I'm going to be building a new system soon and I'm willing to spend a few more dollars to improve my hard drive performance. This will be a general use system so I just want to see HD intensive tasks in general go faster whether it be booting, application loads, game loads, maybe video editing, whatever.
My initial thought was to just buy 2 WD Raptors, RAID-0 them together and then just get a regular 1TB+ 7200 SATA drive for storage. The raptors would be my OS drive and all my installs would go there. I could perform whatever work I feel like on the OS drive and then when done move it over to the storage drive. Thus, its not too big a deal if one of the raptors failed, I would just have to reinstall everything.
Thing is, in reading some reviews, not everyone is impressed or notices speed improvements. This gets me to look at other options and honestly there are so many that it seems almost impossible to know what the best is for a medium price range.
SSD's have crazy differences in speeds between manufacturers and models, in the hundreds of Mbps! They also scare me right now, various reports of weird behavior like application freezes and such. I think I've actually experienced this on my SSD Eee netbook, though I can't confirm its the SSD's fault. Maybe the more expensive models don't have this issue. SAS 15k drives are comparable to the raptor's in cost and have better performance but it looks like a decent controller card will run you 200-300 easy.
Honestly right now I'm considering just getting a couple 1-1.5TB standard 7200 drives and raid-0 them together. It would be a huge waste of space as I have no use for that much room for an OS drive but it actually seems like a decent idea as I can probably do that for under $200 and still get a performance boost. Would it be slower than a single raptor (price is about the same at this point), hard to know really unless someone does a side by side comparison. People have done reviews I know but they get outdated fast as speeds and cache sizes improve on a regular basis.
I guess a 100% certain answer to the best combination for your money is pretty much impossible as nearly every combination out there amongst various models and types would need to be evaluated. So I guess I really would just like to get some insight into what generally will be a performance boosting setup for a mid range price (200-500). Thanks.