Well, I finally got my SATA drive issues resolved. As briefly discussed in the comments of the last post, on looking at the detail of the drive I noticed that whilst mine was in the same model range of those affected by the bad implementation of NCQ (DiamondMax 10, model number starting with 6B), the firmware version on mine was a few notches below that supposedly affected by the bug (mine is BANC1B10, the affected version in this family is BANC1B70). In addition, most manifestations of that problem involved corrupted writes, which I hadn’t seen, thankfully - rather the latter area of the disk just refused to function.
So, I did some more digging, and racked up a few more things to try. I spent most of yesterday evening just backing everything up before I started. In so doing I installed an older 80Gb PATA drive to receive said backups, and was happy (as posted in comments) that my new board is able to live with both - the old Highpoint secondary SATA controller on my old board would refuse to be the boot disk if PATA disks were connected. This means I will be able to set up a Linux desktop install again on this other drive (I’ve left it a bit of space), something that’s long overdue. I’ll probably go for Ubuntu this time since I’ve grown to like Debian on servers, but would prefer something a little more desktop-oriented for my dev machine.
My luck changed at about 11pm when I decided I’d backed up everything I really needed, and tried the first thing on my list. I’d noticed this Microsoft Knowledgebase Article about problems recognising disk space above 137Gb. Now, I really didn’t expect it to be this, since firstly this was reported on SP1 and I assumed it would be resolved in SP2, and secondly I didn’t have this problem when the exact same drive was connected to my old board. Nevertheless, it seemed something of a coincidence that my games partition lived almost directly on this boundary (my 4 partitions are 20Gb system, 20Gb downloads / misc, 100Gb coding and 100Gb games). So, I tried it, set the registry key manually, rebooted and recreated the partition. The format took a lot longer, so that gave me an instant ray of hope. Sure enough, some time later I had a working 100Gb games partition again.
I cannot believe this issue still exists in SP2. To have to manually frig with the registry to get it to pick up drive sizes that are extremely common these days is just crazy - I’m happy with doing that sort of thing, but your average Joe certainly wouldn’t be. I can only assume the Highpoint controller on my old board didn’t use 48-bit LBA which is why I got away with it before.
Well, at least it’s now fixed, and I can start getting the machine back up to where I need it to be, and get productive again. XSI 4.2 and 5 are back in, as are Visual Studio, Visual Assist, Vim and Tortoise. I still have to get my Firefox plugins back up to par, reinstall Photoshop, Cygwin, Code::Blocks and probably a hundred other little things, but the machine is starting to feel like mine again. And I can run the deferred shading demo at last (screenshot), nice work wumpus. 😀