As others said, you need to boot a kernel that is actually able to deal with the disk controller in the motherboard. Even if you install an old version of some distro, you need the kernel to have a driver for the controller (depending on the distro, you may have to do a lot work to install a newer kernel, or maybe it's really just a matter of fetching and compiling).
Try seeing if the BIOS setup allows you to enable some "legacy" operation mode for the disk controller, maybe that way you can go far enough to have debian installed so that the only thing left is to update the kernel.
And don't forget this (or any other issue regarding lack of "default" kernel support) requires two different things:
- The kernel used to boot the installation environment;
- The kernel that gets installed with the system you're installing.
So, let's say you manage to solve (1) by using, e.g., a recent copy of Knoppix to boot the computer (either using a pendrive,
toram, two optical drives, or other procedure that lets you run the debian installer from knoppix), then you will be able to install the system, but you won't be able to boot the installed system.
To achieve (2) you can either just copy the kernel you used to boot the installation environment (which may involve some hackery if the kernel uses some initrd (as do many livecds) that is not compatible with the way Debian does stuff), or build one from source.