So I have decided that I want the added protection of building a Software Raid 5 with 3 HDDs in my EVGA 750i FTW. Ideally this drive would be for storing various types of media generally Large Video files typically AVI and MOV as well as Audio Files generally MP3s. Ideally it will be safety for my streaming media server for my PS3 as well as my personal collection of files. I currently have a 150 GB Raptor as my OS Drive and 3 SATA Storage drives of various sizes, I plan to replace them all and build myself a raid just for precaution, I haven't had issues with any of these drives ranging from 6months to 4 years old, but i'd hate to lose anything.
I have read that an NTFS system is limited to 2TB, is that per drive or as a whole? Meaning can my Raid 5 not exceed 2TB as a single partition, as my idea was either Three 1.5 TB Seagate HDDs or Three 1TB HDDs and that would equate to roughly 3 TB with the 1.5s or about 2TB of usable space, would Windows only see a maximum of 2 TB or is that 2 TB per Drive is the limit, something which is currently not available on the market.
Also one of my current drives is a 750GB Seagate would I be able to buy 2 more and build a raid 5 out of it and not lose the data on it? Or would I need to start completely fresh.
Software RAID 5 has its limitations over a dedicated cards, but you should see a nice gain in performance (sacrificing CPU usage). Seems you have your mind made up so im not going to bother with suggesting a dedicated card or simply using singular drives and using a backup method to add security of your data.
The 2TB limit is not on NTFS, but a limitation on MBR disks. You havent mentioned what OS you plan to use, if you are going with Vista or XP 64bit you can use GPT instead of MBR which will allow you to create partitions greater than 2TB with NTFS. So 3x1.5gb would require either GPT disk or more than one partition, 3x1gb wouldnt because it will give you under 2tb usable anywho.
If you bought 2 more 750gb, you would have to start from scratch ie. wiping your current drive clean to create the array