13 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2012 10:33 AM by JEShort01

    Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions

    Steve H. Allen

      I am considering the Areca ARC-1882i for my new build.  I have been a fan of Western Digital drives for years. I was going to buy a bunch of the 1.5GB Caviar Black SATA III 64mb cache HDDs. Then I read something disturbing on the spec sheet. See snapshot below... It seems RAID is supported on the Caviar Black drives, but not with HBAs and expanders. So I think that means I can't use these drives with the ARC-1882i

      http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/693/wdcavblkspec.png

      source: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-701284.pdf

       

      I will probably start off with 6 HDDs in two RAID 0 configerations, but I'd like to have the option to go with RAID 5 in the future as I can afford more HDDs. I want speed. I don't necessarily need lots of space. I'm now considering the 600GB Velociraptors, but I'd like some advice from you guys before I buy.

       

      Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

        • 1. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
          wonderspark Level 1

          I have eight WD2003FYYS drives, which are the 2TB RE-4 drives from Western Digital. I bought them prior to the floods for $204 each, though I've seen them last week somewhere for about $250. The specs indicate sustained data rate of 138MB/sec, and in my disk test, all eight of them in RAID 0 stripe ran at 1101MB/sec read and write, which if you divide by 8 = 137.6MB/sec. This is using my Areca 1880ix-12, which is the previous model of the 1882 of course.

           

          I run the eight disks in RAID6 now, which gets sustained throughput of 816MB/sec write, 714MB/sec read. All these tests are with the file cache disabled, of course. I was running seven of them in RAID3 with one as a hot spare, and got slightly slower speeds, but then decided I wanted the two parity drive protection of RAID6, and was pleasantly surprised how fast it runs, even while rebuilding a failed drive when I pulled one from the array for more tests. (I could still edit unrendered H.264 DSLR 1080p footage without any problems.)

           

          As I understand it, the Caviar Black version is not advised in a hardware RAID. I've heard the older ones used to be ok, but then WD changed the TLER settings such that they don't work anymore. Hope that helps!

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
            JEShort01 Level 4

            Steve,

             

            My recommendation would be to go with RE drives for your situation. They will generally work OK for RAID 0 service, and they are better for the task of parity RAID (ie RAID 5) when your plans evolove there.

             

            And, now for some "fine print" regarding WD's Black design (for single drive and RAID 0 arrays) and RE Enterprise RAID design:

             

            RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks and the intent is to maintain an array where a drive, or 2 drives in the case of RAID 6, could fail and NO data would be lost. Enter RAID 0; some people even call it non-RAID or AID 0 (missing the R), because there is nothing redundant about it. RAID 0 is all about speed, and if any drive fails, all is lost. WD, and their competitors, typically manufacture and market separate drive designs intended to serve single drive and full RAID (Enterprise) duty. And, the best fit for RAID 0 use is actually the single drive design, NOT the Enterprise RAID design.

             

            In WD's case I understand the differences of Enterprise RAID (RE) vs. single drives (Black) to include:

            1) RAID drives are said to use hand picked platters with less defects, and may also receive better overall QA and testing during manufacture

            2) Firmware is generally tweaked slightly to perform better for typical RAID needs (note that "typical RAID needs" means handling lots of simultaneous reads and writes, which is not actually what we need for video editing - no need to worry though, RAID drives work fine for video)

            3) RAID drives are said to have better bearings, and designs that are less bothered by neigboring drives in a long hot-swap bank where heads are all seeking at the same time and in the same direction

            4) Finally, TLER stands for Time Limit Error Recovery; it means that the drive will limit how long it will try to recover an error. The purpose is to have a drive "fail" and drop off of the RAID quickly (default is set to 7 seconds), so that the performance of the RAID will continue to serve its users instead of hunting, seeking, and trying to recover of what was "lost" on just one drive; at this point a spare or hot-spare drive is brought in to replace the "dropped" drive and the array auto-rebuilds with the replacement.

