Considering an 8x3tb raid 5 array

I'm tired of losing data with hard drive failures every other year and I've got some extra cash, so I'm considering setting up 8x3tb drives in raid 5 and could use some info.

The computer will be running at all times. I guess I'd call it a home file server, but nothing vitally important will be stored on the array. Read/write performance isn't really a priority, and my C drive will be separate from the array and will continue to back up daily to a NAS box.

The only other option I can think of is picking up a blu ray burner and stacks of blanks. This has it's advantages and disadvantages, but I already know what those are and I've got to figure out what a raid array's would be before I can make a decision.

Anyway, the questions!

Is there any reason I shouldn't just get the cheapest 3tb drives around? Seagate sells drives that are supposed to be for video recording and 24/7 operation, at around 50% more expensive than their standard drives. Would they likely be cost effective over the course of maybe 5 years?

Assuming I'm using all 21tb, roughly how long would it take to get the array up and running again after I've swapped out a defective drive?

What should I be looking for in a raid controller? Would I even need one if I had a good enough motherboard?

What sort of maintenance duties would i have to do?

What happens when one of the drives starts failing and losing data but still continues to operate? I've only ever had a drive literally grind to a halt once, all the other failures have been irritatingly gradual.

When I'm occasionally forced to power cycle the pc, would this be as horrible for the array as I think it would be? If so, I'll have to set it up in a separate dedicated box, which will make UPS shopping (the next item on my to do list) more difficult.

What sorts of situations can cause serious problems for the array, and what can be done to prevent or recover from them?

Finally, I really don't need anywhere near that much space right now, but since I'll be using the array for years and won't be able to expand it at any point, I don't feel like cheaping out. If there's a way to get the redundancy of raid 5 without being restricted to a fixed size I'd love to hear about it.

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  1. hard drivers failing every year? you must be pretty rough on your computers because i have never had a hard drive fail on any of my builds. and i have had almost every brand.

    people in here are wary of seagate drives so it might be recommended to stay away from them. western digital seems to be one of the good brands right now
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