Installation problems relating to HDD

Built a barebones system recently to install Ubuntu 8.04System details :AMD Athlon 64x2 5000+, XFX GeForce 8200 MoBo, XFX GeForce 8500GT Video card, 3 g RAM, Seagate 500g Sata HDD   So when I fire the system up for the first time I got to step 4 of the install partition HDD, except no HDD is recognized so I had to proceed as a live user.  Reboot system and before I get to the initial screen it crashes sending me to the busybox screen.  Restart same thing.  It seems I can boot up the live version 1 out of 6 or 8 tries and Ubuntu can never detect the HDD.  Any suggestions?  I have searched this extensivly but cant find a solution, there seems to be some problems with seagate hard drives, I am thinking of trying a Western Digital, but before I do I would like to know if I am missing something.TIA