Chances are, the knowledge required to properly maintain a good RAID array versus just simply using multiple drives for storage would probably not be worth it, it takes some time to fully understand the concepts, benefits, and the costs/risks associated with RAID.
If you're thinking of RAID for backup, look elsewhere towards a simply external drive or DVD to save your important data. Same with gaming performance "benefits" with RAID 0, more often then not, it's simply not worth the risk of RAID 0 simply to load the OS a few seconds quicker.
1) can RAID be set up on any 2 drives of do they have to have cretain features.
2) is there a noticible difference in performance.
3) are there different RAID setups
i am looking for between 500 and a 1000gb of memory on my new rig. the reason why i have such a big range is because i do not no what will give me the best perfomance..
any sujestions will be helpfull
1 - Yes. The only features to keep in mind is that they will operate based on the slowest speed and smallest drive size of your slowest and smallest drive. Thus, the ideal is to use the exact same drives when making the array, though it is not neccessary.
2 - Yes. But it depends on what you're doing. If you're moving large files, you will feel the difference with a large cluster sized RAID0 array. You can also set it to move small files fast too with smaller cluster sizes. The speed actually increases rather linear, so the more drives, the faster the read/write happens. However, the more drives you add, the longer your acces time becomes. With two drives, the access time hit will not be noticable (merely noted in a benchmark). With 8+ drives, you will certainly notice the access time hit. But you're not using 8 drives, so it's a moot point. If you play a lot of online games, you will feel the difference. When it comes to online games, loading a level a few seconds faster makes a difference. Who cares how fast windows boots. When it comes to loading content, you'll feel that difference. I'm a devout RAID user and have used it for nearly a decade, and I simply can't stand going back to single drive speeds (not even a single 10krpm drive).
3 - Yes. Lots. But for the general consumer/user, only a few of them are actually useful. Most of the other RAID possibilities are for servers, or folk who simply need to have 100+ drives kind of thing. First of all, to use RAID, you need a controller. Most controllers for top speed RAID and higher RAID setups will cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars for just the controller. Thing is, RAID speeds scale per drive, so if you get too many drives, the speed is so high that the computer/controller simply can't even do it and it bottlenecks. You need a system built to handle the speed of the array. For lower end RAID, what we do as casual users, this isn't a big deal as we won't RAID with more than 3 drives tyipcally. No need to. RAID0 is striping, it just takes maximum storage and maximum performance. RAID1 is mirroring, it just mirrors one drive with another for high data security. RAID0+1 is striping with mirroring, which would take a minimum of 4 drives, allowing high performance and security in one; but 4 drives is a lot. Beyond this, is the RAID5, which is the ideal. RAID5 is similar to RAID0+1, but it takes 3 drives and keeps the storage capacity of 2 of them, and the rest goes to parity (security). It's a way to get high performance and data security in one set, but with less drives compared to RAID0+1. Problem is, it requires specific controllers which you'll have to get separate, which generally cost hundreds of dollars ($150~$300).
-- The size of your drive(s) and array make no difference for speed really. In fact, more storage generally lowers your performance simply because of indexing and accessing so much across the array if you actually filled it. You're better off for performance's sake, to have smaller drives in the RAID. I mean, why have 2 TB of storage from 2x 1TB drives unless you literally need files that large? You're generally better off with fast small RAID0 arrays and then take another fat storage drive (like 1tb) just to hold files you're not using constantly. For the casual user, like a gaming machine, two 80 gig drives in RAID0 for 160gigs total is perfectly fine and actually going to be easier to manage than a huge 500~1TB RAID0 setup.