Usage will be gaming, multimedia, photo/video editing, general usage.
My considerations regarding this selection include:
- SSD longevity - are we confident that TRIM & SSD-controller wear-levelling are going to work as advertised to keep a MLC SSD running?
- SSD benefits - In my intended use-case scenario as a drive for Windows 7, and probably a few app/game installs, am I going to see appreciable benefits from the SSD in boot times/program load times in comparison to RAID-0 HDDs?
- RAID-0 - Any strong feelings against RAID-0? Statistically speaking hard drives are pretty reliable. I already have pretty good backup habits.
Finally, does anybody see any compelling reasons to wait another month or two before ordering? Personally I don't. Intel doesn't look like they'll be updating their 4-core i7 mobile lineup to Westmere any time soon. nVidia will just be releasing Fermi-based (GTX 4xx) parts at the end of this month, and I don't expect to see them in mobile versions very soon (esp. with the anticipated power usage).
It is a bit of a tough choice, but if I were in your shoes, I'd probably shoot for the SSD+HDD option. I've always found RAID setups to be iffy, especially if one drive were to fail, you're kind of out of luck. The Intel X25-M is a good performing drive and I think that you'll see the performance that you are looking for; plus the 500GB of additional storage. On the other hand a RAID set up would be just as quick, if not quicker. But like you said, if your backup habits are good, it may be the more affordable option.