i have had a series of revelations from working with the computer just now
firstly, you were right, atomic rooster. the power supply does not work when the on/off switch is being pushed on. i was able to try it with the two different volt settings while not screwed in.
when i try on 230 the exact thing happens that was happenign to it with the old supply. the computer makes a very quiet noise and nothing happens
when i try it on 115 it started up just like normal. the old power supply was set to 115 as well. i didn't get past the login screen because i didn't plug anything in, but it looked ok. it is however possible that the problem won't start up until it has been on for a while or runs world of warcraft (like the old power supply did before it completely died).
right now i'm facing two problems.
one is that i can't have the power supply securely fastened and have it run. i see two possible solutions.
i can either run it with the power supply only connected by one screw, or find some tin snips and cut a whole in the back of the computer.
problem two is that the cable that plugs into the hard disk (i think) keeps slipping out. i got the message
eboot and select proper boot device
or insert boot media in selected boot device
a couple times because of that. is there a trick to keeping it in there or should i just cross my fingers?