Although more will follow, here’s a quick glimpse of what a cheap, but quality hardware raid solution can do with cheap, and large SATA drives in Raid 5. Keep in mind that the Perc 5/i uses the old IOP333 CPU clocked at 500MHz. Many current 3 series Adaptec products, for example, utilize the IOP333 at 800MHz. Also, one should note that there are reports that the IOP348 has some issues with SATA drives making the below representative of very inexpensive ($1000) raid arrays with huge capacities.
Core i7 920 (stock clocks/ watercooled)
12GB Patriot DDR3 1600
EVGA GTX285 1GB SLI
Corsair 1kw power supply
Dell Perc 5/i 512MB with Battery Back-up installed
Vista Ultimate x64
This is a significant improvement to onboard integrated Raid on consumer level motherboards, and the cards sell for about $120 on ebay, with battery back up units.
These drives are now on an Adaptec 31605 in a WHS box. More information to follow.