I recently bought a 30GB SSD for my boot partition. Reads at 180 MBytes/s and boots to win7 like a dream. It was on sale for $70. For less than $100 you can go fast.
If you want storage capability at speed, your options start to vary.
However, intel matrix on ICH8,9,10 R or D chipsets compare very favourably to hardware raid solutions. Other onboard solutions not so much. From what I've read about hardware raid solutions, you get what you pay for.