Thanks for your thoughts.
I was searching around my bios...looking into some of the ideas that folks had offered.
There is a setting there that allows the memory setting to be set by SPD (I dont know what SPD ismy mobo manual doesnt say, either...any thoughts???)...the other option is auto. I changed this setting from auto to SPD. I also changed my clock speed to 166 because (as I have been corrected on) the AMD 2800 (yes, 2.08ghz, NOT 2.8ghz as I had originally thought) DOES NOT have a 400mhz fsb, it runs (as people wiser than myself have pointed out) at 333mhz fsb.
Lo and behold, the comp booted right up, no problems whatsoever. The startup system info still says cpu of unknown type, but the speed is correct. System info also reports that the ram is running at 200mhz, but I think thats just because of the type of ram it is (Corsair DDR 1gb PC3200xl rt).
At this point I need to put it through its paces recording digital audio. I will do this as soon as I get my old comp ready to give to my parents, which is where its headed.
The comp doesnt really seem to be loading programs or running much faster than it had been (running an AMD Athlon 1800, 768mb sdram on an Epox board), but I dont think I should really be expecting leaps and bounds above and beyond the speed I was seeing with the old system. The main thing I was hoping to get from an upgraded system was stability. I was starting to see dropouts (thats what Cakewalkmy audio interfacecalls them. Not quite crashes, but close) with the older system, as my recorded audio files got larger and more cumbersome for my old comp.
At this point, I dont think Ill feel gypped if I get the stability I was searching for. I also have yet to make all the tweaks to Win XP that digital audio aficionados make to our machines. Faster would be nicer though...
Thanks again for all your thoughts.