What still puzzles me (and is the reason I didn't go down this route before), is that I would have expected a faulty data cable to affect random files at random times, not just the same boot file at startup. (And the unlikeliness of it happening on two entirely different computers, although I know coincidences like this do happen.)
With parallel ATA it seemed that a bad cable simply didn't work. With Serial ATA I've seen several incidences where a bad cable appeared to work most of the time, but would cause strange problems such as lockups and corrupted files. At the 3Gbps and 6Gbps speeds the frequency of the transmission is mind-boggling, it is a wonder it works at all.
One interesting thing I did find, is looking in Event Viewer, I could see boot errors logged back when Windows was originally being set up by the manufacturer, which I hope I'm right in saying does fit with a hardware fault.
That may have been caused by the defective cable as well. Scott.