the raid bios you can create your raid  (warning creating raid volumes wil destroy all data on the drives) with the raid volume created your ready to install windows xp.  Inside the box you should have 2 or 3 floppies (curse microsofts eyes for forcing me to dig out a floppy drive) --you can also slipstream these drivers into windows xp cd.  when you start the windows installation there is an option on screen for about 15 sec  to hit the f6 key if you need to install 3rd party raid adaptors. press this key and find the disk for the  intel sata raid controller (or the driver for the raid controller you wish to use since the ab9 has so many to choose from)  i did have a problem trying to install all 3 from the floppy so just use the only the one has the raid volume on it.  once its installed you can install windows normally and you should be good to go.  you can add raid volumes to the other  controllers if needed after the fact but be aware  it has a tendency to change your boot drive when you do so you will have to go back in and reselect the correct boot drive.  
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hladamjrCommented:
I believe if you refer to the artilcle below this is the root of your problem. Take a look and read the whole thing then follow the writers suggestion to avoid the pitfals he ran into before getting things to work with the installation.

http://peter.mapledesign.co.uk/weblog/archives/abit-ab9-bios-flash
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J_bodenheimerAuthor Commented:
Uh huh... When I read that from another source I was sure it didn't affect me... But now I've got to figure out how to make a boot disk with the bios update on it. I have no idea how I'm going to do that.  Looks like I have to go to compusa to purchase a usb floppy, floppy disks and then attempt to make a bootable floppy.  I haven't made a bootable floppy in at least a year.

Do you have a step-by-step on making a bootable floppy with the update util available?

Thanks
JB
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hladamjrCommented:
Most of the bios updates I have installed are extracted to a floppy drive and are bootable. If not then go here for bootdisks.

http://bootdisk.com/
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J_bodenheimerAuthor Commented:
Ok, so this is finally getting resolved, BUT AND A BIG BUT, I have to throw in a bit of HARD LESSONS LEARNED.

FIrst:
The BIOS update for this mobo.  Wow is all I have to say.  I cannot tell you the horror I experienced in doing this upgrade...  Getting a bootable floppy and then the flash program on a floppy was a nightmare..

Second:  Here is a VERY important take away and I WILL be contact abit about this:  Once the BIOS has been flashed and updated, some setting in the BIOS need to be changed that are DEFAULTED from the update.  There is an Intel Speed Step option in the BIOS that is ENABLED with the new update that SCREWED up my system.  I went through 20 installation attempts with hard blue screen errors, different DVD-ROMS used, different memory, different hard drives... all to find out this setting was the ROOT of my problem.  Disabling this setting proved to be the solution to installation.

Third and finally:  Setting up the hardware RAID  as described above by the expert, is relatively simple if you do things in the correct order. After a sucessful hardware RAID setup, you MUST install the correct RAID drivers during the windows installation or the thing will fail to a blue screen every time.  

Finally, the HD audio drivers on the abit website crashed my computer.  Removed the HD drivers and the machine works....
now to figure out how to get the audio to work...

Thanks for the help everyone!
JB
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J_bodenheimerAuthor Commented:
Mentioned in the second take away above, the reason you have to disable the speedstep technology in the bios is it's incompatable with a Quad Core chip.

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