However would it not be cheaper with possibly a more flexible setup using an Intel mobo using matrix RAID?
If we were buying parts from scratch for this project, I think you are correct, the on-motherboard RAID solution would be cheaper. More flexible? I don't know. I used SATA RAID 0 on an Asus high-end motherboard (with nVidia chipset) I had and it was not very flexible or forgiving. The BIOS-based software on the LSI Logic MegaRAID, throwback that it is, was way more flexible than the Asus SATA RAID. But, the motherboard solutions should get better. RAID solutions need the light of day shining on to them so that the designers hear the cheers and jeers.
Not to mention being able to make a more airflow friendly NAS box using SATA drives.
When there are only 4 hard drives, and the drives are low in the case, near the controller, and spaced every-other slot, I'm not too worried about the ATA cables increasing heat. Cooler master has a case (Coolermaster STC-T01 CM Stacker) that I've put 8 250 GB ATA drives in at once (all hanging off 1 MegaRAID card) and because the disks were 4 to a rack with space between them had a big 120 mm fan in front of them, they were always nice and cool. Those 120 mm fans are amazingly silent and effective.
The article makes the excellent point about using hardware RAID to give a "sane" RAID 5 repair procedure. I have not been able to find a review anywhere that tests out the performance of Matrix RAID 5. As well he only reviews I could find were using the older IHC6R southbridge. While I believe Matrix Raid relies on the CPU for processing you must be able to pick up a cheap small mobo to make a dedicated NAS box easily. Any chance of a review addressing these issues or lack of testing?
Thanks for this suggestion! I'll talk to Tim Higgins about this. I also realized this weekend that it might be worthwhile to try using Webmin's RAID setup (and investigate whether replacing a drive in a Webmin-managed array is SANE) for a test.