1. It has been tested without the heatsink (icepack)and it works fine in a normally ventilated environment, so you should not have any problems.
2. Sure it would, as it works even without a heatsink.
3. I would go for the VR for its lower response time and higher IOPs. If you have the money go for the VR, if not, the F3 is awesome too. I own both and love them both the same for different reasons.
Thinking i'll get a VR boot drive (300gb)...a VR data drive (300gb)...then a smaller (160gb) to work as a page file drive. The software I use is database intensive and will munch of my 4gb of RAM in no time...but it's 32bit and wont recognise any more than 4gb! So page file takes a hammering.
Well a VR is a lot slower than real RAM. How many GB do you need? Wouldn't it be better to move to a 64 bit enviroment since even value RAM would be miles ahead of a raptor. RAM doesn't really have seek time and access data incredibly fast.
Im my opinion you should go SSD + Spinpoint F3.
You can get much faster access time and random read from a SSD than you can get from the raptop.
The spinpoints on the otherh and have faster sustained read. Faster than SSDs on a per $ basis too. So you can always RAID spinpoints and boot windows from an SSD.
I thought you said you only need 300GB of space, then you say you will get another 300GB for data and another 160GB for page? lol
The basic question you need to answer is what you are going to use the PC for?
What is this application?
Is this application the ONLY one that will be running at the PC at one time, or will you be multitasking? (eg. rendering an image in the background while surfing the net)