Below is my current setup and thereafter will be the issues I've been experiencing.
Any help from anyone without the characteristic 2001 follow-up questions before answering will be very much appreciated. I understand 'some' will be required, but I just don't wish to get into a thousand threads before the first response for resolution is received. Been there, done that and it's not necessary with my experiences. Afterall, even the Einstiens of the world require a little help and collaboration once-in-awhile; And I'm NOT comparing myself to a genius. It's just metaphorically speaking to underscore and make my core concerns more understood is all.
I am new to Linux/Unix/etc, but a veteran Windows user since '86, so I need some patience given me, but not condecension, because I am new to it. Understanding, respect and a 'given' to me that the most basic and rudimentary of questions will not be necessary. e.g. Did I re-boot cold and warm?, Checked the cables?, Updates current?, Un-installed and re-installed?, tried other versions? and on and on they go. That's not what I'm looking for. I am seeking someone; anyone with enough advanced knowledge that may have experienced my issues or experienced similar issues that they feel quite confident they have the resolution or resolutions. I do not need, nor am I requsting general suggestions. There's already enough of that throughout the internet, and although I understand Windows but not Linux, I have enough general computing knowledge within me to quantify my asking for those simple questions and guesses not to be addressed, because I am aware of most basics and have already attempted them; and then some.
OK. So onto the hardware and firmware / Old system, purchased 2004 with interval upgrades and repairs throughout the years
Dell Dimension 2400 tower with maximum 2GB memory and 250 GB hard drive with a 160GB slave, both internal and connected directly to MOBO and both are IDE drives of course.
BIOS updated to last and latest firmware update.
There is a dedicated graphics board. BFG NVidia GeForce 8400 GS 512MB DDR2 PCI slot board, of which I believe I've seen comments made to the degree that there could be some compatibility issues between it and Linux and the recommendations are to revert back to the MOBO graphics. NOT doing that.
200 W power supply, test and is good. Other things like cables and cards tested and found good with the exception of one faulty IDE cable from MOBO to Master and Slave which have since been replaced.
Samsung and Teac DVD drives and one 3Â½" drive (all still good)
Intel(R) 537EP V9x DPV PCI Modem
StarTech 2 Port PCI IDE Controller Adapter Card to handle two (02) ribbon cables from one port out
Each ribbon cable is connected to two (02) 160GB IDE hard drives for a total of four hard drives in a JBOD system stacked vertically in a fan cooled rack mounting system.
JBOD powered by external Cooler Master Elite Power suply at 460 W
System is backed up, filtered and powered through an APC Back-Ups Pro 1100
Current OS is Linux Mint 17.1
Ever since retiring this XP box and relegating it to Linux, I've found no distros that want to graphically work nice with it. All have produced and still produce to this day, severely delayed graphical responses. Again, I've read posts whereby the NVidia card may be at fault because neither NVidia or the Linux communities have address the NVidia graphics issue with Linux. But I don't know, so I am asking if anyone has real knowledge of this.
Next is that I had everything working nicely, save for the video delay up until a couple of weeks ago when I had to power the unit down to swap out and replace the APC batteries, when things began acting strange. I 'struggled' to boot the system and even 'struggled' to get the system to boot to the Linux ISO disk. I struggled to get the system to acknowledge the slave drive. By the word 'struggle', I mean that after several boot attempts, changing things slightly around each time, I could get the system to either boot to disks or boot to the ISO CD. That all finally went away last week whereby I couldn't get the box to boot, but rather stall half way through the booting process, be it a cold or warm boot or be it booting to the OS disk or IOS install CD. The culprit ended up apparently being a defective (New) IDE ribbon cable from the MOBO to the Master and Slave internal drives. Now I can get the system to boot each time.
The problems now initiate when I attempt to boot with the JBOD hooked up. I've gotten to the point where I can get the system to successfully boot, recognizing the slave and one hard drive at a time in the JBOD, hooking up one hard drive at a time and then re-booting, both, cold and warm. The problem is that I've gotten to the 4th. and last of the JBOD hard drives when the boot process hangs. Removing the interface card and JBOD connections sometimes will get me back to booting up with one of the four JBOD hard drives and successively adding another between boots, but most times, again, I use the word 'struggle', to get there with the majority of times the system hanging up half way during the boot process. I know it recognizes the disks in the JBOD as I install them becaise I can see them recognized during the post boot-up process, while the activity light for the OS disk whirls away, appearing as though it will be a successful boot, only to stall with a blinking activity light that slows down to virtually nothingingness, at which point I must force shut down the system, remove the interface card, reboot and then to the Linux page in Safety Mode whereby I can choose to repair broken packages and update the GDX or something similar thereof. Makes no difference whether I run those two choices or continue to the OS defaulting in Safety Mode. It will boot to the desktop and keep sucessfully rebooting in Regular Mode (i.e. not Safety Mode after the first boot failure and default to the desktop in Safety Mode), all as long as I only have the Master and Slave internal drives connected. Again, sometimes I can reconnect the interface card and get between one and three of the four JBOD hard drives to successfully boot, but now can not get all four.