Hi Astro, welcome to the forum!
I'm not sure about this, but I think you should be able to use reiser instead of ext3... maybe it was only the burn that was bad. There are many advantages to using reiser over ext3 ... you'll see this the first time you've used your system a while, saving some files and then have a power failure... it might take some time for the system to repair the filesystem, whereas reiser logs (journals) the entries, in essence, and makes the fix much faster. On a 6 gig drive this won't matter that much, but if you have to reboot unexpectedly often, ext3 can get really annoying.
there is a simple command to convert an ext3 to a reiser filesystem... maybe one of our other helpful forum members can jump in and post it.
Howard in Florida