|You're installing the wrong ram may not have damaged the ram slot circuits, but it may have damaged the new DDR2 ram. |
"countless minutes of trying to get the RAM to go in (I had it facing the wrong way) and turning on my comp,..."
....if you tried to boot the computer when any ram module was backwards in the slot, the ram that was backwards and the ram slot it was in are both instantly fried, both can never be used again, and you would probably have noticed a distinct smell like the smell of burnt plastic. If the ram module is damaged you can see evidence of that on the contact edge - damaged or missing (they were vaporized) contacts. If a ram slot is damaged you can see evidence of that in the ram slot - black carbon deposits, the plastic has been melted in places, damaged or missing (they were vaporized) contacts.
In that case, you MAY be able to get the mboard to work again if you install undamaged DDR ram in the remaining good ram slot(s), if you use good lighting and clean up the damaged ram slot(s) - remove all carbon deposits, melted plastic that is bridging contacts.