Your project drive should be the first one to RAID. Second priority is the output drive. Of course a lot depends on the format of your media. DV ,HDV and AVCHD are all low bandwidth. Less than 25 M bits/second. If you get to multiple streams and or large image files then you might need Media on faster disk drives.
If I were you I would combine the two F3's to one media/project RAID and get a second F3R for the second output RAID.
When you say Media/Project, I know that Media means the actual camera files (in my case, the Canon 5D Mark II and T2I -- above 25mbps)... but what does Project refer to? Does this mean that I save the Premiere Pro project file (.pproj) onto that drive? Can you explain?
Ok, so it looks like two RAIDs is what I will do. Does the output drive require as much speed as the media drive?
which of these drives (and corresponding drive responsibilities) do I want to turn into a RAID 0?
None. RAID 0 offers no data protection. If either drive fails, you lose all data on both drives.
Your media drive will be the most read from, it should be the fastest. If you want a RAID, I personally recommend RAID 3 using an Areca controller.
I don't have the money for a nice Areca card (the most I'd be able to spend would be $200-$300 anyway).
I make backup copies of all my media files, so I think a RAID 0 of my Media Drive would be ok...
And a RAID 0 of my export drive would be good too, as long as I retain the project files with which to re-export.
Yeah, I see your point. (Just don't forget those media backups. I prefer the RAID 3 so I don't have to think about it. Data protection is built-in.)
By the way, you can get a RAID 3 controller at Newegg for about $330, not too far outside your budget.
I am planning a similar approach for my drive configuration.:
planning a four drive system
600GB velociraptor for OS and programs
two 2 TB WD blacks running as RAID 0 to have Media, Projects, Previews and Exports
and a fourth drive for Pagefiles and Media Cache - now here's my question will like a small 60 - 80 GB SSD work for this and do i need a speedy drive especially when i got 24 gigs of 1600Mhz RAM or a regular 7200RPM 500GB SATA drive do?
and ofcourse a regular external backup for the RAID setup.