Imagine this:

You've been cruising along with your PC system for the last year or so with no major hiccups to speak of. And during that time you accumulate quite a collection of data. Shoot, well over a hundred gigabytes of data.

You've Got:

MEDIA
Your entire CD collection in MP3 format neatly laid out in a directory hierarchy just like you like. Countless video clips that you have been collecting from the internet. All those home videos and pictures you have been shooting with that shinny digital camera you paid 400 dollars for.

PROGRAMS
Everything from XP Office, to Math Cad, Fire Fox, Instant Messaging programs, half a dozen video games, and countless other little programs that you use. And what about the stuff you can't even think of off the top of your head at the moment. You could spend a few hours probably writing down all the stuff that is on your computer. Oh, and lets not forget the settings for all those countless programs that you had to configure so that it worked just to your liking.

* Now for some reason *hiccup*.........Hmmmmm....
* My system is not working that well .
* Lets reboot, that will fix it
* Right after the nifty windows logo you get the infamous Blue Screen of Death (Its much prettier than the days of Windows 98, It has thin white writing with a dark blue...almost purple background)
* Hmmm...reboot again....again......and again.......
* 1 and 1/2 year old Hard drive has failed, you're hosed.

This has happened to me 4 or 5 times in the last 3 years, and as I type this message right now from a newly installed OS, on a spare 20 gig hard drive I had lying around just so i could use the internet, I'm telling you, I don't want this to happen again.......ever again.....so long as i live.

I figured RAID was the answer to my huge problem. Hard drives are cheap, and hell, raid controllers are even cheaper (Notice i used the words cheap, and not inexpensive).

So right after the 2nd or 3rd time this happend to me I bought two 160 GB Maxtor Hard drives and a SYBA RAID controller card. The controller card <a href="http://www.syba.com/product/43/02/01/2/index.html">*link*</a> was very cheap. Only 15 bucks from www.newegg.com!. The price was justified when i received product. It was apparent from reading that manual that whoever wrote it had slept through most of their English as a Second Language course . I was OK with that though as long as the product worked. The windows side application for the card was horribly cryptic. It looked like a program that they used for internal testing that they decided to just go ahead and release with their product (it was really really really bad).

But for the first month or so it looked like the card was working. Then all of a sudden it started dropping one of the hard drives out of the RAID mirror set. This i had to find out by manually polling the stupid little windows application every day . But I was happy, because it means that the hard drive could have failed, and I had successfully protected my self from reinstall doom. But it could not re-sync the other hard drive. I accessed the dropped hard drive from another machine and it seemed to work. So i began questioning the correctness of the controller card. So what I wanted to do was to remove that card and get a different one. What I've found out next just pissed me off at that point. I tried to boot from the good drive on my mother boards IDE controller and it was a no go . The card had apparently placed its own special boot code at the head of the drive so drives (even 2 mirrored drives) can not be booted from standard IDE controllers. So what the hell are you supposed to do if the RAID controller goes out???? UGGHHH.

If anyone here has some suggestions that can help me out here that would be wonderful. Right now, what I think I want is a RAID controller that I can move a mirrored drive from a RAID set to a regular IDE connection and still boot from it. If anyone knows of a card that for sure does this or has a way better solution, please help me out. Thanks.