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Desktops & Components

Best RAID Controller Card

While a lot of motherboards have some RAID controls built into them, if you're looking to set up a more complex RAID (or use a level not supported by your motherboard) then a controller card is a very important piece of hardware. The basic purpose of a RAID controller card is to let you connect multiple hard drives together in one of several different configurations, and use them as part of a larger total unit. Since a RAID is usually set up for data backup and speed, a good card is important to ensure your information is properly distributed and saved for either the fastest performance possible or for accurate backup in case of corruption or hardware loss. Although the prices on these cards can vary quite a lot, you'll typically find that overall value (in terms of what you're trying to set up) is really more important than just cost.

With that in mind, we've chosen these best RAID controller cards because they give you the most options for RAID setups, since they all support at least RAID 0 and 1 types as well as other types like 10 and JBOD. You get at least two SATA or SAS ports on each of these cards, so not only do they offer RAID control, but also give you connections for additional hard drives in your system. Additionally, these cards come with software utilities you can install along with the included drivers to manage your RAID setup more efficiently.

SYBA SI-PEX40057 4-Port SATA III Marvell Chipset Raid Controller

While not a great choice for a complex setup on a server rack (or if you need half a dozen hard drive connections) there's still a lot to like about this card. Quite affordable and easy to find, its small size makes this card easy to fit into just about any computer. You get four SATA 6Gb/s ports on this card and they support up to 4TB hard drives. If you want a particularly exotic RAID setup, then this might not be a great choice, but it does support RAID 0, 1, and 10 setups which should be sufficient for most personal and small business setups. The included software makes it easy to install this card into your system and setup and manage your RAID without a lot of unneeded extra features.

HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 8-Port Controller Card

If you are looking to just quickly put together a simple RAID for a home computer or entertainment system, then this is probably more card than you really need. It installs through a PCIe port on your motherboard, and includes eight SATA ports for physical hard drive connections, a great plus for small businesses which need additional options. The included software is pretty straightforward to make RAID setup easy, and it includes a number of management tools including email notifications and event logs to assist with monitoring your setup. Perhaps the best feature of this card is it supports many different RAID setups: RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, 50, and JBOD, giving you a ton of different options in how you want to set up your system.

Adaptec RAID 6805E Storage Controller

If you need a professional-level RAID controller card for a small business, then this is another great option comparable to the RocketRAID 2320 from HighPoint in many ways. This model from Adaptec supports many different RAID levels, including 0, 1, 10, 1E, and JBOD, so it works great for a lot of different computing environments. However, the RocketRAID 2320 gives you a couple more options so keep that in mind if you might need a RAID 5 or 50 setup. This model has eight SATA ports and supports Hybrid RAID setups with both solid state and hard disc drives, which is something to consider if you might need to put together a Hybrid setup. It installs through a PCIe port and the included utilities give you tools for remote configuration, monitoring, as well as BIOS level configuration.

Syba Controller Card Sd-Sata-4p 4 X Port Sata Raid 0/1 Card

The first thing to keep in mind with this RAID controller card is it's intended for simple setups only. You don't get a ton of options with this model, but if it works for what you need, then it's a great option. This card only supports RAID 0, 1, and 0+1 levels, so keep this in mind if you plan on setting up a more complex RAID. However, if you only plan on using one of those levels then this is a great controller card which does just what it's supposed to do. The speed on it is a bit slow with 1.5 Gb/s transfer rates as well as only four SATA ports, but that's probably enough for a simple setup. You can't beat the price on this model if you just want a simple RAID setup, especially since more complex cards typically sell for four times the price.

SYBA SD-VIA-1A2S Combo IDE + SATA PCI Controller Card

If you want a RAID controller for the latest hardware in a new computer, then you 're certainly better off choosing a different model. However, for older hardware (or a legacy system) this is a great choice offering solid performance and ease of use as long as you keep its limitations in mind. It installs into a PCI slot on your motherboard and offers a pair of SATA ports along with an older ATA port. This is a great way to build a simple RAID in an older computer or to add some SATA ports to your system, and it also supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and JBOD types so you get some decent flexibility. The included software is pretty good, giving you some decent tools for setup and managing your RAID. Plus, this model supports Linux and versions of Microsoft Windows going all the way back to Windows 98.

Greg Wiesen
With an AA in Computer Animation, I have spent years building computers and playing video games. I learned early on that the best way to figure out a new software program was to just start pushing buttons and see what happens (saving often, of course), and that is still my philosophy. From hard drives and motherboards to graphics cards and "holographic" keyboards, I enjoy checking out and playing with all the tech I can get my hands on. I have written hundreds of informative computer and technology articles in the past, and I believe that anyone can understand and use a computer. I'll worry about research and trying out different hardware, you just enjoy the results.
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