NVMe Cacheless Hardware RAID Adapter

ARC-1686-NOD image


(Entry Level M.2 NVMe Hardware RAID Adapters)


✵ Supports 2/4/6 Bays M.2

✵ Hardware secure boot ready

✵ x8 PCIe Gen 4.0 host interface

✵ Support individual NVMe PowerDisable feature

✵ Redundant flash image for adapter availability

✵ Capacity expansion, RAID level/stripe size migration

✵ SED support for hardware NVMe encryption capable drives

✵ Tri-mode interface at each M.2 bays - 12Gb/s SAS/SATA / Gen 4.0 PCIe (NVMe)

✵ RAID levels 0, 1 (Simple/Multi Mirroring), 10, Single Disk (Single/Dual/Triple) or JBOD

✵ Device interface PCIe Gen4 NVMe / 6Gbps SATA per M.2 slot

✵ Support off module power loss protection for Non PLP NVMe drive using on-board supercapacitor

✵ Broad operating support including Windows, Linux (open source), FreeBSD (open source) and Mac

Entry Level M.2 NVMe Hardware RAID Adapters

The ARC-1686 series presents the advanced hardware RAID technology in enhanced performance of using 2/4/6 Bays M.2 NVMe. The hardware RAID adapter support off module power loss protection (PLP), on-board hold up supercapacitor, and M.2 slot Power Disable feature for guaranteed data protection. This is designed in a 1.6 GHz dual-core ROC processor and PCIe Gen 4.0 host/device interface and supports RAID levels 0, 1 (Simple/Multi Mirroring), 10, Single Disk (Single/Dual/Triple) or JBOD.

  Entry Level M.2 NVMe Hardware RAID Adapter
ARC-1686-2NOD ARC-1686-4NOD ARC-1686-6NOD
Form Factor 64.41(H) x 167.65(L) mm 107.2(H) x 205(L) mm 107.2(H) x 262(L) mm
I/O Processor Tri-Mode Dual Core ARM A15 1.6GHz ROC
Drive Connector 2 x M.2 Connector 4 x M.2 Connector 6 x M.2 Connector
Drive Support 6Gb/s SATA, Gen 4.0 PCIe (NVMe)
Management Port In-Band: PCIe
Operating Voltage 12V
Power Consumption Approximately 12/14 Watts (without M.2 drive)
Operating Temperature 0 °C to 55 °C
Operating Humidity 10% to 85%, non-condensing
Hold-up Supercapacitor On-board

Ultrafast Transfer Speed

Unprecedented Performance

Based on the Broadcom SAS3908/SAS3916 x8 PCIe Gen 4.0 to SAS/SATA/PCIe RAID on Chip (ROC) controller, the ARC-1686 entry-level RAID adapter raises the standard to higher performance levels with several enhancements including a new high performance 1.6 GHz dual core ROC processor, outstanding performance PCIe Gen 4.0 host and 12Gb/s SAS/SATA/PCIe (NVMe) interface bus interconnection.

Powerful Broadcom Tri-mode ROC Engine

At the heart of ARC-1686-xNOD is the incredibly powerful Broadcom SAS3908/SAS3916 dual-core ARM A15 tri-mode ROC, giving effortless performance as desirable. It delivers storage interface PCIe Gen 4 NVMe, 12Gb/s SAS, 6Gb/s SATA, and the security of data protection. Damage in a software RAID is considered as the consumption of massive computation and memory bandwidth on the host. The ARC-1686-xNOD hardware RAID relieves the parity generation burden from the host and maximizes application processing performance.

Tri-mode ARM A15 ROC

High Bandwidth PCI-E 4.0 Support

To run the PCIe Gen 4.0 slots in Gen 4 speed, please must install the ROC which supports PCI Express 4.0. If you install the PCIe3.0 ROC, the PCI Express 4.0 slots will run only at Gen3 speed.

  • Higher bit rate - 16.0GT/s

  • Higher bandwidth per lane - 2GB/s

  • Higher efficiency - 98.5% encoding efficiency

PCI-E 4.0 support higher interconnect bandwidth

Professional Storage Connectivity

The ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter can operate in all three modes concurrently servicing NVMe, SAS or SATA drives that offers the operation of NVMe, SAS or SATA storage devices in a single RAID adapter. With a single ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter, system integrators can take full advantage of 6x PCIe Gen 4.0 M.2 x2/x4 NVMe drives or 6Gb/s M.2 SATA SSD drives

NVMe speed

Off Module Power (OMP) Loss Protection

An enterprise storages need to ensure data integrity in the event of power losses and system crashes. The Power Loss Protection (PLP) is a hardware and firmware solution on the ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter to ensure that the NVMe SSDs integrity is maintained should a power loss event occur.

