I've been using linux for about 5 years, so I'm at that middle stage where I know enough not to freak out when something goes wrong, but not enough to really make sure I'm doing the right thing to fix the problem.
I should buy stock in the O'Reilly book company; I've got enough of their linux books on my shelves. I'll run your suggestion about the OS and Bios past the folks on the bodhi forums, see if anyone there knows anything about booting from pci cards.
According to the hardinfo program, these are the stats about this system:
Bios: 02/27/2008-Vendor: Intel corp-ver.PRG3110H.86A.0047.2008.0227.1745(Jeez, how many times have they revised this thing?!)
Board: Name: DG31PR-Vendor-Intel
Processor:-Intel Celeron E1200@1.6ghz, 1200.00mhz(there's 2 of them; its a dual processor)
Ubuntu 10.04.4LTS(Bodhi is a minimal distro based off of Ubuntu, but uses the wonderful Enlightenment window manager
, as opposed to Unity-bleah)
Memory:1014mb (373 mb used) Its actually gigabites, don't know why it says megabites.
Kernel: Linux 3.0.0-12 generic(i686)
I have not yet crossed that boundary that separates the casual linux user from the geek- the ability to compile one's own kernel specifically for one's own machine, although I'm reading up on it.(that way, I can really screw up my machine in style!
Ah, but one day, one day, I will become a true linux geek!
I hope this helps. While I can swap bad drives and add/subtract simple things, stuff like motherboards and processors are way out of my league.