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All five candidates allow the user to create conventional RAID 1+0/0+1 or RAID 0 arrays, or RAID 5 based arrays for redundant data storage at high net storage capacities. Performance does not differ noticeable under regular office environments (file servers), but there are some obvious differences under specific workloads. Please check out our benchmark section for details.
In summary, HighPoint offers the fastest RAID 0+1 solution, but requires the controller card RocketRAID 2322 plus an external multi-lane SATA enclosure, which together exceeds $600. Areca and Promise both offer support for RAID 6, while Promise offers slightly better overall performance and Areca offers more comprehensive OS support. LSI Logic’s product pricing is a bit over the top, hitting $600 for the controller only. We have to point at the fact that both HighPoint and LSI Logic have the clear advantage of supporting eight drives, while the three other products handle a maximum of four.
Yet the port count should not be an issue, as upgrading is possible at all times: All five products support multiple controller cards, which means that their software solutions are capable of creating large RAID arrays across hard drives that are attached to different controller cards.
3ware’s 9650SE once again offers the most balanced entry-level storage solution for SMB servers and low-end workstation PCs by providing an efficient hardware design with sexy features and a great interface. Although it is slightly more expensive than the controller products by Areca, HighPoint or Promise, it is well worth the money and we recommend going after the AMCC/3Ware product at this time.