This would be the drive that has all my games and large programs on it, except for my operating system. There wouldn't be any critical data on it, saved games really being the only thing that can't be reinstallled (and most of those end up on the OS drive anyway), but I still would obviously like to avoid having to reinstall over 500gigs worth of programs.
From what I know the only place that there might be a noticeable difference with raid 0 for most games is in the loading screens, but that's enough for me to still consider it.
The question is, is it worth it? Is the little bit of extra effort, the increased failure chance, and the probably slightly more heat output worth a raid 0, or am I not really going to notice enough for it to matter? Feel free to give me a third option if you have one that you think is a much better choice then either of these two. Thanks!
edit: I originally was looking at the refurbished 1TB drives by accident, which were 65 instead of 90 dollars, that plus the fact that until the 27th there is 20 dollar off promo on the 2TB means that as for now with these drive options the 2TB is 50 dollars cheaper then two 1TBs. That definitely makes me lean towards the 2, but I'm sure there is other 1TB drives that are cheaper.
I did know that raid 0 had better performance for a sacrifice of reliability, but since I wasn't keeping any critical data on the drive I was ok with that part. Aside from that though I was leaning towards the 2TP, and that seems to be what people are suggesting too.
Unless you are imaging/backing up to another drive I'd go with 2 1TBs in RAID 1. Better a slower working machine than a non-working one. If you go with RAID 0, image the volume to another drive regularly.
I thought about raid 1, but I want at least 2 tb of space and two 2tb drives was pushing what I wanted to pay. I will be backing up everything important, not the entire drive, but anything I loose will be items I have a disk for.
As for SATA III, I wasn't really even focusing on that, looking at 2tb drives on NewEgg, among the 7200 RPM drives (I did look at others, but the price difference wasn't enough for me to go to the slower speed) the one I listed is 130, and there is only one drive cheaper the HITACHI Deskstar 7K3000
and its only 10 dollars cheaper. It is also a SATA III, so looking for a SATA II or below doesn't seem like it will save me much money if I still want 7200 RPM.
Granted, I could shop around outside of newegg more, but that ends up bringing in a bunch more questions. I trust newegg more then most places and there prices for drives is usually pretty good (and I have to order online, Staples is pretty much the only local store near me that would sell drives. They have the WD Black 2TB one, but its 200 there, as opposed to 130 on newegg right now).
I'd still buy the Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive like you listed initially in your post. It's not $200, it's $149.
It's also true right now that the real world thruput of SATA III's is about 150 MB/s, but given a little time as speeds pick up, you won't have to put out another $150 for an updated model and go through this all over again.
At Amazon, the 2 TB WD drive is $139 free shipping, or the 1.5 TB same model is $109.
RAID 0 is okay, as long as you do regular backups, to another drive.
The OP wants size, not speed. But does want a 7200rpm HDD.
I don't trust RAID 1 as a viable backup. It only saves the data in case of drive failure, so what the difference b/t backing up a RAID 0 array, and RAID 1? Slightly better speed, but only 50% or so. HDD don't scale like SSD in RAID 0.
The caviar black 2tb referenced above runs at ~138MB/s write and ~175MB/s read.
Compare this drive to 2 1tb Samsung Spinpoints in raid 0 (Close price wise) run on average 250-280MB/s read and 250-280MB/s write.
Now note as others said you put yourself at higher* risk of data loss, but if your only running the WD 2TB you aren't using data protection anyway that WD has a failure rate too! It would just be less of a chance* of losing data because you are only using one drive.
Now before you ask why people buy SSD's when you can raid 0 two drives like the spinpoints and get competitive speed...
SSD's have zero startup time so if we take a simple example:
Spinpoints in raid 0 take 11.1ms (Spinpoints actually take ~11.7ms to fire up and the WD 2TB is similar) to move their needles and get to the data and start reading at 250MB/s.
SDD's take .1ms to get juice and access their data and run. This is a HUGE performance increase. It's the same deal when you compare a electric motorcycle to a mechanical one. I don't know if you ever seen a electric motor cycle, but they have instant access to their full potential right when you nail the accelerator. Where as a mechanical motorcycle has to shift gears and increase it's RPM at a slower rate because of it's mechanical gas fed piston design. Oh just a cool bit of info electric vehicles also do not shift gears. If you ever get to drive a electric motorcycle its pretty crazy (and slightly scary) to hear no noise and instantly accelerate faster then anyone else.
To me the answer is not obvious. If I were looking for best performance I'd raid the Spinpoints without a doubt. If I wanted slower performance with the benefit of less failure CHANCE*, lower noise, less heat, less power consumed I'd get the WD. If I wanted to cover both bases I'd buy a cheap storage drive on an open box deal and have a cluster of SSD's.
Right now in general most people are using 1 SSD in their system coupled with one or multiple HDD's. The SSD is used for Window (20GB) + applications like Steam client, Firefox, MS Office, your favorite game, etc the HDD is for the video, music and majority of your steam library. This as of today is the best thing to do. You get the benefit of SSD's .1ms startup with all the applications you are opening and closing, but you get the space for the massive files you are saving.
I have done Hard disk Benchmarking of Western Digital WD1002FAEX, WD1001FALS, WD10EARS, RAID 0 of WD10EARS + WD10EARS,RAID 0 of WD1001FALS + WD10EARS and RAID 0 of WD1002FAEX + WD1001FALS.The full details can be found in http://my.opera.com/syam0312/blog/raid-0-benchmark .