Yes, i am sure i have been reading that you can lock and play with the chip On or Off.
Locking the HD only means that it is locked to your XBox. The HD wont work in another XBox.
If something were to happen to your XBox's main board, the key to your locked HD will be lost (unless you backed the eeprom up). Once the key is lost the data cannot be retreived from the HD.
I think thats right...