Well I'll start off by saying that I know just about nothing about hard drives. However, I recently built a system using two hard drives that I had laying around (a 250 gig IDE and a 40 gig IDE, both Maxtors). I want to make the switch to better performance drives. I'd rather not spend over $200, and capacity is not that big of a deal for me, because i would probly keep the 250 gig one for putting extra files on.
So I did a little research, and came up with three alternatives.
My motherboard is the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe. I have an e6300 OCed to 2.8 ghz. My RAM is DDR2-800 Corsair RAM, of which I have 1 gig, but will have 2 soon. My cooling is not amazing, but I do have 2 intake fans that blow right across the hard drives. My PSU is a 550 watt Antec.
Basically, which of these solutions would give the best performance for my system? Will there be any other problems, such as heat or not enough power?
You can't do Raid 0 with 3 drives. If you have 4 drives you can set up two Raid 0 arrays. The drives should be the same for Raid 0 or 1. The Raptor 150 is the fastest SATA drive on the market but only using one is not going to be as fast has using two of them 320 SATA drives in Raid 0. Well, actually before I say that I will say that some tasks the 150 10,000 rpm drive might have a slight edge but I think the overall winner would be the two 320's in R0. Two Raptors would be the easy winner in RAID 0 but very expensive for about 300GB of total storage. Please note that with RAID 0 if one drive dies you loss all your data between both drives and will have to start from scratch with a replacement drive. Hope this helps!
Also even though you are talking about all Western Digital, Newegg sells the SAMSUNG SpinPoint drives for fairly cheap IE the 320 is 89 and the 400 is 109.. Other places might have them for even less. Speed for speed fairly equal to the WD drives except for the Raptor.
that is not correct, you can do RAID 0 with 3 drives (or more, if your chipset allows) atlthough the performance upgrade (over 2 drives) often isnt worth the reliability loss, minimal performace gain (interface becomes bottleneck) and higher CPU overhead.