Jan, thanks for your concern. To ease your mind, yes the data was on it, but the solution is simple – I’ll just pay for the recovery service with the surplus on the account.
Lots of people mailed me with advice, which was great. Some people called me stupid, which I agree with. I went out on Friday to collect my PC I had brought in (the damn thing stops booting at random points) and they told me “the wires were connected wrong”. Which is odd, considering I had tested the board with no wires attached at all except for CPU fan, ATX connector and board connector. I just tried to boot the thing by holding a screwdriver to the power pins, which worked fine. Well, except for that nothing showed up on the monitor.
Anyway, in a store that doesn’t care for its customers it’s pretty hard to argue over this sort of thing. They charged me 35 euros for it after showing that it booted. I bought 2 250GB disks to serve as a software RAID and went home. The machine worked for a whole day before giving up at the third reboot. Now I wonder if it’s worth it to go back at all. The only thing I haven’t tried replacing yet is the fan and the CPU. I tried with another fan, but I don’t trust that one to work at all. Same for the CPU – I have no idea if taking out the old 2GHz P4 CPU I have that I know works and putting it in this new motherboard is supposed to work at all.
I’m at loss for ideas here, suggestions always welcome as usual.