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Well, I give up. I've tried Mandriva 2006 and Fedoro 4 and neither would boot after install.. Mandriva hung at with the last line saying GUMP and fedoro hung after spiting out 0101010100101.. so I am staying on XP =\
raid is set up with bios. the fc4 say it has raid, formated it, and partitioned it and installed fine.. the mandriva did not have a raid option like fedora, but saw the raid the fedora set up and used it
Try installing Linux on a PATA drive instead. Then copy it over to the RAID array after you have dmraid, raid, and controller modules in the ramdisk. dmraid will only work with RAID level 0 and 1. It does not work with software RAID level 5 which does take consider amount of processor resources with input and output transactions.
There is poor support for Silicon Image controllers. I am sorry to say, but use Silicon Image controllers at your own risk. I recommend Highpoint controllers such as model 1640. I do not suggest using any models above this because it may have the same problems that Silicon Image controllers have and many others.
After you get through all these problems, actually Linux is several times better than Windows XP.
Tinkster, Mandrake has support for both LILO and GRUB. By default Mandrake picks LILO. GRUB is easier to configure than LILO for novice Linux user.