I want to use raid 1 to be able to have a hard drive take over when one fails. I thought that raid 1 mirroring would be a good solution. I do have a backup system; I use Acronis to save an image every night to an external hard drive and SyncbackSE to backup my backup to another external drive. Give me you honest opinion of what you think of raid1 and how you back up. I see lots of computers every week that people say I wish I would have saved my pictures , now it is to late or too costly. Thanks Picky
You already have a good back-up system going (which is more than most people do because they don't even have any form of backup whatsoever), cloning to an external drive is far better than using a RAID setup for the simple fact that if (touch wood) your computer is stolen, you still have the data in your possession which you won't have in a RAID setup.
The other potential of course is a failure of the RAID controller on the board at some point in the future. You can pretty much guarantee you'll never get the same board again and you cannot guarantee that a new board has the same RAID controller vendor or revision. When it comes to setting RAID up on a new system it'll pretty much ignore what's already there and wipe it anyway.
Realistically by the time you've mucked around setting RAID up again after replacing the one drive that's failed, it's often just as quick to replace the stand-alone drive that's failed (in a non-RAID setup) and image your backup back to that. Hard drives on their own are generally reliable, most now come with three or more year manufacturer warranty anyway so if it fails in that period of time, send it back. The average stated lifespan of a hard drive is 50k hours which, if in use 24/7, is 5.7 years, though of course you'll probably find it won't last 5.7 years, it may last longer, it may be dead out of the box.
For home use RAID is overkill and cost wise, too expensive. Business wise and for servers it has enormous benefits for companies who need the server working every hour of the working day, but for home use, you don't need it. Your external drive (which itself is backed up) is more then sufficient for what you need.