First let me say I am so glad I found this forum! I have read a lot of posts on setting up RAID 0 on xp 64 but I am still so very confused.
Here is what I'm looking to do.
I just recently bought this computer off of ebay to use for recording xbox games with the blackmagic intensity pro capture card. (I am brand new with video editing etc so wanted to start out with a lower cost computer instead of buying a $10,000 new computer from HP yet.)
How do I setup/partition a level 0 RAID array? The easy way:
1) Attach the drives to the RAID controller. Each drive should be master on its own channel (separate cable) for maximum performance.
2) Enter the RAID controller bios (usually you press CTRL+H after powering on the PC). Setup the RAID0 array with your preferred stripesize. The exact way of doing this depends on the controller. Note: Some controllers (e.g. the Promise-lite) does not allow you to change the stripesize.
3) Install the driver.
4) Using the installation program partition and format the drive.
First of all, you cannot use 3 drives to make a RAID0 array that must have a PAIR (2). But looking closely at your screen shots, they say the C: drive is Maxtor Atlas .... SCSI, and the D: drive is a NVIDIA STRIPE 223.59 GB unit. What I suspect is that the single SCSI drive is your boot drive C:, and all three of the 80 GB SATA HDD units are combined using the RAID JBOD ("Spanning")system to be one "drive" called D:. However, if you are using RAID in any form you should be able to enter the RAID Setup utility, and you say it does not go there.
The only thing I noted in your machine's manual is that the sequence they cite for getting into the RAID utility is that during boot FIRST you hit any key to allow you to see the POST message, and THEN you hit F6 to enter the RAID utility. It sort of implies that hitting only one key (F6) will not get you there.
If you really want to create a RAID0 data drive from TWO of the 80 GB units, leaving one of them for use as a normal stand-alone drive, you will need to restructure. If you can get into the RAID utility, check whether it really is using Spanning to group the 3 x 80 GB units into one "drive". If yes, then you can use it to break that RAID array down back to individual drives again. Then exit out and reboot the machine, and see if that's how all the drives show up in Disk Management. They probably will NOT show up in My Computer because they have not been Partitioned and Formatted individually.
If that all works, shut down and reboot, going back into BIOS Setup, and make sure that TWO of the 80 GB SATA units are set to RAID mode, and the third is NOT. Save and Exit Setup, then use the "any key - F6" sequence to get into the RAID utility. This time create a RAID0 array using the two 80 GB units available. Save that system and finish booting. Now you'll need to use Disk Management to prepare (Partition and Format) BOTH the new 160 GB RAID0 array AND the left-over 80 GB third SATA disk.
Yes to get the 'boot options' I hit 'del' then on the next screen comes up and says hit 'f6' to enter raid utility.
I emailed the person I bought the computer from and I told him the videos I record are dropping frames, not a lot but enough to make it a little bit choppy. He informed me that the SCSI hard drive should be fast enough to record the streaming video [720p through hdmi from xbox]. I tried this and it is still dropping frames here and there. Not as many but it still is. Is this true about the SCSI drive being faster or would the RAID 0 setup be even better?
So, hitting any key and THEN hitting F6 as a second keystroke gets you into the RAID utility, good. But I don't understand why you are trying to use the HP boot CD for the same thing.
Loading RAID drivers from a floppy disk is only required IF you are booting from the RAID array; it is only required ONCE if the array is being used for data only. Windows does not know how to deal with RAID arrays without added drivers. If your array is being used only for data, then you install Windows normally to a NON-RAID disk and boot from there. You then set up a RAID array using the mobo's built-in utilities. Then you boot into Windows and install in it (using instructions and a CD that came with the mobo) the drivers for RAID, then reboot. This is done ONCE and from then on Windows will load those drivers along with all the others it uses every time it boots from the non-RAID HDD, and you'll always have access to that array.
HOWEVER, IF you plan to BOOT from the RAID array, a different process is required. It's Catch-22 - Windows can't boot from a RAID array unless it has the drivers, but the drivers are stored on the array it can't use! So, at the time of first installing Windows on a RAID array you've already created using the mobo utility, Windows Install routine has a place where you can intervene and add the RAID drivers, usually from a floppy disk (Vista and Win 7 have other options) right at the beginning, and these get built into Windows - or more precisely, into this one installation of Windows - permanently as part of the install. From then on, it always knows how to use the RAID array for BOTH data and boot purposes.
A less-common situation is one in which the Install did NOT include the RAID drivers, but you are trying to boot from a RAID array anyway. There is a point in such a start-up where you can push a key and load the required drivers from a floppy, and they will let Windows use the RAID array during this session, but they won't be permanently installed, and you will have to repeat every time you boot the machine.
Regarding hard drive sizes, evongugg is right, the specs show no indication of a limit, so 1 TB (maybe 2 TB) ought to work.
The hardware you have ought to handle your video recording tasks without dropping frames, I think. So look beyond the hard drive speeds for the source of dropping. Look at what else is running and stealing system resources. What is your video capture system? Do you have things like automatic indexing or auto update turned on? Is an e-mail app running that keeps checking for new messages? How about a virus checker / security suite - they can jump in and use a lot of system power for a short time any time.