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Rating: 5/5Best RAID6 controller card on the market.
This review is from: areca ARC-1882ix-24-2G PCI-Express 3.0 x8 SATA / SAS 28-Port 6Gb/s RAID Adapter
Pros: Controls up to 28 hard drives if you buy a cable for the external port. RAID6 is an absolute must these days.
Cons: Pricey, but then again, it's a niche market, not a mass market, so I guess cards like this will always be expensive.
Other Thoughts: This is my 3rd Areca card and I'm well pleased. I bought the first one (with 4GB on-board cache) almost 5 years ago, and it's given me such great service (still running in the original file-server computer) that I recently bought two more, although they were out of stock on the model with 4GB cache, so the new ones have just 2GB cache. As far as I can tell, this hasn't caused any slow-downs on data transfers.
I put the 2nd controller in an empty slot on the original file server, and the computer recognized the 2nd controller with no conflict. I added sixteen 4TB HGST NAS drives to the new controller and set it up as RAID6. Then, a few weeks later I built a second RAID6 array using twelve 6TB HGST NAS drives. Soon I will put the 3rd controller card into a 2nd file server that I will build. At that time I'll probably transfer the twelve 6TB HGST drives to the new machine and use it strictly as a backup to the files on the first machine. That way I'll still have empty slots for more drives on the 2nd and 3rd controller cards for that inevitable time when I have to add more storage.
The cards are expensive, and can take a bit of time to learn how to use all the functions - like the fact that a single array can be divided up into multiple volumes, which is probably important to commercial users, but I just use each array as a single huge volume for my media files.
I see that Areca has recently introduced a new version of these cards with a different type of cable connector for the hard drives. There's probably a good reason why they changed the connector, but I decided to stick with this older model since I'm already familiar with it and have had good service.
I recommend these cards to anyone who has outgrown 4 or 8-drive NAS boxes. And IMHO RAID6 is a must. RAID5 just doesn't give enough redundancy. The chance of a second drive failure occurring while rebuilding a data set increases with the amount of time it takes to rebuild an array. I started out 5 years ago with sixteen 1.5TB drives, and within a year added a dozen 3TB drives (28 drives on a single controller card, yay!). Now the new controllers are using 4TB and 6TB drives, and let me tell you, initializing an array or rebuilding an array after replacing a failed drive takes a LOT longer with these new larger drives. I hate to think how long it would take to rebuild an array using 8TB or 10TB drives. In any case, I feel a lot more confident now that I finally have all my files backed up to additional arrays. Remember that FAULT TOLERANCE (RAID 1, 5, or 6) is NOT the same as a BACKUP! Fault Tolerance is an absolute necessity to protect your data, because you can never tell when a drive will fail. But Fault Tolerance does not negate the need for a complete Backup.
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