i registered just to say thanks, and let everyone know how my experience went...
the firmware update went without a hitch on a gigabyte ud3p.
hdat2 would not run properly. i had set sata mode to ide ectect, and expected it so i pulled out another box with an ECS board and did all the work in hdat2 on that pc. no errors and everything went perfect. no issues with anything smooth as silk.
i went and edited the intel toolbox as specified in the other thread, and ran it. it did create a noticeable speed increase on the parts of the disk that are currently empty so i know it worked.
thanks guys for all the hard work!