Computer & Peripheral Reviews

Areca Arc-8050 Thunderbolt RAID 5 Storage: Now using 8 4TB Hard Drives

I’ve recently updated my Areca ARC-8050 enclosure I reviewed here last year, and now use all 8 slots for RAID 5. This external enclosure is connected to my Imac. The hard drives are 4TB HDS 7200rpm drives. It took about 24 hours for it to initialize, not bad when you consider how much data it can hold. Here are the results using BlackMagicDesign Disk Speed Test app.


Its been up and running, used daily for about a month with no problems. Here is a Disk Speed Test with 7 4TB Hitachi drives


Areca-8050 Firmware Update – 1.52 causes SSDs boot drives to fail


This is my first post on Pixelreeder – part of my job at our studio is keeping the equipment running. The above warning will hopefully help people avoid our issue with a SSDs in our Areca machine.

It all stems from a bug we needed to fix in Mountian Lion. We had a problem when the OS marked our raid 5 partition as hidden and greyed out the icon. We think the cause is a full time machine, but we aren’t sure. You can read about our fix here, it involves one line of code. In the process of finding this fix we decided to update  the firmware on our Areca-8050 external unit.

As you can guess, we ran into some very scary problems.

(continue reading…)

Mountain Lion greyed out partition or external drive fix.

We had a problem when the OS marked our raid 5 partition as hidden and greyed out the icon. We think the cause is a full time machine, but we aren’t sure. The eventual fix for this was using a tool in XCode (a free development tool from apple) to run a command which changes the partition from hidden to visible. Once you install xcode and command line tools its a simple command:

SetFile -a v **your file or volume here**

You must have Xcode (and in preferences of xcode the cmd line tools module) installed to use this command and will have to eject and remount the drive to see the change.

In the process of finding this fix we decided to update  the firmware on our Areca-8050 external unit.

We ran into some problems in the process, which you can read about here.

New Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5! – Upright, Advanced Healing, more…

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 is now available, looks to have some cool new features. Advanced Healing, Upright, more video features to name a few. Besides the blingy new features I’m hoping there are more DAM (digital asset management) improvements like the ability to write metadata to movie files within Lightroom.

Lightroom is my favorite app for handling and processing all digital camera files except Phase One files.

Upgrade price is $79

Check out their website for more details

Areca ARC-8050 8-Bay Thunderbolt to 6Gb/s SAS RAID Storage Review



In my last post I reviewed external thunderbolt storage devices for our Imac capture station, none of which worked correctly. I came across this Areca 8 bay box on the OWC website. This looked more “promising” than the Pegasus R6 :) sorry Promise Tech…had to do it. Costs around $1500/free shipping. Price is very close to the Pegasus R6 when you take into account 8 bays vs 6 bays. Its empty which is how I would prefer it anyway. Lets me use my existing drives. Here are some quick specs from Areca’s website:

  • The ARC-8050 incorporated on-board high performance dual core 800Mhz ROC storage processor and with 1GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM memory on-board to deliver true high performance hardware RAID.
  • Bootable
  • RAID level 0, 1, 1E, 3, 5, 6, 10, 30, 50, 60, Single Disk or JBOD (just a bunch of disks aka passthru)

Check out their website, they have it all spelled out. Some of the other manufacturers don’t have real detailed spec sheets showing whether they are bootable, JBOD capable, etc. Areca’s was pretty clear. The drive trays have mounting holes for 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives. Seems like a nice piece of hardware.

There were a couple of hiccups to get it going, which ended up being a default being set incorrectly. But from the first time it started up, there was a noticeable difference in operation and a feeling of reliability. The Pegasus box was just the opposite.


Passthru created
Passthru created


We’ve had it running for about two months and haven’t had any issues. In the first bay we placed a 90 GB 6G SSD OCZ Vertex 3 to run the OS (running around 400 MB/sec read & write). The next bay has a HST 4 TB Time Machine SATA drive. Next bay is empty (may use for hot spare or add another drive to the RAID 5 array). Then we have 5  2TB Hitachi SATA HD’s in a RAID 5 setup (these will be used for working still and video files, running around 415 MB / sec read & write).


Arc-8050 Thunderbolt rear view
Arc-8050 Thunderbolt rear view
Areca ARC-8050 Packaging
Areca ARC-8050 Packaging


I still don’t trust the RAID 5 as a single solution for storage and backup. You still need at least two other copies of all data you don’t want to lose, one of which off site at all times.

Here is the iMac machine specs we are using:


iMac 27 inch, Late 2012
iMac 27 inch, Late 2012


Our first attempt at RAID 5 with factory defaults and using their Quick Function > Quick Create option was not successful. The ARC – 8050 would start to initialize for an hour or so then freeze at exactly 5.6%. The box would freeze and crash the iMac. Fun. Now this product just started shipping so they will get cut some slack. The problem was also resolved quickly. See below.


Areca Raid Storage Manager
Areca Raid Storage Manager


Long story short, after emailing Areca’s tech support over then next couple of days and running some more tests we found a fix. Under System Configurations > Disk Write Cache Mode needs to be set to Disabled, not set to SAS and SATA (which is the default). After changing that it initialized properly the first time and haven’t had any problems since.


Disk Write Cache Mode
Disk Write Cache Mode


If you are looking for a fast external thunderbolt enclosure with all of the bells and whistles…this appears to be the ticket…for now at least.


June 2013

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