You gotta want it real bad to go that route - Maybe 2% of folks could justify the trade-off. Not to mention it can't be done on the system/boot partition.
Correct, however the only thing it is "required" for is the conversion to Dynamic Disk, which is fairly pointless on a workstation/desktop.Unless you're going to run software raid-striping
Gotta have 3 hard drives. to gain anything that way.
Back in the Win2k days when DD was new and everything was IDE 3 HDDs and an optical drive meant sombody was getting downshifted to PIO mode (ok or slightly better UDMA33). Sure there were some SCSI workstations (Zoiks!), but you did mention cost as a factor...
So if you were already gonna need another IDE controller card, you might as well get one with RAID - I did back then and still have the card in an old server.
Sure now the SATA Mboards have 4/6/8 channels for hard drives...but they also come with onboard RAID. So no real purpose for DD there either. Remember the piont the discussion started on is what is the 8MB stub left on an NTFS drive for. It's done automatically (only) by Windows setup (3rd party programs never do that) to allow for the conversion to Dynamic Disk. Typically for the purpose of setting up a software mirror of the system/boot partition(s)
Cluster size with DD is a penalty of its own as a 2kb text file will become 6kb after the conversion. For those of us with lots of small text files (a.k.a. source code snippets) that sucks.
@ Carol - Me too back when, I just didn't do it the Windows native Dynamic Disk route (had a Paradise card as f0dder mentioned). Now I use the RAID5 option that's built into the Asus Commando Mboard I'm running.