The Areca Second Generation 6GB/s 1882 is built upon the new LSI 2208 Dual Core RAID-on-Chip (ROC) 800 MHz processor. This new approach is leveraging a second core added to the very powerful chip used in the 1880 series of controllers.
Up close we can see that the controller has a fan included that is built into the heatsink that sets atop this very powerful ROC. Above these ports is the connector for the Battery Back Up (BBU) unit that users can purchase separately. These devices will preserve the data contained in the cache of the card in the even of a power failure. The black round device on the upper edge of the controller is the alarm beeper, which will alert the user to any type of errors. Using a series of beeps it can help the user to quickly diagnose and correct any problems with the devices connected to the adapter.
The upper portion of the PCI-E bracket holds the Ethernet connector that allows out-of-band management for the adapter. This is very useful in many scenarios, and we will cover a bit of that functionality a bit later in our review.
Of importance is the fact the the adapter is actually composed of two PCBs, one that is the lower brains of the unit, and the upper PCB daughtercard, which can be disconnected. This will allow the user to disconnect the upper bracket and allow a smaller bracket to be affixed to the controller for use in low profile scenarios. The card on top is with the full size bracket, and the lower is with the low profile bracket, with the removed PCB for reference.
On the bracket of the controller we can observe the dual SFF-8088 Mini-SAS connectors. This version of the card is tailored to use external expanders and other external connectivity options. These ports will allow us to plug directly into the card from the rear of our test bench.
The two cards closest to the bottom of this picture are the 1882 controllers inserted into our test bench. The large card above them is the full height 1880. The 1880 above them is a much larger card, that allows up to 24 devices to be connected directly to the card. Utilizing an onboard expander and a large slot for a DIMM actually on the card itself, it needs much more PCB real estate. Of note is the fact that the larger card extends even beyond the left edge of the tubing on the left.
Basically this is good for comparisons sake on the size of these cards. There is an IX version of the 1882 that will be available shortly, and we do hope to test that card as well. Yes, the 1880IX-12 that is a staple in our test bench is outfitted with water cooling, so it certainly is a beastly sort.
Amazingly enough, these small cards should be able to outperform their larger, older brother in many scenarios, so lets get to testing! 🙂