Is mandriva the only distro you have tried?
Does it offer a text mode installer?
I have, from time to time, run into a system that didnt want to cooperate with one distro, but that a different distro would run on. You have new enough hardware that it should work, so I would verify that you have a good cd, and try again.
You might try debian, ubuntu, slackware, or opensuse.
Ubuntu or Opensuse are going to the the easiest to install, if their installers work
Debian and slackware will be harder to install, but I have NEVER seen them fail to install on known good hardware.
If you install debian and have a broadband connection, do the netinstall, then apt-get either gnome or kde.
If you install Slackware, do a full install to make things as easy as possible for you starting out.
Also, if you install slackware, before running setup, you will need to run cfdisk to set up your partitions.
Good luck, and Let us know how you make out