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Sata II or III? How to buy a controller?

I would like to retrofit my older HP pavilion with faster hard drives. I am a little confused by what I need. So:

1. I presume I need a new hard drive controller. The ones I have looked at on the net all seem to be some sort of RAID controllers. Will these devices support one or two hard drives NOT working in tandem?
2. What about my motherboard? It has built in sata I plugins. Apparently the new controller would use a pci slot. Will the motherboard take advantage of the speed increase of sata II or III with the controller going in a pci slot?
3. Any recommendations on a 2 port controller (low to mid range)?

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