I have the exact same problem. I'm really getting irritated with Linux install problems. I've installed redhat 7.3 before and aside from video refresh rate problems everything worked fine and i was really happy with the distro.
Now all I'm trying to do is dual boot linux and win xp pro. I have a 160 gig hd that i partitioned with partition magic 8. I made all of the xp FAT 32, added a small /boot partition after the XP mbr and then put a 20 gig /root partition followed by a 800mb /swap at the end of the drive.
the first attempt was RH 8.0 installing from a DVD included in the RH 8.0 Complete reference book. Everything was moving along fine but when i get to the installing packages area. the system hangs, my HD and DVD drive lights flash in synch and it stays that way till i reboot. I've tried over and over and this is as far as i can get with that install.
So I decided to give Mandrake 9.2 a try, I burned the Iso for the first install disk and was planning on doing the linux askmethod to access the other two iso's from the HD. As soon as i get to the detecting USB and I get the same ramdisk error. I went back to my bios and disabled USB as well as PNP and made sure the ACAPI was also disabled. rebooted and tried again and I got the same error. I just happen to be the lucky owner of an LG cd burner, So my next move was remove the IDE cable for the LG drive and boot rom the dvd drive, Same error.
As much as I hate Windows I gotta admit I have never had an install problem with it. So any more suggestions. heres a rundown of my system. AMD athlon 850,FIC motherboard with VIA chipset, 768 mb's pc133 SDR, Nvidia gforce 2 card, LG 52X cd burner, Toshiba DVD rom, Seagate 160 gig HD, Win Xp Pro with SP1. USB port used only for webcam.