Originally Posted by ForceCalibur
Um, you can probably search up on Raid 0 and it's performance increases and stuff, and you'll get some more answers on that.
However, I can tell you that getting a faster hardrive is SO worth it. Most people clamor over their CPUs, but fail to realize that performance bottleneck is LARGELY Hardrive at this point. I would ofcourse, tell you get one 7200rpm HD, as Raid on a laptop, is just not worth it IMO.
Maybe I'm speaking with some bias here, but how can you say hard drive speeds are important and ask why raid 0 is worth it in the same post?
Relatively speaking, the hard disk is the slowest essential component in a PC, whether that makes it a bottleneck or not depends on what you're doing.
Access times (improved by rpm, but not raid), IMO tend to be seen most in short bursts of hard disk activity, like browsing to a start menu folder, working with masses of small, fragmented files, etc. While the hard drive is the weakest link here, I wouldnt call it bottlenecking because access times are almost immediate as seen by a human anyway. To put it into context, your hard drive can access information (seek time ~10ms) before the screen is redrawn (~16ms at 60Hz, that's not taking into account LCD response times) so you'll only see the effect doing many accesses in quick succession and even then it will be small.
Raid 0, and to a lesser extent rpm, have a significant impact on transfer speeds, which effects much more the things you really do see, primarily load times, file transfers and large file manipulation/generation (video editing). Here I think the hard drive really can be considered a true bottleneck because it's speed (or lack of) can really be felt.
Raid 0 isnt necessary to anyone, but neither is dual channel ram, a P4 or a 9700. They're enhancements and part of an ongoing technological evolution. Raid will improve the speed of enough operations on your system to make it worth the cost (of absolutely nothing btw, especially if you're already going with two drives for the storage). There's no infatuation here, just people wanting better performance at a low price.
To answer the original question, raid will compensate and more for a lower rpm compared to a single 7200 drive in transfer speeds, but will still be slower in access times. For general use (browsing, gaming, some office) I'd say you'd see the benefit of raid more than a single 7200 and you'd obviously have the bonus of storage space.
Of course, if the choice is between 2x60gb 7200s in raid and 2x80gb 5400s in raid then your question is more about storage vs speed then raid vs rpm. That's something more personal to you and how much space and speed you need. I will say, having 2x60gb 5400s in raid myself, that nothing feels slower than my desktop using single 7200s. If I was making the same choice as you I'd go with the dual 80gbs.