Re: Hard Drives
Right now there are two types of drive available for home users. The Parallel ATA (IDE or PATA) and SATA. The choice of which drive to get depends on what your motherboard will support. Typically IDE drives are Ultra ATA 100, 7200rpm drives capable of 100MB/s transfer speeds. The latest SATA 3Gb/s drives are also 7200rpm drives capable of 300MB/s transfer speeds.
The difference between 7200rpm and 10000rpm is fairly substantial, but it's not absolutely necessary for high performance with todays current hardware. For most users interested in gaming, the SATA 3Gb/s drives provide plenty of performance.
What is RAID:
RAID, which stands for Redundant Array of Independent (or inexpensive, depending on who you ask) Disks, is a category of disk drives which utilizes two or more hard drives in order to ensure that data is stored safely.
There are several different levels of RAID, each which have their own specific method of protecting the data stored on each hard drive. Some of the most commonly used are:
RAID 0: This type features data stripping, which spreads parts of a file across multiple drives. This is used to increase performance, but if one drive fails, the data in the array is lost.
RAID 1: This type is used for data mirroring, in which data is written to two drives simultaneously. This ensures that all data is duplicated on both drives, and if one drive fails, the other will still have a backup. This also helps in increasing performance.
RAID 4: This type is similar to RAID 0, with the exception that if there is a disk failure, the data from that drive can be recovered by a replacement disk that is created when a fault is found. However, the creation process of the replacement disk can cause problems, such as performance slow downs.
RAID 5: This is perhaps the most popular type of RAID array. This type features the stripping of RAID 0, as well as error correction, resulting in a combination of excellent performance and fault tolerance.