The raid 1 array on my server has dropped a drive. They are old 150gb ide drives that I've had for quite some time. Any ide drive is more than I want to spend, so I figure I will upgrade.
The server is used for development of ColdFusion and SQL Server, and a media backup. Performance is not a huge deal.
I'm looking at a few.
I currently have three spinpoint f1 raid editions in a raid 5 array on my dev box. I could mirror that on the server, allowing me to back up across the network. I don't think I raelly need raid 5 though. A couple of terabyte drives in raid 1 should be enough.
Please also know that RAID can * N * E * V * E * R * replace a backup - those are two different things. RAID1 is perfect for uptime guarantee; like mission-critical servers that lose millions of dollars just by being 'offline' for a few minutes; that's where RAID1 is useful. For home users, i think it provides a false sense of security and the slightest filesystem corruption, virus or accidental deletion will cause dataloss not covered by the RAID.
Alright. Also, try to avoid any PCI card for RAID. Its just as bad (even worse) than onboard RAID and really hurts performance. If possible use onboard RAID by the motherboard - Intel ICHxR is the best onboard RAID controller. Many formats can also be used under linux' md-raid.
If performance is not a huge deal, you may want to look at 5400rpm 1TB drives. These are much more suitable to mass data storage (large files) than 7200rpm+ drives. The benefits of less heat, lower temperatures, less noise, less airflow required, less energy consumption and generally the same performance for sequential I/O. They may also be more reliable than their faster moving 7200rpm disks, though those stats will only be true if you compare thousands of 5400rpm against thousands of 7200rpm drives.
This is my old machine that has been relegated to server status. P4 3.0. Only has one agp and some pci slots. I will eventually get a new motherboard, processor, ram, etc, but can't spend the money right now. So I'm stuck with pci.
If it has no onboard RAID then you're stuck with PCI yes. Will it run Windows? If not, you can probably use software-RAID instead; assuming you have at least 2 SATA ports on your P4 motherboard. This solution would be much better than a PCI card.
But as you say, performance is not that important, just configuring a PCI RAID card is pretty easy - but has its disadvantages and you may experience one of the many quirks of these PCI cards. If you will be using Windows there isn't really an alternative though.