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Areca ARC-1882i PCIe 3.0 RAID Controller Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | RAID/HBA in Storage | Posted: Aug 16, 2012 5:31 am
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Areca

Final Thoughts




Not long ago we sat down with LSI and talked about the new PCIe 3.0 dual core ROC controller and they laid out the groundwork for the next two years. PCIe 3.0 now and a follow up next year with SAS 12Gbps. With LSI chips in Areca controllers it's safe to say from a hardware side that Areca will follow the same strategy. PCI Express 3.0 delivers big performance when you can take advantage of it and right now that means sequential reads and writes. I think this is really going to benefit Areca and their product more than it does LSI because Areca tunes its products to deliver more performance at lower queue depths out of the box than LSI does. That is the reason why Areca is so popular with the enthusiast and power user market, their products fit really well with the needs of those two user types.


Areca also has a fantastic software layer that makes it easy for users to go in and tune performance for an application. You'll see this more in Paul's enterprise article since he works the configurations for different tests, lowering stripe size for database tests and increases stripe size for sequential performance like web server tests. In my power user type review, we left the stripe size at 64kb since it produces the best all around, general mixed workload numbers.


As far as the performance goes, if you're looking to increase your sequential performance, the PCIe 3.0 model is the way to go. The sequential performance boost is significant while reading and writing data. Breaking ATTO is a nice touch as well. If you are already using a PCIe 2.0 card and work with smaller file sizes and lots of random data, then there really isn't much of a reason to upgrade at this time. Next year when we see 12 Gbps drives to couple with PCIe 3.0 is when the random performance should take a leap forward.


At the time of writing, we didn't have pricing or availability, but we don't think the ARC-1882i Version 3 is going to be a big leap from the PCIe 2.0 version on the market now. I do expect there to be an increase at first, maybe around $100 or so, but that will quickly dissolve as the PCIe 2.0 inventory drops off. Areca products have always been really good value and usually cost less than similar products from LSI and Adaptec.


The Areca ARC-1882i Version 3 is an evolutionary step forward and not a revolutionary leap. Sequential performance gets a large increase, but random performance is stagnant with last year's model. When shopping, go ahead and pick up the new PCIe 3.0 model because extra bandwidth is always nice to have, even if your server is still based on PCIe 2.0 technology, eventually you'll upgrade that as well.



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