Hello, I found your post from last year about SB850+SATA Linux install problems. You say it is a known flaky behaviour; do you have a link to an explanation of the problem please? And has there been any update?
BTW, have you tried a more recent kernel? I just tried Knoppix 6.4.3 on one of my machines (kernel 2.6.36) and it seems to cure a different SATA problem.