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As the title states, will this RAID combo work, and if not what needs to be changed? Overall opinions would be most helpful.

I currently run a small file server of about 5TB or so. I keep outgrowing my needs and need to build a RAID setup that will allow me to expand as needed. I am new to RAID setups, especially one of the scale I have currently planned out, but I have being doing some research for the past couple of weeks and have come up with a build.

Ideally, I'd have the setup completely built, but I'd like to keep the total cost around $1k and can't afford to go above $1.5k, so unfortunately that's not an option. 2 of my current drives are WD Caviar Blacks 2TB; however, I have recently learned that due to the lack of TLER those drives are awful for any RAID setup other than 0 or 1. That being said, my third drive is a Seagate Barracuda 3TB (ST300DM001) and I have found a RAID controller that states it supports it, so I'd like to use this same type of drive, if possible. Have any of you had any experience using this drive or a similar one in a RAID5 configuration? The manufacturer states that it supports it, but knowing that it is not an enterprise drive, I am slightly concerned that it could drop out of the array. I would just go with enterprise drives, but those are about double in cost...

Parts list:

  1. Storage rack:
  2. 3 more HDs (for now..):
  3. Adaptec RAID 6405: here's a link to the compatibility sheet if that helps:
  4. SAS expander cable:

My plan is to install the RAID card in my computer and then route the SAS cable to the rack. Setup a RAID5 on 3 drives, transfer my data over from my other drive, and then add that drive to the array. Eventually, I'd like to get a 2U unit and run the file server on that and move the RAID card over to there, but that will have to happen later on.

Side note: The computer the card would be going into will be running Windows 7 Pro with 24GB of DDR3-1600 and an i7-930.

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Most drives can be read and join arrays in modern RAID controllers but your mileage may vary depending on the features of the drive. Anecdotal experience has shown that WD Caviar Greens are absolute garbage in a hardware-RAID array due to their varying spindle speed, causing the controller to drop them out when they otherwise have no sector or similar pre-fail issues. The same experience has shown WD Caviar Blacks to be great in terms of performance and reliability, and completely lacking in the premature-ejection that the Greens suffer from. For reference this is with 9xxx 3ware controllers and some newer LSI cards as well.

If you want to be absolutely certain you won't have issues, go with a RAID certified drive, but be prepared to pony up a hefty amount of cash per drive relative to their non-certified counterparts.

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