18 Replies Latest reply on Apr 26, 2011 5:52 PM by mikeklar

    Suggestions for a RAID card

    mikeklar Level 1

      Header 1

      Presently I have an Adaptec RAID 3405 card, it is about five years old and out of two of every three boot-ups it negotiates one of the drives at half speed, i.e. 1.5Gps.  To alleviate the problem I made that one HD a "hot spare".   Having replaced the cable to no avail it may be time to get a new card. 

      What I would like to do is get a RAID card which allows five internal hard drives (2TB each) and for future expansion also an external SAS/.... connector. 

      Presently, there are three external drive sets connected via eSATA and Sil3132 SATALink Controller.  The latter are configured through external boxes as RAID 5 and RAID0 respectively, as well there is a single HD through the eSATA port.

      The system is of recent build with an i7 950 and 24GB of RAM.  The "C" drive (system) is Raptor 10K RPM WD, the" D" drive is a 1.5TB 7200 RPM, the "G" drive is consists of four HDs Seagate 2TB 7200 RPM, drive"I" is a Kingston SSD 128GB which is used for caching.  Plus the external drive combinations mentioned above. 

      In addition to changing/upgrading the RAID card I would like to get a late model SSD drive to replace my existing "C" drive and use the latter to replace the existing drive "D". 

      Looking forward to your suggestions.




        • 1. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
          Harm Millaard Level 7



          If you need a new raid controller, there are several considerations.


          1. Number of ports on the card. With 5 disks, you need an 8-port card, because controllers have either 4, 8, 12, 16 or 24 ports.

          2. The raid levels supported. If you want raid3 or raid30, your only choice is Areca, if you want raid5/6/50/60 you have more choices.

          3. The amount of cache memory on the controller. The more the better and Areca is the only one to offer up to 4 GB cache on the 12+ port versions. All 8 port versions offer only 512 MB cache.


          IMO there are two brands to look at, LSI and Areca. LSI is more affordable, but does not offer raid3/30 and has no expandable cache. Areca is the Rolls Royce under raid controllers, but is pretty expensive. It offers all the normal raid levels, but adds raid3/30 and has expandable cache on the 12+ port versions. The price difference between the 8 port version and the 12+ port versions is pretty small, so I would suggest at least a 12 port version.


          The Areca ARC-1880iX-12+ is my favorite with either 2 or 4 GB cache. It offers both SAS 8088 and SAS 8087 connections for internal and external disk setups.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
            JCschild Level 3

            and i would say that the Intel card is the bettter option. unless for some odd reason you think you need raid 3.




            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
              mikeklar Level 1


              Thank you for pointing out which type of card to get for 5 drives, I was wondering about that.

              Based on your comments which card (i.e. model) would you recommend?



              • 4. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                mikeklar Level 1


                I appreciate your recommendation.  Could you provide me with a model number you would chose?


                A question to both you and Harm -

                I have this thing not to fill my drives to more than 60%, with the exception of backup drives. Is this a reasonable approach or am I overly conservative?



                • 5. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  The Intel Scott refers to is actually a LSI card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117214 with only 8 ports and only 256 MB cache.


                  The Areca I'm referring to is: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151092


                  Different price tag, different performance, different cache. 256 MB versus 4 GB. 12 ports.


                  This 8 port LSI is much closer to the Areca, but with only 1 GB cache: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816118161


                  60% fill rate is pretty conservative. You will not notice the same performance degradation as with single disks.


                  HD Tach E.png

                  • 6. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                    JCschild Level 3

                    HI Mike,


                    We recommend not to fill drives past 65% as performance quickly degrades at that point (SSDs aside)

                    I am sure Harm will agree.


                    Intel Raid RS2BL080

                    Then there is this one which is newer RS25DB080 but now you are getting up there in price of the Areca.

                    Best management software of all of them.


                    Atto is the only other we like.

                    Nothing wrong with Areca either.


                    In fairness I have not used an LSI in 2 + yrs. At one point they were my fav as performance was on par with others

                    Yet less expensive. We had some issues with them a while ago and stopped using them.. also support was easy to get ahold of and knowledgeable.

                    I really cant remember what the issue was with them..



