@pipemanid: please remember everybody is trying to help here. When somebody says that nothing happens, it might still mean that something does happen, but that user doesn't know it's happening. Never take everything written that literal . And if IvanHoe wants this opportunity to get a new system: well why not... it's his money afterall..
@Matth: what is so strange about packing an IC this way? I'd do it just like that (okay I would tape the IC to the foam, but that's all). Many ICs come like this when you order them (at least, the ones I ever ordered did)
@IvanHoe: although your system doesn't seem to be doing anything at all, it still might be alive. A flash went wrong can cause problems like this. I've been there (toying around with hacked BIOS' and powerfailure during the flash).... and I got systems fixed with a new flash.