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New PC, new install, new problems!

Hi All,
I Jut bought a new PC (Aldi/Medion-8818).
It runs fine with its preinstalled Windows Media Edition.
I tried a couple of recent Linux live-CDs (Knoppix 5.0 & latest Ubuntu, both debian-based) and both failed to fully recognize my hardware.
Most notably the SATA disks were not seen.
Before I wipe what's working, could someone confirm I can successfully install debian on this machine? I would like precise instructions about modules to load at startup and/or boot parameters to give on the command-line (if any).
As said I have reasons to doubt the installation will be painless.

Details for tha machine:

Processor:           DualCore Intel Core 2 Duo E6300, 1866 MHz (7 x 267)
Motherboard:         MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL MS-7318
Chipset Motherboard: VIA P4M890
Main Memory:         2 x 1 GB DDR2-533 DDR2 SDRAM
BIOS:                Award (11/09/06)
Graphic card:        nVIDIA GeForce 7650 GS  (256 MB)
Audio:               Realtek ALC888 @ VIA VT8251 High Definition Audio Controller IDE:      VIA Bus Master IDE Controller - 0571
Controller IDE:      VIA Serial ATA Controller - 5287
Disk:                Generic Flash HS-CF USB Device
Disk:                Generic Flash HS-MS/SD USB Device
Disk:                Generic Flash HS-SM USB Device
Disk:                ST3320820AS  (320 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
Disk:                ST3320820AS  (320 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
Disk:                Hitachi/LG HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H20L
Disk:                Hitachi/LG HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8164B
Network adapter:     RT73 USB Wireless LAN Card
Network adapter:     VIA Rhine II Fast Ethernet Adapter
TV tuner:            Philips SAA7135HL Multimedia Capture Device

On a side issue:
What TV handling / PVR program would You advise? will MythTV work ok in Europe (Italy)? (I heard it was very US-centric a few years ago).

Thanks for Your Patience.

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