PCI Express SATA RAID Controllers For SMB Servers

Areca ARC-1210

Areca became widely known for its early support for double-redundancy RAID level 6 in the Serial ATA storage space. The ARC-1210 is Areca’s entry-level solution for x4 PCI Express, which once again supports RAID 5 and RAID 6.

The card uses an Intel IOP332 I/O processor for XOR operations, which provides good performance, but doesn’t allow this product to jump to the top of our benchmark results; AMCC offers better I/O performance, but at the same time, Areca offers the cheapest product with hardware RAID acceleration. If CPU load is an issue, this fact might be important for you. Also, Areca is the only product in this roundup that offers RAID 3.

The card comes with 256 MB DDR333 buffer memory and with four distinct Serial ATA connectors for SATA/150 or SATA/300 hard drives. Unfortunately, the direction of the connectors only allows installation of this low-profile card into compact 2U rackmount servers if the included SATA cables, bent by 90°, are used. Here we have to mention that top accessibility of storage ports may also be a maintenance advantage.

The Configuration interface is not beautiful, but it works really well. The Quick Configuration is useful if you want to use all drives in one array, which we believe should be the case in most scenarios. If you need any special configuration you have to use the normal interface. We suggest creating a RAID set first, followed by a volume set.

Array Creation

  • Eric The Red
    This is a very well put together article! It would be nice if there was a review with recent RAID cards while doing the same thing you did here.