So the default Gutsy Gibbon kernel packages don't enable modules for ahci or the Intel SATA drivers necessary for you on the latest Intel laptop chipsets (like the Santa Rosa used in T-61s and in whatever is used in MacBooks) so you'll have to change the driver to compatibility mode to get it to boot after the install. Since I was used hand-rolled kernels under Etch, I didn't have to do this before. Unfortunately I've encountered some nasty (but temporary) freezes on Gutsy (drive spins for a while, I lose total control) under Gnome. This often happens with VMWare. So I thought compatibility mode might be the culprit.
1) Update /etc/initramfs-tools/modules to include the following:
2) Rebuild your initramfs
# update-initramfs -k all -u
3) After a reboot, check the modules
mfranz@gutsy61:~$ lsmod | grep ahci
ahci 23300 2
libata 125168 3 ata_generic,ata_piix,ahci