Here is my personal experience with a HP Smart Array P410 RAID Controller:
I have a P410 controller bought off ebay. It came with 512MB of RAM, "Flash" backed, with "SuperCapacitor". I also found it came loaded with a "Feature License", which is called "Advanced Pack 01". This "Advanced Pack" license enables Raid 6 and 60, and other "Advanced Settings". Right now, I am not sure if this "Feature" is what get enabled when you add the RAM and Battery/SuperCapacitor to the card - I am thinking it is... please chime in, anybody, if you have some additional info.
I took a working 320GB SATA disk which I had loaded files onto, and plugged it into a port on the HP P410 controller. I then configured it with the HP "Smart Storage Administrator" (A Windows Utility) as a "Single Disk Raid 0" as others have commented.
So, after doing this, Windows immediately pops up the new drive. Lo and behold, my data is all there, nice!
You will notice, if you check the "Physical Device" info in Smart Storage Administrator there is an item in the list which reads: "Exposed To OS: No". Seems the P410 knows we want JBOD but refuses to give it to us! That's rather frustrating.....
Now, here's what I found. The Smart Array controller overwrites some data at the beginning of the disk and... if you try to take this drive out of the Smart Array and go back into a regular motherboard port, Windows Disk Management shows it as "Unallocated".
The solution to this..... Use the excellent "TestDisk" utility, you can select the physical disk, tell it you had an Intel partition, and after a quick search, it should find your missing information. You can use the "P: List Files" to se ethat those files are indeed there... Then you tell TestDisk to "Write" the info back to the disk, reboot the computer, and voila! Back to happy-land. So, there seems to be a way to get the job done here, you just have to be aware that the Smart Array (and many other controllers from what I've read) will over-write a bit of data on any disk you decide to set up as a RAID array of any sort. However, if you're careful and you don't initialize or erase, you can often get your drive back to working well by using a nice little tool such as "TestDisk".
Note: I have also had good success running a Raid 5 on the P410, Originally, I created it on a P400, then decided to swap it out for a P410. No going into the configuration menu or other intervention needed, the P410 recognized the Raid 5 array and immediately made it available, upon boot-up! I though that was quite nice. So, some more evidence that the HP Raid cards store all the array info on the drives themselves, not the card. Nice!
One other thing, I found no way to enable a true "Pass-Through" on this Smart Array. Leaving disks "Unconfigured" or otherwise not a member of an array prevented them from being shown to the O/S. The Smart Array will only play nice if you let it administer the raw disks. That having been said.... what I learned tells me the level of "interference" on the part of the Smart Array is minimal... to me it seems like not a big deal.
BTW I am screwing around with all this on a SuperMicro 745 Server/Workstation. The 743, 745, 747, and 748 are amazing chassis/systems! You can pick up a 743 or 745 fairly cheaply on ebay. And if you love MEGA storage, you can pick up an 846 (24 bays) cheaply on ebay (I got one).