Well I finally came across a distro which solves 'all' my previous woes with my 64bit boxes. It's called Ubuntu, how bloody marvellous is this distro? On a scale of 1 - 10 it's an eleven!
My laptop was first, everything works, which blew me away as it's a pain in the a*** to install anything on let alone an os. My desktop came next, followed by the server, all hardware worked just fine......hence with a heavy heart my Debian proper platters went onto the nice to have but junk shelves.
What really surprised me about ubuntu is the gnome desktop it's lovely, stable and adaptable. Now this is quite a humbling feeling as previously i'd have said "I hate gnome!" *though not as politely
Now I'm sold on it, way more stable and faster than KDE IMHO.
Oh and the install is so fast, thanks primarily to the kernel giving top support for basic hardware, viz it actually finds hard drives, or wait the better one than that, it finds the DVD from which it just frigging booted! *bloody suse and mandrake were terrible for this.
Anyways I just dropped in to say download Ubuntu, install it and you'll never look back.
Just one gripe, how the heck did ubuntu manage to get all 'special' keys working by default whereas I took hours to 'get it'? *was days really :/*
P.S. I'm using the 64bit version of 5.10 it's soooooo awesome