             

            For desktop users the needs are quite different, and it is more desireable for a failing drive to continue to work and NOT ever drop out. In practice, I had a failing laptop drive that never lost any data, but just before I replaced it just opening a small file could take as long as 30 seconds while the drive used it's built-in ECC (error correction) to get the job done.

             

            Regards,

             

            Jim

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
              Steve H. Allen Level 1

              Thanks wonderspark and Jim for the help. 

               

              The price of HDDs is killing me!!! I really don't think you can touch a WD2003FYYS for less than $400 right now. Actually $450 is more like it.  Any website that has them listed for ~$250 is out of stock. I read an article that predicts HDD cost will not go down until next year. My guess is those retailers selling this drive for around $250 will not have any in stock until next year or whenever the cost normalizes. I just can't afford to spend $3300 for 6 HDDs and an Areca card right now. I could go smaller. The 1TB WD1003FBYX sells for just over $200. 

               

              Based on the above information you guys offered, I'm wondering if I could stick with my original plan of using the WD Black drives. Here's why... There is a good chance I might just stick with RAID 0 indefinitely. I really don't need the redundancy for what I am doing.  Worst case scenario is that I would lose one day worth of work if a drive goes bad. I can live with that risk since I am an enthusiast and this is my hobby. I use single external drives for archival purposes. If I understand Jim correctly, TLER is not desired in a RAID 0.  Correct?  The information I provided in my first post from the WD Black spec sheet can be interpreted 2 ways.  1. The Caviar Black drives can NOT be used with HBAs or expanders. Or, 2. The Caviar Black drives are fine as long as they are used in RAID 0/1. They can not be used on HBAs or expanders when used in "Business critical RAID applications"... which require TLER.  So an HBA or expander will work if used in non-business critical RAID applications such as RAID 0 that do not require TLER.

               

              I just hate to spend so much money on the RE4 drives when these Black drives are MUCH cheaper and probably a little faster. The way I see it.  When HDD prices come down I could use these Black drive for archival and purchase enterprise drives for RAID 5 if I really decide I need the extra reliability.

               

              Your thoughts? Do you think the Black drives will work as they should in the Areca controller in RAID 0?  I suppose I could find a place with a good return policy and give them a try.

              • 4. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Did you look at the Hitachi 7K3000 series. They are on the approved list of drives for the Areca and not that expensive as the RE4.

                • 5. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                  Steve H. Allen Level 1

                  That might be a good alternative.  Perhaps I am looking at the wrong "approved list".  I'm loking at this one: (.zip file) http://www.areca.us//support/download/RaidCards/Documents/Hardware/HDDCompatibilityList.zi p

                   

                  I do not see any mention of the 7K3000 series or their model numbers such as "OF12155" for the 2TB 7K3000 drive.

                  • 6. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                    Steve H. Allen Level 1

                    Not being as familiar with HItachi, I was looking for the "Deskstar" 7K3000 series and it is not on the Areca list. I see now that the "Ultrastar" 7K3000 series is on that list.

                     

                    It's availability seems to be limited. Similar to the Western Digital drives, if the retailer has it listed for a decent price then it's out of stock. Those who have it in stock offer it for around $300 from reputable dealers such as bhphotovideo.com A little better than the RE4 drives but still almost twice the cost of a Black drive.

                     

                    Harm, have you heard of anyone using the black drives strictly in RAID 0 on an Areca controller?

                    • 7. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                      JEShort01 Level 4

                      Steve,

                       

                      Wow, I just checked Newegg's enterprise drive pricing and they are WAY expensive now.

                       

                      So, based on that now, I can personally vouch for Hitachi 7k3000 drives (Deskstar not Ultrastar) working great w/ Areca controller cards in both RAID 0 and RAID 5 configuration. No, Areca does not approve non-enterprise drives for their controllers from any manfacturer, but I did some checking on the internet and there are users with 24 and 48 drive servers running Hitachi 3K7000 drives (1, 2 and 3TB) in RAID service on Areca controllers very successfully so I'm pretty secure with this choice. I also have some 7K1000.C drives that have worked for many months in RAID 5 on one of my Areca controllers as well.

