"Althought in Mandrake 10 my 'Harddrake' identifies the controller - the disk attached to it is not visable. I presume that drivers may need to be loaded for this controller. "
You can download a Linux driver from this page:
The place to click on the download is not obvious. It is near the bottom of
the page in the IT8212F section and is labelled "Binary and Source Code"
As another thought:
I have a HighPoint secondary IDE controller. The Linux kernel has built in support for my HighPoint card. Even so, some disks will work on the HighPoint and some will not. I have a Seagate ST3120026A disk which is not visible when attached to the HighPoint controller card. So I run the Seagate disk on the motherboard IDE controller and Maxtor disks on the HighPoint.
My point is that in diagnosing your problem you should also consider the possibility that some disks may be incompatible with the IT8212 controller.
Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.