My XP box randomly drops USB ports. At first I thought this an issue with the operating system because I've had issued with XP and USB in the past, but here lately I've noticed that the new Intel board occasionally forgets it has PATA drives connected. Sometimes when I reboot (its boot drive is PATA) and sometimes while I'm using the computer.
Why not use SATA? I'm glad you asked! Mostly because even with a slipstreamed SP3, XP still doesn't have drivers for it. F6 drivers aside, it took me a week to find the right O/S driver on Intel's support page. The SATA optical drive? Sometimes it reads and burns, sometimes it doesn't. But I can't rely on the external DVD-burner because of the intermittent USB problem.
And because the Intel board only has one PATA port, I can't go all PATA either. Unless I use the Intel board for linux, which installs effortlessly and flawlessly - but because the Intel board limits me to 2.9 GB of RAM, I can't use an operating system which will allow me more.
This random dropping of ports also greatly limits my use of my new USB KVM, which gets confused. Frankly, I don't blame it. I'd get confused to! This completely disables my ability to bounce between two computers - the reason the KVM exists.
My KVM is not all that smart to begin with. Or rather, the engineers behind it. I suppose I'm some sort of anomaly, as the instructions layout how magnificent their KVM is, because it can do the following:
PC keyboard to control a PC
Mac keyboard to control a Mac
Sun keyboard to control a Sun
PC keyboard to control a Mac
PC keyboard to control a Sun
You guessed it, I'm using a MAC KEYBOARD TO CONTROL A PC. Am I the only person on the planet attempting to do this? Unlikely. No one else I know has the problems I do with IDE drives, SATA drivers, USB or KVM. I'd like to set someone on fire.
The solution is clear. Unfortunately, $8000 clear. That's the price of the box with the all-new 2.93GHz dual Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors. Maybe at some point in my life all this extra-curricular activity I spend sleepless nights doing will someday pay off. I can't even imagine the things I could do with a shiny new MacPro - I'd be unstoppable! No more XP drivers, no more KVM, USB that *actually* worked. And screw those old 7200rpm drives. I'm ready for an external 15k rpm SAS array!
As it stands, I'm manually plugging my KVM into one box or another, depending on what I need to accomplish, as well as moving physical drives from one box to another, dependent upon my motherboard's mood. I needed access to my 500GB drive which was no longer seen, so I pulled my mac's boot drive out of its external enclosure, removed the drive from my XP box and plugged it in to the external firewire port.
I was under the impression all this time that the 1394 IEEE port actually worked in XP. Color me unsurprised.
I'll likely tear down both computers again and create what I hope is my last & final configuration: Ubuntu 9.04 with VMWare Workstation.
Of course I'll need another 19" flat panel monitor...