Update: Between crashes, I managed to see my D drive (data drive, WD caviar black 2TB spinning disc). It seems to have lost about half a TB of information off it out of the blue. No idea why. Since that pretty much means that my data is all probably borked, and none of it is particularly life or death, I decided to reformat both drives this time. Clear everything out and start from scratch.
I loaded my windows 7 installation DVD into the drive. I rebooted and booted from DVD drive. If anyone is somewhat familiar with this process, there are 2 pre-load sequences before you actually see a graphic friendly screen. They executed fine. Next up was the "Starting Windows" screen. This took a solid 15 minutes. When it finally came up, I had the blue themed background and the installation menu, but now my mouse and keyboard weren't working. I had no way to input to the computer, so I hard booted. Repeat the cycle, mouse and keyboard are working now. I go to custom installation options and it asks me where I want to install windows (a list of hard drives appears). My data drive doesn't show up at all in this menu.
There's seriously no end to the frustration here. I'm dying. I consider myself a pretty computer literate guy. I'm the go-to guy in my circle of friends and family. This problem just keeps throwing different symptoms at me. I've replaced everything twice over now it seems. 3 different mobos, 3 different processors, 3 different video cards, a full new compliment of RAM, a new SSD, a new DVD drive, 2 new power supplies. The last remaining possible piece of hardware is my data drive, and it's not even being recognized by windows, so I don't see how it could be the cause of these problems. Everything is loading incredibly slow, even when bypassing the hard drives and booting directly from the windows installation DVD. This is just nuts!