I'm buying a new Gigabyte mobo w/a RAID controler. I know a lot about computers but have no expirence w/RAID. my question is, what are the 2 different ways to setup RAID (i know "stripping" is one of them but I have no idea what it meens) and what's the difference between them? also, is it possible to use only one hard drive on a RAID controller?
Let me preface this by saying that this is a simplified version of what is going on.
Most of the on-board RAID controllers will strip, mirror, or both.
Striping basically will take two hard drives and make the OS see them as one. Since the OS is using two drives at once, throughput increases (though not double, there is some overhead) You can think of it as hard drives in parallel.
Mirror is just what it sounds like. Two drives are kept identical. The point being that if your main drive fails, you can switch to the other and keep on going. No performance increase, just a backup.
You can also install 4 drives and mirror your striped array - performace and reliability. $$$$$$$$
Whether or not you can run a single drive on the controller depends on whether the controller will also act as an ordinary IDE controller. I know some do, and I have heard that others won't.