The basic idea behind striping is not particularly new and therefore it is no real surprise that Windows 2000 does not require a hardware RAID controller to setup RAID 0. You can do this just with software, and in fact, Windows 2000 supports not only single drives and drive spanning (setting up several drives to act as a single drive), but also striping. Sceptics may object that running drives in striping mode via software puts an extra load on the CPU. It certainly does, but today's processors should be able to handle this, and actually, the amount of processing power used by a software RAID solution is not much different than that used by a hardware RAID controller.
hardware based RAID will be transparent to the OS, that is, the logical drive will look like just one drive to the OS-- hehe that's why i my two 160gb registers as a 320gb harddrive--- there's other performance differences if you get a card too~
If this array will be your OS drive, get the RAID drivers copied to a floppy because you'll need them. You might also want to get out your mobo manual as RAID setups can be different from mobo to mobo.
Hook up both IDE drives as master on individual IDE cables so there is only one drive per cable. You may be able to get away with using one cable for both drives, but IMO seperate cables will perform better.
Go into BIOS enable the controller as RAID rather than simple IDE ports. You also want to add the array to the boot order if this array will eventually hold your OS. I have my boot order like this: floppy, CDROM, RAID, IDE.
Then, you have to get into the utility to set up the array. It'll either be in the main BIOS or in a seperate RAID BIOS. When you POST, you should get a message about which key to press to get into the RAID BIOS setup.
Once in the RAID setup screen, create your arrays. I'll assume you want performance, so you'll want RAID0 (striped) rather than RAID1 (mirrored). It should be fairly simple and there should be some type of help in that screen to tell you which keys to press for what. It'll also ask you what stripe size you want. 16k to 32k seems to be a decent compromise. You generally use smaller stripe sizes for general OS use. Use larger stripe size if this array will be used for larger files like video editing and such. If you just use the largest stripe size then no files smaller than the stripe size will be able to be striped across the drives (because the small file can fit into one chunk), so you'd lose the benefit of the array for many smaller files. If you set the stripe too small, all but the smallest files will be striped, but the larger ones (like videos) will be split so many times, it starts to be less efficient. That's why 16k or 32k will work fine.
Anyway, once that is done, you might also have to initialize the array in that screen. Again, there should be some type of help there.
Save those settings (if needed) and exit the RAID BIOS.
If you are installing Windows on this array, have your XP CD in the drive and boot from it (don't forget to enable the CDROM as a boot device in BIOS ). When Windows setup starts, it'll ask you to press F6 for any third party SCSI or RAID devices. Press F6 because you'll need to use that floppy you put the drivers on earlier. If you pressed it in time, setup will eventually ask you for the driver (it may take a minute or two to get to that point). If you didn't press it in time, the RAID array will not be an option to install Windows to. Follow the prompts. Once the driver is loaded, everything should install like normal but faster.
Oh, and in case your mobo happens to be a Gigabyte board and uses the ITE controller chip for RAID (as apposed to Promise or whatever) don't bother with all this. Performance may totally suck depending on the model of your mobo.
Hopefully I didn't leave anything out here. I'm sure someone will correct me if I did.
Ep, glad to see you come back and tidy up...did want to ask a one day favor, I want to enhance my resume , was hoping you could make me administrator for a day, if so, take me right off since I won't be here to do anything, and don't know the slightest about the board, but it would be nice putting "served administrator osnn", if can do, THANKS