PC cannot boot from HDD, but boots up from DVD

I know there have been many similar threads, but I could not find an answer for my specific problem.

My PC locked up during a resource-heavy game, I had to do a hard reset. Then WIN7 couldnt boot up, it just showed a blinking underscore instead of the Windows splash screen. In the BIOS everything seemed fine. I did system repair with the WIN7 boot cd, it said the HDD was faulty. Tried a different HDD, this time an old, but reliable PATA with a different cable instead of the previous SATA. Installed Linux Mint on it. When I try to boot up from this HDD, the result is the same -- blinking underscore in the top left corner on a black screen. No beeping sound though. In the bios the hard drive is visible. I know the PC is not completely ruined, because I am actually writing this, using the linuxmint boot disk. I can see the hdd, I can browse the files.

I tried a few tricks, switching memory slots, clearing CMOS, nothing seems to work. Is it the motherboard?
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  1. OK, so the first HDD was faulty, the replacement works though. It booted up in the end after I pulled out the UTP cable, now it works fine. (weird... I disconnected every cable when I cleared the CMOS, and it didn't do the trick. I had to boot up with only the keyboard and the monitor plugged in.)
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