I made the changes to grub.conf and rebooted the system.
- System booted into 1680x1050 while plugged into docking station without any fiddling. (VGA out is still off but thats ok...)
- Sound is working better. I thought I was dealing with some pulseaudio issues (hey its what everyone blames isn't it?) but it turns out that it might have been something else.
- The new disk drive seems to be happier, I was worried last night when I heard it making some 'clicking' noises again.
- No more DMAR messages in dmesg... I am wondering if the DMAR messages mapped to the disk drive or something else.