3 years ago I built my own Computer and decided to go with an RAID 5 Array (Software only). I thought since I have a Quad Core (Q6600) the performance would still be great.
Well not really. It bogs my Computer down quit a bit. So I know there is no EASY way to go back to No-Raid. I have 3 500GB drives in my Array. I would like to keep all my installed programs etc but basically redo my drives. I got plenty of additional HD's. I got another 500GB No-Raid in the Tower as well as a 2TB and a 640 GB External Drive. So How can I "Backup my System the way it is and rebuild it in NO-Raid ??
Here is my advice, and what I do. I would separate your boot drive from your archive/documents/media/work drive. Make your boot drive an SSD or Raid 0. Your boot drive can have all your work applications and games or whatnot. Back it up via a software image backup.
For your archive/working/media drive, through it into a Raid 1 or multiple raid ones. This way you have the safest type of redundancy for your data.
This is what I have going on at the moment:
WD Black 640GB boot drive (soon getting an SSD)
(2) WD Black 1TB Raid 1 - Current Projects/documents/music
(2) Hitachi Green 3TB Raid 1 - Archive of old projects
As far as backing up your items for the crossover, I would move all your documents/media to an external with a backup, and then make an image of your boot drive with all of your applications. Throw that on some drives as well.
And, yet another thought... Definitely keep your system drive and media separate, that will bog down your computer. I wouldn't worry about a Raid for the system drive, but using one drive and imaging it to another drive for backup. Then do what you were looking at with the RAID-0 for media and backup that daily. If you are able to, get a good, dedicated hardware RAID controller and do RAID-5 for media that way, but you will still want to backup daily. As others will point out, RAID-5 is not backup.
Good Luck! TC