So after 2 trips to Fry’s, 6 wasted hours, and $160.00 later, I walked away with the following conclusion for my computer:
1) The primary hard drive that I used to have, for all intent and purposes, is probably fucked.
2) The motherboard is probably fucked, since I tried doing a clean reinstall on a brand new hard drive, and the new drive had been proven to work on an external enclosure.
3) My desktop is fucked. Again.
which leads to my final conclusion: