Originally Posted by Razultull
No not necessarily, i noticed you did not mention a RAID card so i assumed that you would be using on board. With an on board, what happens is that the amount of computing power is determined by the CPU RAID controller and minimized. This results in meta data on all drives but minimal parity information on two and most of it on one drive to optimize the CPU overhead.
To harness the full power of RAID 5 you need a controller so you don't have CPU overhead, and so your onboard controller doesnt limit the computation.
Generally i would not recommend RAID 5 with an onboard controller, but since this is for personal use i guess it will have to do.
Source of information: I work at the matrix technology lab at my University.
You need to do some more research at your university. With RAID5 all the parity is distributed among all the drives equally. Keeping it on on 1 drive would be RAID3, as previously indicated. There is no difference between the way RAID parity data is stored between hardware and software controllers (although the format, metadata etc may change).
OP - if you run on the internal controller there are a few things you should do to maximise performance. Make sure your partition is properly aligned on the drives, or your performance will be dire. Generally fakeRAID controllers are crap at partial writes, so you need to force them to always do full stripe writes. The easiest way to do this with a 3 drive RAID5 (ie 2 active drives) is to use a 64K block size and a 32K stripe. This will likely drop your max sequential reads somewhat, but will up your write performance. You'll need to test your own setup for best performance though. You also want to run with write back caching - but to do so you really want to be running on a UPS.