I'm trying to figure out whether I need a hardware controller and if so, which one to get. I'm a little hesitant to trust the on-motherboard controller with RAID 5, especially with multiple operating systems involved. Maybe it would work okay - not really sure.
I'm suspecting that I need a controller, though. Someone mentioned that they had a good experience with this in another thread: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... That seems very cheap for this application, though. Additionally, would I need to upgrade to Western Digital RE drives for any type of controller card setup?
Please don't hesitate to ask for any clarifications. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go from here, even if that ends up being "use individual disks and forget about RAID".
A 4-drive array of these contains 8TB of recorded information. This means there's a very high likelihood of NOT being able to recover from a disk failure with RAID 5. That basically means, IMHO, that RAID-5 is useless with these drives. I'd suggest either looking for drives with a better reliability rating, or finding a controller that can do RAID-6 to avoid the single-point-of-failure problem with RAID-5.
I'm going to say straight away that you should use a hardware raid controller. Looks like that one is? I only know about Adaptec controllers. Definitely use RAID drives though. I use WD RE4's and recommend the same to you. And yeah, I think RAID 5 is overrated. I use RAID 10 and RAID 0 with weekly disk image backups.