Product Review: Areca ARC-8050T2 8-drive RAID with Thunderbolt 2

PVC by Helmut Kobler

Add your own drives to this very fast, robust, affordable RAID

Areca’s new ARC-8050T2 is a industrial-strength 8 bay RAID that has a few unique things going for it. For starters, it uses a new Thunderbolt 2 connection, so it’s blazing fast when connected to a Thunderbolt 2-equipped Mac or PC. In fact, it’s the fastest 8 bay RAID I’ve ever tested, reaching about 1 GB/s read and writes in a RAID 5 configuration. Secondly, it’s the only big Thunderbolt RAID I’m aware of that you can buy without drives (street price is as low as $1,799 for the empty chassis), so you can buy your own drives without a markup, saving hundreds of dollars or more. I had a chance to set up and then run an 8050T2 on a number of projects for three weeks, and came away very impressed. If you’ve got even a mild do-it-yourself spirit, this is probably the RAID for you.


The 8050T2 works best and most economically with 3.5” SATA drives, preferably newer ones that use a 6 Gb/s interface and spin at 7200 rpm. You can also fill the chassis with SSDs, SAS drives and drives that spin at higher rpms, but that typically increases cost and/or noise.

The most important decision you can make about the drives you use with the 8050T2 is whether to use “desktop” or “enterprise” drives. Desktop drives are cheaper, but aren’t warranted by their manufacturers for very long — typically 2 years. They’re also not spec’d to run 24/7/365, even though they may do that just fine. On the other hand, enterprise drives are generally meant to run all day long in rigorous server settings, and typically have 5 year warranties. Personally, I would spend more on enterprise drives, and you can see a list of SATA drives that Areca has tested right here (focus on the SAS Raid Controller column, and dashes mean a drive was not tested). read more...

Check out these items featured in this post and available to BUY NOW at
CineRAID Areca 8Bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID Storage Enclosure Only $1,799.00 CineRAID Areca 8Bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID Storage (16TB, 8x2TB) with Thunderbolt Cable $3,399.00 CineRAID Areca 8Bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID Storage (32TB, 8x4TB) with Thunderbolt Cable $5,299.00

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