I installed SuSE Linux 9.2 on a Dell Dimension 8400 with SATA disks and added kernel 2.6.11. It worked.
Based on notes that I took from http://www.homerengineeringcorp.net/mythtv/myth.html
I installed Suse 9.2+ kernel 2.6.11, but likely one can do the same with debian, knoppix, redhat or fedora.
The notes at the URL go much further, and describe also how to install MythTV.
My system is a Dell Dimension 8400, BIOS A03, 2x SATA WD160GB, ATI X300.
On both disks a bootable Windows XP, and both initially with 2 partitions:
partition 1 is Dell Utilities Fat16, partition 2 is NTFS.
SATA on the Dimension 8400 is based on the Intel AHCI controller chip ICH6R.
I added linux to disk 2, with BIOS drive settings initially set to "Autoraid/ATA". SuSe 9.2 (kernel 2.6.8-24 installs and runs fine. Kernel 2.6.11 from www.kernel.org,
This kernel boots also from "Autoraid/AHCI". I can choose Grub to choose between XP and linux. Display for 2.6.11 in menu.lst set to "vga=normal", rest as default Suse 9.2.
The SATA part in .config (made with "make cloneconfig" and using the defaults suggested in "make xconfig") used for compiling kernel 2.6.11 was
# CONFIG_SCSI_SATA_AHCI is not set
I will post detailed instructions for this installation at a different forum.
URL will follow here: http://forums.us.dell.com/supportfor...essage.id=5859