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New hardware being stupid

Greetz *:

I recently ordered a nice ATX case, ASUS P5A motherboard, S3 ViRGE/DX,
128MB PC100 DIMM, and Maxtor 6.4G hard drive. I put them all together,
booted up, and then tried installing linux. The Debian (slink) boot kernel
gave me a /general/protection/fault/. (that ain't supposed to happen with
linux!) Thus consternation reigned in the most equitable of bedrooms
(though cluttered). No problem, I thought, I can get it going with windows
at least and get back to work. Soory, no dice here either. Locks up every
time I try to install. It's also (incidentally) independent of whether or
not I use maxtor's EZ-BIOS or my ROM to control the HD. Anyone have any