The short version: This thing is FAST. 600+MB/s write and 480+MB/s read with 4x3TB, 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives. The longer version is that I've experimented with a bunch of various RAID products over the years, virtually all of them have been NAS because I wanted a stand-alone storage device for storing backups and other files. I've had: ReadyNAS NV+ - Slow Drobo FS - Not as slow as the ReadyNAS Synology DS1511+ - Respectable, able to fill a 1GbE pipe when moving large files The Synology was great for what it was; A Home/SMB NAS capable of running basic services (Basically running a small Linux install) and working as a reliable RAID NAS. The upside is that there are a number of apps for it that are easy to install, the downside is that since it's a custom Linux install it's not particularly easy to manually install 3rd party apps. Eventually, as usual, I outgrew its performance and abilities but I didn't want to go back to managing a Linux box again. I do that for work, I didn't want to do that at home. I just wanted something that worked with minimal fuss. So, I moved forward with my plan to use a Mac Mini + RAID as a server. I already knew what I was going to run on it as far as software/services go, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about the storage. On my list were... OWC Thunderbay IV - A bit pricey for something that doesn't have HW RAID Areca ARC-8050 - 8-bay goodness but a price to go with it Areca ARC-5026 - More than the Thunderbay, less than the Pegasus, HW RAID Pegasus R4 - Pricey and not sure how I felt about the reviews and customer service While debating the above, I decided to also try a $350 Dyconn Quartz 5-bay USB3.0 HW RAID enclosure available from my local shop. Reading TB vs USB3.0 performance comparisons I figured I might be able to get some good speed out of it and $350 is better than some of the other options. The Dyconn was horrible. It could do 220MB/s sequential read/write if nothing else was talking to it, but throw anything else at it and it'd tank. I tried OS X software RAID10 and saw worse performance. What junk. So, I pulled the trigger on the Areca 5026. I wanted at least 5 bays but didn't feel like spending the money on the 8-bay or the Pegasus R6, oh well. 4 bays it is. Installed the 4x3TB Seagate 7200RPM drives in it, connected to the web UI, tweaked some settings, and let it initialize the new RAID5 array (9TB usable). I had it do foreground init and this took 3-4 hours I think. When it was done I partitioned and formatted, then I did some tests. Tied to the Mac Mini, this is the best storage solution I've used yet. Very fast and, after reading through the manual, very "serviceable." What I mean by serviceable is that Areca has put thought into how to handle a controller failure. A lot of people assume that HW RAID is proprietary and, with the exception of one or two brands, if the controller craps out then you lose your data because the controller had the RAID config on it. With Areca that would be a wrong assumption. The RAID configuration is stored on the drives so if you should suffer a controller failure it's simply a matter of getting a new controller/enclosure, moving the drives over (in any order), and powering it on. Boom, your RAID is back online. I've read a lot of positive reviews about Areca and now I can see why, these are a great, less expensive, very fast alternative to the more expensive Pegasus units. I highly recommend looking at Areca if you're considering a HW RAID. The 5026 has both Thunderbolt and USB3.0, however at 600+MB/s that is basically all of USB3.0's pipe.