                    • 8. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                      Only two drawbacks as far as I'm concerned: limited cache, only 512 MB and no SFF 8088 connections.

                      • 9. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card

                        What about using SSDs as scratch disks + a dump for misc. non important stuff? This would go along with a RAID0 config of 2xWD Velociraptors @10krpm.

                        • 10. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                          mikeklar Level 1


                          You are persuasive 



                          • 11. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                            JCschild Level 3

                            Hey Harm,

                            I know you think having 4gig ram vs 512 makes a big difference, for video editing type work it makes little to no difference.

                            For high I/O (iops transactions) found on database servers or for the not educated,  "Massive request for small amounts of data."

                            Far more so that a large files like video.


                            I would love to have you put back in the original ram that came with your Areca and run a render test (NOT PPBM)

                            Then add the 4 gig back in and do it again..  30 minute minimum length with effects, layers.

                            I could do it with the Areca I have here buts its Sata 2.


                            Yes SFF8088 i/o is nice to have but when we have clients who need it we then add a 2nd one with external only..

                            (2 separate raids)





                            • 12. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                              JCschild Level 3

                              Pretty much useless

                              We tried multiple configs with SSD


                              OS drive, temp file drive(pagefile) (useless regardless) and even as render drives.

                              • 13. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                                mikeklar Level 1


                                Interesting regarding your comment on SSD, I had bought one a Kingston 128GB entirely for pagefile and caching, which it is being used for presently.

                                Not having done any testing as to any possible speed improvement my gut feeling has always been that it doesn't do much in tha arena, but I got talked into it with the feeble hope I'm wrong and those who persauaded me are right.  Blind Faith

                                On that note, my initial comments to change the system drive to a SSD was based more on heat distribution, inasmuch there being one spinning drive that doesn't get enough cooling once the RAID configuration consists of five internal drives.

                                Perhaps it would be best to eliminate drive "D" and put all of those folders on a "Super RAID" drive and leave the system drive as is.

                                I would appreciate any thoughts on this you'd like to share?



                                • 14. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                                  JCschild Level 3

                                  Hey Mike,


                                  I had high hopes as well. We got in 5 matching ssds just for the testing

                                  At the time Mushkin's 256 gig drives were the fastest (despite the Crucial M300 getting so much rav reviews)

                                  We tried multiple configs and I was actually shocked that in raid 0 2 sets as media/export they were no faster (OS was SSD as well).

                                  On the other hand we tested with AVCHD to H264. Basically we didn’t have an HDD bottle neck with the same raid set up with standard Sata

                                  So it does make sense.

                                  We tried other configs as well including using one as pagefile etc. what we found is having a drive just for this is completely pointless despite what a few others may say.

                                  I had really expected it to help considering how large those files can be with adobe.


                                  Since you own the SSD might as well make it your OS drive however its not large enough for an OS and Pagefile which now creates another issue

                                  Minimum I recommend for an OS is 180G



                                  • 15. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                                    mikeklar Level 1


                                    Thank you for your comments.

                                    Rather than put funds towards a larger SSD I may simply remove my drive "D" and assign that volume designation to the existing SSD drive.  As long as it doesn't slow things down, it shouldn't right?



                                    • 16. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                                      mikeklar Level 1


                                      As noted previously you are persuasive and I'm seriously looking at the Areca ARC 1880IX-12.

                                      One question, I cannot find any reference to the cables that are included.  Can you enlighten me where this is denoted?

                                      Am I correct in assuming an additional cable set is required, or can the ones I have presently be used, i.e. are these universal?

                                      Sorry, that's two question



                                      • 17. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                                        wb_martin Level 1

                                        The Areca controller comes with several internal Mini SAS 4i to 4x SATA cables.  You should be able to browse the appropriate User's manual at Areca's website and see the cabling configurations supplied with the card.


                                        Don't forget to add the cost of a battery backup module to the Areca controller card - it doesn't come with and it is reassuring to have.

                                        • 18. Re: Suggestions for a RAID card
                                          mikeklar Level 1

                                          It took me a while to find the manual and yes it is helpful, but leaves a lot to interpretation.

                                          Yes, I have added the battery backup module to the order.

                                          Thank you for responding.