If it's "woody" that you're trying to set up, then you might look into graphics card issues.
My geforce 4 mx420 wouldn't work with woody. this was to do with the nvidia driver only being compatible with a 2.4.xx kernel - I had installed the default 2.2.xx kernel.
One of the chaps from my LUG who also happens to be on the debian developers list, came round and got things set up for me, but this involved in doing a dist upgrade to "Sarge" which has the default 2.4.xx kernel - debian also don't include the nvidia drivers as they aren't "GPL'd" even though you just go to nvidia.com and you can download them from there.
I played with it for 2 or 3 weeks, and I still never managed to get it looking how I wanted (even though I managed to get the kde version up to 3.1.4 and some other stuff), so I had a look at knoppix, which after a hard disc install, is basically a "testing/unstable" debian install - I find it excellent (though still having to meddle with the /apt/sources.list some).
Yup, I feel that the knoppix hard disc install was ALMOST as easy as a mandrake install.
p.s. have you had a look around the distro's>debian forum, you might find something there, also if you intend having a look into knoppix, have a look here