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problem installing 4.10, boot hangs after PLIP0

Help! (please...)
I am having a problem getting FreeBSD 4.10 installed on my machine.
Strangely, I have two almost identical boxes, and the problem exhibits
itself on one but not the other. Any help as to why this is happening
would be greatly appreciated. I have googled, searched list archives and
poured over the handbook multiple times, and the only error report I can
find that comes close (link below) does not seem to have been
ASUS P2B motherboard, PII-350, 256 Meg RAM, 8 Gig UDMA33 IDE drive and
ATAPI IDE CDROM, and 3COM 3c905 NIC. Booting from the 4.10 CDROM, I am
able to get into the kernel config and play with what drivers get
installed, but nothing I do there seems to help alleviate what happens
next. After exiting that, it starts to boot, but stops at the "PLIP0"
line and hangs indefinately. This list poster, although apparently using
different hardware and installing a different version of FreeBSD, seems
to be having the exact same issue, although the mailing list does not
seem to have provided him with an answer. Link:
Failing at the PLIP line led me to believe that perhaps (for what reason
I cant imagine) there might be a problem with the parallel port or
parallel driver, so disabling that driver in the kernel config, it then
starts to boot but stops and hangs after probing/config-ing the serial
ports (just like the poster above). In answer to the question at the end
of his post, according to the handbook's example boot, the next thing in
the boot sequence would seem to be probing for hard drives. So then I am
thinking that there is something wrong with the drive or controller or
the kernel probing for same. However, I am 99% sure that this drive and
controller are working fine, as this hard drive currently boots just
fine into Redhat 9 (which I am trying to replace). I can also
successfully boot this machine via CDROM into any of a host of other
"liveCD" distros such as Knoppix, SentryCD, Phlak, Smoothwall, etc. with
no problems whatsoever (I realize that these are all linux kernel
distros, so not a totally fair comparison...). So but the upshot is that
this box does not seem to have any hardware issues that prevent it from
booting to anything (via CDROM or hard drive) besides FreeBSD.
What is extra strange is that I also have a nearly identical box (only
difference is 128 Meg RAM instead of 256, and 3 x 3COM 3c905 NICs
instead of just one, otherwise, completely identical hardware), which
seems to work perfectly. It boots from the FreeBSD CDROM (same disc), I
dont even have to change or disable a single thing in the kernel config,
and it successfully boots, proceeds into sysinstall, and allows me to go
through the complete install process with no problems at all. I cant
imagine what is different between these two boxes and they have never
exhibited any hardware problems before.
So can anyone tell me what might be going on here, or what I might try
next to troubleshoot it? Any help or pointers would be appreciated. If
other logs or hardware info is required just ask, I will be glad to
provide. This hardware is all relatively old (I mean old as in
well-supported, not old as in crusty), so I wouldnt think there should
be issues with unsupported, bleeding-edge craziness. And the fact that
two nearly identical hardware configs are sporting different behavior
would seem to indicate an actual hardware failure on the part of the one
that doesnt work, but as I said, this box doesnt seem to have any
problems booting other OS's, so I am confused.
I will disclaim in advance that, as with almost all computer problems,
the issue is probably me doing something stupid or forgetting something.
Please reply via the list and/or my email address below.
Sean White