I would like to buy a cheap S20 ThinkStation with a decent processor and then upgrade the hard drives, memory and graphics card myself.
(1) Would it be possible to install an SSD for the OS, then several hard drives in RAID 5 for storage? Is setting that up just a matter of configuring the BIOS correctly? Are the instructions on how to do that?
(2) If I'm doing this, will I lose the Win7 installation that comes with the machine? We have a site license for Windows, so I could just reinstall from that, but would that be a disadvantage (drivers, etc.)?
(3) There's no graphics card in this model. Can I just buy one of those and drop it in, or are there any issues there?
(1) Yes. Complete instructions for RAID setup can be found in the S20 User Guide.
(2) If you want to install your factory installation on the SSD then you can create recovery media in the Start > ThinkVantage folder. if you have other media and want to perform a clean installation then you can download TVSU to install any missing software or drivers.
(3) The S20 supports the graphics cards listed below. others might work but support for them isn't guaranteed.