Off Module Power (OMP)

Launch the web browser-based MRAID storage manager to check the power loss event.

(Breadcrumb-Trail: 'Information' > 'RAID Set Hierarchy' > 'Device Information' > 'Unsafe Shutdowns')

unsafe shutdown

Fault LED Stay on for Troubleshooting

On-board Supercapacitor keeps M.2 fault LED status to easy identify failed drive when ARC-1686 RAID adapter removes from the system PCIe slot.

Power Disable Feature

Power Disable Feature (PWRDIS)

The ARC-1686 Power Disable feature provides a M.2 management capability to electrically power cycle a physical NVMe drive in order to perform a power on reset. This can be useful if a NVMe drive locks up for some reason, and you don’t want to send a technician to the physical RAID storage and manually "power down" and "power on" your system in order to power cycle the NVMe drive. Now, ARC-1686 can do this function automatically to check the drive is indeed failed or can be re-used. ARC-1686 Power Disable feature is similar as Power Disable Feature (PD) - disk cold boot management feature introduced with SATA 3.3 - February 2, 2016.

Power Disable Feature

SED-Based Encryption

The ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter firmware Security Function, together with self-encrypting drives (SEDs), secures a data in the hard disks from unauthorized access or modification resulting from theft, loss or repurposing of drives. Protection is achieved by the SED hard drive that automatically and continu¬ously encrypts the data on the drive without any user interaction.

SED-based encryption

Multi-booting Capability

There are many advantages features for ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter uEFI support for more than one macOS version to reside on one Apple machine.

(1). Support a primary operating system and an alternate system that you use less frequently

(2). Allows a new operating system to configure all applications needed, and migrate data before removing the old operating system

(3). Useful in situations where different software applications need different operating systems

(4). Software developers needs to have multiple operating systems for development or testing purposes

The user would need to simply reboot the device and select the alternate option to switch from one version to others version.

multi-booting capability

Effective Management Tool

Areca provides more flexible management tools to manage and monitor ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter.

• PCIe Bus

Lets you set up and manage RAID storage through In-band web browser manager and ArcSAP utility

You can configure in-band management for communication to travel over the PCIe bus path between a data host and ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter. In-band management uses a proxy agent HTTP management software (ArcHTTP) running on a data host to communicate with an ARC-1686-xNOD RAID adapter.

Web Browser-Based Management

McRAID storage manager is firmware-based utility, which is accessible via the web browser installed on your operating system. The web browser-based McRAID storage manager is a HTML-based application, which utilizes the browser (Safari, IE and Mozilla etc) installed on your monitor station. It can be accessed through the in-band Thunderbolt bus and out of band Ethernet port. The in-band-Thunderbolt bus method can launch the web browser-based McRAID storage manager via ArcHTTP proxy server.

web browser-based management

User-Friendly Graphical-Based Management

Areca Single Admin Portal (ArcSAP) quick manager is an alternative graphical-based device management program specifically designed for use in managing and configuring RAID unit implemented using any of Areca RAID controllers. ArcSAP quick manager can scan for multiple RAID units in the local and remote systems and provide an effective mechanism to configure your RAID units.

Areca Single Admin Portal (ArcSAP)


Actual data rates may vary depending on operating environment, RAID mode, RAID configuration, NVMe model and NVMe performance. The best performance is installed the PCIe Gen 4 NVMes and connect the ARC-1686-xNOD to a computer that supports PCIe Gen 4.0 X8 slot. Below is the test result on the new mac pro 2019.



File Version Date
ARC-1686-xNOD Specification 1.0 download icon 2022/03/09
ARC-1686-xNOD User Manual 1.3 download icon 2023/09/25
ARC-1686-xNOD Quick Installation Guide 1.0 download icon 2022/03/04
CLI Utility User Manual 5.2 download icon 2022/01/04
LCD Manual 1.3 download icon 2015/10/20
ArcSAP User Manual 4.2 2020/11/03
File Version Date
ARC-1686-xNOD firmware 1.69 download icon 2023/12/15
1. