Well i decided to upgrade the firmware to the HxC and tbh it went so smoothly i thought i hadn't done it properly. No word of a lie, i was like "is that it?"
One thing i did notice when i first booted the machine with only the firmware update in the USB (just after the initial flash), it booted to the HDD and the gotek went a bit funny.
I think and i say think because stupidly i didn't properly check first before i ran the update procedure, but it's possible the updater activated by itself without holding down the two buttons after the OS had loaded. Like it went to mount the floppy in the OS and then flashed itself (the lcd did change its status iirc). It's possible i'm mistaken but thought i'd mention it, not that it makes much difference tbh.
I'm also guessing the option drive a and drive b won't be fully operational at all / yet...as drive b doesn't seem to do anything at the moment. So something to look out for as it confused me briefly.
I've yet to properly test it but seems to be loading some games that wouldn't before and best of all i can now use my microsd to usb adapter, so no more giant usb stick hanging out of the machine.