RAID 1+0 Failures

This is a divorce of sorts. I built my last system in 2007. That was after almost a decade of immersion in hardcore (for me anyway) IT. I taught classes in hardware and Cisco routing and switching. I got into gaming a bit and so built what was, at the time, a pretty good gaming tower. I installed RAID1+0 on a Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 motherboard. I used the Intel RAID drivers (Intel(R) ICH8R/ICH9R SATA RAID Controller) and SATA drives. System was pretty fast with an Intel Core 2 660 2.4 GHz processor. I added an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS and was ready to go.

Everything was great in the first few years. But now, five years in, the RAID array is starting to eat drives on port 5 of the SATA bus. It's always only that drive and it only started happening in the last year or so. The drive lasts about 1 to 3 months. Then, if I've got too many programs open, it just kind of locks up for a few minutes, and that's when I know the Intel Matrix Storage Manager is about to tell me the drive on port 5 is about to fail again. I got 4 warranty claims on the drives so I had some spares, but my last new drive has lasted only about 2 weeks before crapping out again.

I'm tired of fooling with it all. I installed a RAID array so that I could have all of my data safe. It's been great for that. I now have a 1 TB backup drive that has all of my data backed up to it. I'm ready to rebuild, but I don't want to mess with a custom setup.

If I don't do a RAID array on the next computer, how best to ensure data and installed programs are going to be safe and recoverable? Do drives really fail at the rate I've been experiencing in the last year or so? What if that was my only drive and not a RAID array?

I've been out of the IT shops for awhile now. My career took me in a different direction. I just want a system that works that I can easily get back up and running if something bad happened. I'm primarily a business user and not a gamer anymore. Thanks for your advice.
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    I'm not sure about the drive failure rate - those sorts of things can be very misleading when taken anecdotally - its possible that some sort of hardware issue was affecting the drives.

    As to the best way to backup data - the solutions are legion.

    RAID of course, is about performance or uptime and NOT backup.

    I'd probably recommend looking into backup software which does everything for you as long as you have an external drive or something like that (NAS, Server, Cloud storage, etc.) to backup the data to.

    Examples include CrashPlan, Acronis, and more web-based ones like Carbonite and literally dozens of others - a bit of research/reading would help you find one you like.
  2. Best answer selected by chris338cd.
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