Friday, January 11, 2013

Want First World Problems? Buy a New SSD

Buy a new solid state drive (SSD). In my case, a 128GB OCZ Vertex 4, which is well reviewed.

And then learn that it supports SATA 3 (the interface between the drive and the rest of the computer).

And then learn that your motherboard only supports SATA 2.

And then learn from Wikipedia that this should be backwards compatible, but with the SATA 2 speed. Accept this limitation.

And then, after an evening of experimenting, that your Gigabyte MA785GMT-UD2H motherboard won't see the new drive unless it's in IDE mode, which is the oldest, slowest mode available.

And then spend another evening googling, finding that:
  • AMD (chip manufacturer) decided to rely on motherboard makers to do things right with the 785G chipset, rather than taking defensive steps themselves
  • other people have had the same problem with similar Gigabyte 785G boards, and had to request BIOS updates through their support site
And then submit a support ticket for your 2 year old Gigabyte board about this issue.

And then visit a Tiger Direct store to get a SATA 3 controller add-on card, but find they are all out.

And then visit a Best Buy for the same thing, but find they have no clue what the hell you're talking about. Give them the part number from their website. Find out they don't have it in their stores.

And then wait a couple of business days with no action from Gigabyte.

And then decide that this is the first, last and only Gigabyte/AMD motherboard that you will ever buy. The next full system overhaul will involve an ASUS board and Intel everything else. In the meantime, order an ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 motherboard that supports your current memory, CPU and SATA 3. This order is non-refundable, but is exchangeable for store credit from the very excellent

And then the next day find Gigabyte has responded to your support ticket with a new BIOS that makes the board see the new drive in SATA 2 mode.

And then wait a week for your new motherboard. Notice that Gigabyte hasn't posted the new BIOS on their website, implying the update is available only to those opening support tickets.

And then get most of the way swapping boards before realizing the new board doesn't have an old-style IDE connector for your DVD drive. Luckily you have your parents-in-law's old computer that has a DVD drive with a SATA connector that you can use. (The board also has no floppy drive connector, which is fine.)

Also order 2 different kits for mounting 2.5" SSDs in a 3.5" drive bay, both of which aren't drilled for the "old" style 3.5" drive screws. Realize that the mounting kit currently in the PC, which is drilled properly, can hold a second SSD.

Finally get everything connected and working. Feel no great satisfaction.

First world problems, to be sure. No one died, no one got sick or injured, no massive loss of property. But, does it have to be this hard?

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