You never gave a good description of the machine but people who max out drives and such do have these issues.
Then again you could have the wrong IDE cable.
I am a victim of sporadic system instability, ranging from blue screens, to desktop hangs to file system/Windows corruption. I'll fix one thing, and everything will be fine for weeks to months, and then some other problem arises.
I think it's something to do with the IDE bus, because sometimes an IDE device won't be detected during boot, or POST won't get beyond "Detecting IDE devices".
I've run diagnostics on memory and disk drives, replaced a disc drive (I try to run 2 Western digital 200 GB Caviar drives and a Seagate 200GB Barracuda) and upgraded BIOS on everything I could), just installed a new MoBo (Asus A8N5X), went to an ATX case with 3 fans, and just today I got a blue screen "a process or thread crucial to system operation has unexpectedly exited" when I tried to add the WD drive to a simplified Seagate/HP 840i DVD writer ide chain. I'm plunking down big $$ to get an Antec 550W powersupply today.
Has anyone ever heard of a defective IDE device ruining another IDE device?
Am I asking for trouble with 4 IDE devices in my box? - if so, will replacing one IDE drive with a SATA relieve the strain?