2xWestern Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
My questions are:
1. I am intimidated to try a raid set-up, even though I know it would be best as I edit video using Premiere Pro. Can anyone walk me through the set-up for my configuration? I read through the raid FAQ and it seems a Raid 0 would be best, but I worry about losing all of the data. The scary part for me is the raid drivers that I must load from a USB (or floppy?), and the appropriate BIOS settings (AVHI?).
2. I am also seeking a link or advice on the exact order to do things from when I first hit the power button using Win 7. BIOS and MB drivers, OS, GPU, then peripherals, then software?
You should not use WD Black for RAID, you need the RE series. There's a lot of info in the web about this issue, but basically, WD has configured the Black series firmware so that those HDDs will frequently break a RAID volume.
If you choose to RAID them anyway, you'll have to create a RAID volume in the BIOS. First set the SATA drive to RAID and not IDE or ACHI, save and exit BIOS, re-enter BIOS and at the RAID screen, press Crtl+I to create the volume, save and exit. Re-boot to your OS installation drive. Be sure to download and install the latest version of the Intel Matrix Storage Manager for your OS after you have installed it.
RAID 0 (striped) size is the sum of the capacity of both HDDs and yields marginally faster performance over RAID 1 and over a single HDD. A single HDD failure means you lose everything in the volume.
RAID 1 (mirror) size is the 1/2 the capacity of both HDDs. A single HDD failure means you have to get another HDD, add it to your computer, and re-build the array from the surviving HDD. Some people have lost all their data on the remaining HDD at this point, others have not, it seems to depend on how they add and re-build - do it from the Intel Matrix Storage Manager in Windows, not from within the BIOS.