reply to koitsu
Re: Corrupted SSD S/N After BIOS Update Thank you for explaining the inner workings of how this string is read and reported. Based on that information, I can understand why it's of no concern.
Let me explain a bit about the history of this PC, as it may lend some light on what happened here.
I assembled it in 2007. Original config was Gigaby GA P35-DQ1 rev 1 motherboard, 4GB Mushkin enhanced 4-4-4-12 timings memory, GeForce 8800GTS graphics card and Turtle Beach Montego DDL-II audio card. CPU is an Intel Core2 Quad 6600 (normal clock 2.4GHz)
Back in late 2007 or early 2008, I needed more rendering speed for video projects that were taking overnight to render. So I investigated overclocking options. The stress wasn't on the motherboard so much as the CPU, as the board was designed to go past 4GHz with faster CPUs and was also designed to be overclocked.
I'd managed to achieve a 3.8GHz overclock, but backed it off to 3.5GHz just for long-term stability. My testing tools were Prime 95 and Memtest86. Up to now, that configuration ran beautifully. Recently, I upgraded to Windows 7 64-bit, and a friend of mine kept pressuring me to add more RAM, although I was finding that 4GB was enough to run all my Adobe CS3 apps without any problems or strain whatsoever. But I figured, there's two empty slots, so I'll buy a kit of 8GB and replace the two 2GB Mushkin with four G-Skill sticks. However, the G-Skill, though it also specs as 4-4-4-12 timing, failed Memtest86 at the current voltage settings that the Mushkin were happy at. So I upped the memory voltage +.05V and that seemed okay. Booted Windows and ran WEI. Scored LOWER with this RAM than with the old RAM, so I assumed I needed to do some tweaking of the timings to get the speeds back to what I was getting with the Mushkin sticks. As it turns out, a number of timings were too aggressive and the motherboard is designed to restart and kick back to default safe settings. If it reboots too many times, as in me hitting hardware reset during POST on 3 successive restarts, DualBIOS will assume I flashed the BIOS with a bad / corrupted flash and switch over to the backup BIOS. Now this BIOS was at F8, while the current BIOS version is F9. As a result, I decided to update this BIOS so that BOTH BIOS copies in ROM would be the latest version. Once that happened, my SSD drive began to display those junk characters after the s/n, not before the BIOS update. That's what my original question was about, actually.
Before the experiments with adjusting the new RAM to higher timings, the drives' s/n was not displaying those >127 ASCII symbols. But at least now I understand there's no reason to be concerned. Certainly, the system has never run this nicely in the 5 years I've been using it. SSD, coupled with a 64-bit OS, added speed and stability I have not seen since my days with the SPARCStation II running Sun OS 4.1 (1987). Even when I got my Mac Quadra 950 in the early 1990s, I didn't enjoy that kind of stability, nor with Windows 95, NT, 2K or XP (though XP was coming close). So far, I have been doing ridiculous things on purpose, in an attempt to crash my editing apps, or see if the OS will crash. With Photoshop, Premiere, AfterEffects, Maya, Illustrator, InDesign, SoundForge and Remote Desktop all loaded, the system doesn't break a sweat switching from one to the other, nor do the apps themselves complain. Under this absurd environment, they run better than if they had the whole system to themselves, one app at a time, under XP. I'm actually VERY pleased with the system's operational stability now and would not change a thing.