Backup and upgrades, am I doing it right?

Hi, I currently have a single 640GB drive for my OS and all programs, with a 1TB drive for my data (video, music, pictures etc). I have an external 500GB hard drive that I currently use to back up my data. I plan on purchasing a SSD for my OS and a select few programs, use the 640GB hard drive for all others, and purchase a second 1TB hard drive to act as a better back up (the external drive is getting close to filled, and this would free it for w/e reason I want). Now, I have a few questions.

I am assuming that I will have to reinstall windows on the SSD, and reinstall all programs onto the old 640gb HDD, and there is no way to simply move the OS while leaving the programs where they are? This isn't a huge issue, just wondering if there is a better way.

I have a p6t. Would my best bet for data safety be to RAID 1 the two 1 TB hard drives? Would I get a noticeable performance gain for anything for getting a dedicated raid card instead of using my mother board?

I'm having trouble finding a clear break down of the exact chain of events of what happens and what needs to happen when a drive fails in RAID 1. From what I gather, you will be informed that a drive has failed, does BIOS tell you this, or windows? The drive needs to be replaced, and will be automatically be rebuilt. Until that time when I replace the drive, will I still be able to access the data on the still working drive?

Thank you for reading this, and for your time and help.
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  1. Update with another question: If I have a raid 1 configuration, how easy would it be to take one of the drives out and move it to another computer, with all the data intact? If I told BIOS to get rid of the raid configuration, I would have 2 drives with identical information, that are both ready to go, correct?
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