The old laptop probably used an IDE hard drive while the new one most likely uses a SATA hard drive. From there, the BIOS can either configure the SATA drive to be presented in IDE emulation mode or AHCI/RAID mode. I just had an install problem similar to yours with a Sony. The Sony's BIOS presented SATA drives in IDE emulation mode. In this mode, the RHEL 4 installer couldn't see the disks. However, if I changed it to AHCI mode, it would magically see the disks!
You may want to check in your BIOS to see if there are any options having to do with a "SATA AHCI" mode. I believe AHCI offers a little performance boost because it can take advantage of modern disk tech (NCQ,power,etc.).
NOTE: Windows probably won't take well to the abrupt switch to AHCI, but there are tons of posts on the internet having to do with that. Search on "windows ahci".