Dual hard drives or Raid Array?

Hi, all. I have a home-built system with a Western Digital WD1200 SATA Hard drive. I recently purchased a twin to this hard drive, and now I am wondering what to do:

1) Set up a RAID-0 array
2) Use the additional space on the new hard drive

My first hard drive is getting a bit full, so I am leaning toward option #2. I figure I can also get a minor performance gain by having my swap file and Photoshop cache on the 2nd drive.

However, I don't want to miss out if having a RAID-0 array is going to give me a huge performance benefit. I am not really concerned about having a full back-up (I do incremental back-ups of the data I am concerned about), so RAID-1 is probably not the answer for me.

Finally ... a possibly stupid question. Is it possible to have a dual-boot machine with two installations of Windows XP? I was thinking about having an installation for work (and all of the hard drive clutter that goes along with it) and another clean installation for gaming.

Edit : I've done some more googling and it seems like the real-world improvement of RAID-0 over a single hard drive is negligble, at best.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by mackenson on 10/08/04 06:55 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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  1. No raid, no double install of XP.

    You don't gain much the first way, and gain nothing the second way. Hard drive "clutter" doesn't affect game performance at all.

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  2. RAID0 would double your space, with both drives appearing as 1 in windows. Having 2 drives would also double your space, with 2 drives appearing in windows. Of course you could always do RAID1, which doesn't give you any increased space but does provide a backup in case a drive fails.

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  3. Like the two guys have said, also keep in mind as soon as you setup the raid all data will be lost on your original drive.
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