** This issue is addressed in ArcGIS 9.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2) **
Unchecking the Build Pyramids option in the geodatabase raster environment settings continues to build pyramids regardless of the settings.
This also affects the loading of raster data into ArcSDE.
This is a known issue.
** This issue is addressed in ArcGIS 9.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Click on the link in Related Information below and download Service Pack 2, if necessary. **
If ArcGIS 9.0 Service Pack 2 is unvailable, check the Build Pyramids option on and specify 0 in the number of levels to build.