Ok I am planning to move all of my data to mirrored setups or at least my c: drive.
I do occasional backups but not near regular enough in that if I lose my drive I would not lose much work.
Software raid is my choice, as I have looked at the downsides of fake raid and I wont be buying a 'proper' hardware raid card. Raid5 as I understand it is a no go on software processed raid so I have skipped over that as an option.
My options are.
1 - Buy a single SSD for the system drive, will be probably quite fast but no raid redundancy (buying 2 would just be silly money).
2 - Buy a 2nd hdd with same spec as my current C: drive, then convert it to a mirror setup, no need to reinstall windows etc.
3 - Buy 2 new drives, or even 4 new drives and make a big Raid 1 or Raid 10 setup, move current data of the C: drive to it and also use this for data as well. I plan to buy new drives for my data (possibly mirroring it also).
Now the crunch points are.
1 - my C: drive to me is also a data drive, I have stored windows tuning, config files, emails, documents etc. on it, as by default windows has its documents folder, romaing profile folder etc. all on C: and to move all that onto a data drive is probably some effort. Even with that done then things like registry settings are still on the C: drive. So to me this is still important for redundancy.
2 - my data drives contain backups, downloaded media, installed games and more. The downloaded media cannot be redownloaded if lost as a lot of it was of limited time availability. The games dirs also contain save games, patches, mods etc. so of course would be valuable if lost.
3 - SSD is a tempting option but the reality is I have enough ram that hdd crunching is not really a major issue, I boot up probably once a month, apps occasionally lag when loading (usually first time after boot) but then are cached in ram afterwards, loading outlook with my large pst has a fair bit of disk crunching but again thats a one off only when loading the app then it stays open until reboot. So whilst I would welcome more drive speed I dont think its a critical factor, the only app that would seem to benefit a lot is firefox as that seems to do a ton of slow i/o periodically with its saving of crash data etc. Currently the data partition of my C: drive feels laggy, however I have a feeling its due to the drive possibly been faulty or incompatible with NCQ rather than a generic hdd issue as I have other drives which have a slower spec not having the same issue. Also the system partition of the drive isnt laggy. Regardless of this the data on this data partition wouldnt be moved to the SSF anyway.
So ideally I would like any thoughts from experience of using software mirror or software raid10 in windows 7 (is raid 10 even possible?), ideally some benchmarks comparing software raid1 (or 10) to single drive performance as well, I found a great video clip but was for raid0. Raid0: Intel vs Gigabyte vs Windows Benchmark - YouTube