                       

                      Cheers,

                       

                      Jim

                      • 8. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                        Steve H. Allen Level 1

                        JEShort01 wrote:

                         

                        Steve,

                         

                        Wow, I just checked Newegg's enterprise drive pricing and they are WAY expensive now. 

                         

                        Yeah, tell me about it.  I think prices have roughly doubled since last year.  Even those Caviar Black drives that look cheap to me right now were going for around $75/2TB on sale last year.

                         

                        JEShort01 wrote:

                         

                        So, based on that now, I can personally vouch for Hitachi 7k3000 drives (Deskstar not Ultrastar) working great w/ Areca controller cards in both RAID 0 and RAID 5 configuration. No, Areca does not approve non-enterprise drives for their controllers from any manfacturer, but I did some checking on the internet and there are users with 24 and 48 drive servers running Hitachi 3K7000 drives (1, 2 and 3TB) in RAID service on Areca controllers very successfully so I'm pretty secure with this choice. I also have some 7K1000.C drives that have worked for many months in RAID 5 on one of my Areca controllers as well.

                         

                        Cheers,

                         

                        Jim

                         

                        I'll probably go with the Hitachi 7k3000 Deskstars then. Thanks for the tip!!!

                        • 9. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                          Steve H. Allen Level 1

                          I do have a couple more questions.

                           

                          1. When using the Areca 1882i, do I want to disable the cache on each HDD? I'm assuming the 1GB of Areca on-board RAM will become the new cache, correct?

                          2. Do I need to disable TLER on the HDDs if using RAID-0?

                          3. Are the above accomplished in the Areca BIOS? If not, how?

                          4. I will use Harms helpful guide to enable >2TB drives. A helpful tip I stumbled upon! Any other special settings I need to be aware of to get the most out of my Areca and RAID configiurations?

                           

                          Thanks!

                          • 10. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                            JEShort01 Level 4

                            1. No, No, both cache's are "used"

                            2. Don't worry about this unless you have Enterprise drives

                            3. No, although in Areca's newer cards and firmware versions you can see the setting (in seconds or "none")

                            4. Good, use Harm's guide; regarding anything else, if doing parity RAID set foreground processing on and select 80% for background processing - this will speed up building a parity RAID (n/a if doing RAID 0 now)

                             

                            Regards,

                             

                            Jim

                            • 11. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                              Steve H. Allen Level 1

                              JEShort01 wrote:

                               

                              1. No, No, both cache's are "used"

                              2. Don't worry about this unless you have Enterprise drives

                              3. No, although in Areca's newer cards and firmware versions you can see the setting (in seconds or "none")

                              4. Good, use Harm's guide; regarding anything else, if doing parity RAID set foreground processing on and select 80% for background processing - this will speed up building a parity RAID (n/a if doing RAID 0 now)

                               

                              Regards,

                               

                              Jim

                              If I do use enterprise HDDs, do I need to use some sort of utility to disable TLER in RAID 0 ?

                               

                               

                              Thanks!

                              • 12. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                                Steve H. Allen Level 1

                                And I think my final question...

                                 

                                Do I need the Areca Battery Backup Unit (BBU) if my entire computer is plugged into a UPS Battery Backup?  Seems like overkill/unneccesary expense if I am using a UPS but perhaps I'm missing some other function of the BBU.

                                • 13. Re: Areca ARC-1882i & SATA drive suggestions
                                  JEShort01 Level 4

                                  Regarding disabling TLER in RAID 0, I don't bother, but as I posted in detail above, defeating it for this case would be optimum. I do have WD's TLER utility (DOS app.) that can do this for WD drives, but I am not aware if the other vendors have anything similar to adjust the settings for "timeout" for their Enterprise drives.

                                   

                                  Regarding BBUs, I do use them. I don't know if Areca forces any particular performance function "off" in the absence of a BBU, so you may want to look into that.

                                   

                                  Jim