Installing Linux on new Dell pc with RAID configuration
I'm new to Linux; haven't yet gotten a distribution, but am considering RedHat prof WS. I just bought a new pc, a Dell Dimension 8400. I want to dual boot, to WinXP and Linux. Reading a bit about installation in Chuck Easttom's book "Moving from Windows to Linux", it seemed the best way would be to get 2 hard drives, one for Win, one for Linux. So I ordered 2 hard drives in my new pc. Then, when I set it up, a hard drive appeared to be missing: Windows would only recognize one. After some research/inquiry, I discovered that both hard drives are there, but new Dell pc's come with software called "RAID", which configures the hard drives in a particular way. There are 2 options: RAID level 0 or level 1. Apparently mine was configured, by Dell, to be level 1, which, among other things, makes it impossible for Windows to recognize the 2 hard drives: they are there, and will be used, but I can't see or access them independently. This is not what I want, and it annoys me that Dell configured it as they did, without asking what I wanted and explaining the options. I've spent hours and hours with Dell technical help, to no avail (so far): apparently RAID is new and the help desk people know little about it. And the Dell user's manual is no good on this: it contains a lot of stuff on how to set up RAID from the outset, or configure it when adding a new hard drive, but nothing on how to change a RAID configuration already set for two factory-installed hard drives. I sense, however, that to move from RAID 1 to 0 I'm going to have to trash everything on both drives, re-install Windows and all the applications. Thanks, Dell!
That is my problem with Dell. My question about Linux: I wanted 2 hard drives to make it easy to install Linux. But I wonder if it's going to be easy if the hard drives are under a RAID configuation. The literatuve I've read about installing Linux discusses creating partitions, etc. But can that be done when the hard drives are configured by RAID, at either level? Should I try to disable the RAID configuration altogether (the Dell help technicians didn't even know if that would be possible, or how to do it). If I simply follow the install instructions that will come with, say, RedHat prof WS, will they work, when the hard drives are under some RAID configuration, or will I need special guidance?
I'm very reluctant to try an installation -- or even buy RedHat -- until I understand whether or not RAID will interfere, and, if so, what to do about it.
Thanks, Ben Crain