I'm all for reusing old server hardware. I'm running 10 drives so far on an Areca ARC-1170 in a Dell 1600SC server. I got the server for free and the card for a reasonable price from a popular auction site.
The card has 24 physical SATA2 connectors and supports the 3TB and 4TB drives I have plugged into it. I really like the built-in web interface it includes through its built-in ethernet port.
That's good feedback, cheers. Good to know that model supports the larger current drives. I saw a 24 port 1170 on Ebay, but it was $380. Alot more than I'd like to spend.
A question on it though, which is probably relevant to the lower port count models like 1160. When configuring JBODs, can you take a drive with data on it, add it to your system, and configure it as a JBOD without the card writing to the HDD ? Might sound like a silly question, but some of the old raid controllers would configure a single HDD as it's own logical drive, which can sometimes mess with what is on the disk.
Adding drives into the system with data on them, is a key thing I want to do. I'm new to unraid, havent played with it yet, and fear it doesnt let me do it seamlessly? ie: put the drive straight into the array and sync the data. But I could add a drive to the system, mount it, copy data on the array, and then incorporate the drive into the array. A bit of a time consuming pain, but could be done that way.