I've had problems like that in the past.
Try configuring the RAID controller and its drives as soon as the RAID BIOS loads up. This occurs before the grub prompt. The driver may be expecting the drives to be hardware RAIDed already.
Then try installing with the "noprobe" option to select the driver. (Which looks like what you did). Linux may find the card just fine after configuring the RAID too, so try the auto mode first.