Ok, so it's been awhile since I really cared to try doing anything like this as it's easy enough for me to just reinstall everything, but does anyone have experience using images of a windows install?

I know Norton used to do ghostimage and the like, and Acronis (I think offers a product that does this) but looking for some advice/answers.

Ok, so I have 2 SSD's in a raid array (raid0) so here's typically how my formatting process goes:

swap the BIOS to AHCI
boot into win32 recovery so I can run my sanitaryerase on both drives
swap the BIOS to raid
enter raid utility and make the raid with 64kb (seems to be the "best" for what I do with my machine)
install windows
re-install essential programs

Now, I'd still do steps 1-4 even with using an image but I'm confused how imaging works. Does it literally take a 1:1 image and say "heres your 250gb image, from your 250gb hard drive" or does it literally take just the files/folders and copy them regardless of the size of the drive you are placing the image on?

I'm actually curious if outside of saving me an 30-60 minutes every format, if it's even worth it.

Note: I know the whole SSD writes and formatting being "bad" (notice the quotes :P), I've had the drives for more than 3 years with monthly formats an no ill-effects yet.