Actually, I really do like this forum... everyone is always so helpful/encouraging. Don't know where I'd be without it.
The new drive is working quite well (knock on wood!). Here are the first few burns, which I did after flashing to BSIB after installation. I will flash over to BSLB next.
Some nice points: no thrashing, drive spins up and doesn't ramp up/down during writing. No chirping.