Wonder what the main pros and cons will be for teh follwoing two setups. I already listed a couple but I'm sure I'm missings something.
- 2 1TB (or 500GB) hard drives in Raid 0 off motherboard controller
- 1 1TB Hard drive exclusively for backup via a program like Acronis True Image
- 3 1TB hard drives in Raid 5 controlled by an external raid controller
Keep in mind that I plan to add an SSD in the future and will more than likely eventually being storing all media files and documents on an NAS device which will probably be running RAID 5 over a Gigabit LAN.
1. Which will have faster access times (which I'm assuming will translate to faster boot times for all applications). Also, will this even matter anymore once I get an SSD for my OS and applications?
Option 2 has higher reliability at any time of the moment.
With Option 1 you may loose the data which did not get backed up yet. Additionally, option 1 adds an extra overhead to do the backups (weekly, daily, hourly).
The only disadvantage with Option 2 is slower write speed on small chunks.
1. If you have modern RAID controller, both of them will do about the same on read. Option 2 will be a little slower on writing small chunks.
2. I would go for Option 2 due to too much extra hassle with doing backups constantly.
3. See #2.
I would opt for option 1, RAID5 is very complex and if you can avoid it, please do. This RAID level makes sense if you get 5 or 6 drives of 1TB capacity, but in your case it means you run without a backup while a backup really adds the most to protecting your data against data loss.
The RAID0 allows you to save cost of a controller, and should be the fastest solution. So my advise is use RAID0 and invest on a good backup solution. Also look at alternatives like backing up data on other computers on the local network, or some external drive, or even online backups.
Separating your data into critical (personal photos, text documents, business data) and less-critical data (stuff you can re-download, etc) also seems a sensible way to do.
I absolutely agree with sub mesa! Never use RAID at the expense of not doing backups to external media. Even redundant RAID systems can fail, and even if they don't fail there are plenty of ways to loose your data that RAID provides absolutely no defense against.
Backup should be your FIRST data protection strategy. Only look to RAID once you've got that covered. Remember that sound backup strategy is to have at least TWO copies of your data on EXTERNAL media (ie, USB disk), at least one of which is stored OFFSITE.