Wow, can't believe this much time has gone by. I apologize for the lateness of this "thank you" but Thank You for responding.
I did as you suggested but unfortunately nothing has changed. I tried another cdrom and am having the same problem.
So with cables secure and memory removed, both cdrom's are recognized when posting and in explorer in windows but are not useable. The one thing that did change was that the name in device manager reads correctly, not garbled.
A strange thing with the cdrom is that I can remove it from device manager, make sure a cd is in the drive, reboot and it seems to "work" for that session. The icon representing the cd rom with a disk in looks different but it seems to work until I reboot. Of course, this "event" is not consistent. Sometimes it takes 3-4 reboots before the cdrom will work.
It makes no sense to me, especially considering I have replaced cables, removed ram, checked for proper seating of the cables and have tried different cdroms. I suppose the only logical conclusion is that something is amiss with the motherboard. Which is "strange" since it is all of 3 months old.
Thanks again for responding!