Please could someone offer me some advice about a RAID setup - with HDD's being so cheap and that i am thinking of setting up a raid array for Win XP pro. (I dont want or need vista yet and I dont want to do an expensive upgrade. I would like XP pro to run silky smooth though!). I have about £100 to play with for such a setup. What would you guys recommend doing?? Other important things are that i cannot risk loosing any data AT ALL - although as long as there is a provision for a backup i am happy to use RAID 0. I have four spaces for HDD's in my case and i'm happy to get shot of the IDE drive - infact both drives are now almost 3years old. Finally i want as much storage for my money as possible lol!
My current PC setup is the following
Pentium 4 - 3.2Ghz (overclocks to 3.6Ghz with one vcore voltage increase and would probably go further although i havnt pushed it)
Abit IC7-MAX3 MTB (simply one of the best 478 MTB's)
1GB (2x512MB) Geil PC3500 ram cas 2.5-6-3-3-2.
160GB Sata (150mbps) Maxtor drive (primary)
160GB Maxtor IDE drive (storage only)
Gigabyte GeForce 6800GT 256MB ram
485w Thermaltake twin fan ATX PSU
Thermaltake Tsunami dream case (black with clear side panel)
RAID 0 had greatly benefit some task, while having little or no benefit for many others.
Ask you self what you want RAID 0 to speed up and then look up some real world benchmarks and see just what you will be getting in exchange for more than doubling the chance of total data loss.
I prefer 2 drive RAID 1 arrays. There is virtually zero chance of data loss due to hard drive failure, the drives are almost always 100% readable by non-raid controllers so your data is always accessible.
I always keep separate data and OS partitions.
I always keep a largish RAID 1 array shared on my home network.
Off line backups do not work because humans cannot be relied upon to follow a regular schedule. If its not automated it won't get done!
I schedule automatic OS and folder level backup to the RAID 1 array.
Then more the important stuff later to optical/external storage.
Family Photos/Business records get copies left at friends houses in case of fire.
I have no problem with RAID 0 as long as there are regularly scheduled backups, and the person doesn't expect across the board hard drive performance gains or think that it will speed up things which are not even limited by HD performance.
If a process doesn't read from or write to the hard drive faster than its minimum transfer rate then a faster hard drive will make zero difference.
Windows will start faster, software will install faster, programs will launch faster. Games levels usually don't load noticeably faster as the processing takes more time than the transfer off the disc.
Again find out what you want RAID 0 to improve and then dig up real world testing to see exactly what it will deliver.
Note if someone gave me a 2nd Raptor it would be in a RAID 0 config with my existing one in 20 minutes, but otherwise I would rather spend my money elsewhere.
Most programs run pretty lightning fast with my current setup tbh and although load times and windows boot can take time its far from slow.
After your advice i'm thinking that maybe the £100 would be better put away for use in a later upgrade when i finally do move to core 2 duo. Especially as almost everything in my PC will need changing lol!!! Or seeing as HDD's are cheap it might just be better to get a 400/500gig drive for plenty of storage. That way can keep the 160gig sata as my main which saves hours of reformatting! and mebbe flog the IDE soonish.