This setup started out as two machines with Raid 0 arrays on 2 machines consisting of 4 drives each. This was a successful setup with no problems over the period. Both the machines were used for gaming purposes and the rigs were built for purpose.
The processor on the one machine has become unreliable as it ran during the gaming activities at 100% performance for extended periods (6 to 12 hours at a time).
This rig was stripped and the components carried to an existing rig, which will now fulfill a dual purpose, being gaming and storage. The 160 Gig HDD's has become a risk as well as I had to solder back some of the circuits on two of the disks already. (IDE interface at the back of the disk was damaged while testing PATA to SATA converters to get all 8 disks on SATA. These converters did not work and damaged the drives.
The next anticipated questions:
1) Why not use a raid 5 card
* Cost impact of obtaining one is a bit high as the HDD has become less reliable and will be replaced by SATA drives
* I am busy replacing the 160 Gig Hitachi's (IDE)with 500 Gig Seagate 7200.11(SATA)
* The MOBO only has 1 PCI slot which is covered by the PCI-e Card as it fills two slots so no expansion is possible
* The Windows Raid array can be carried to another system without any limitations with regards to the controller.
1) that many hdd's in raid0 and that old is just asking for problems
2) windows raid arrays (software) aint so great
3) you cant install windows onto the raid partitions created by windows
4) raid5 = cpu overhead, capping your gaming even perhaps
5) seek times become an issue with that many hdd's AND the software raid more (software software - windows)
6) the 20gb hdd's are most likely 5400rpm, 2mb cache
7) windows software raid1 and raid5 - if your system resets it will have to rebuild that whole partition again
the gain you will see from all this will be pitifal, perhaps slower then a single hdd setup, and the hassle, not worth it.
Buy your self some WD Raptors, even then you shave 1 second from the loading time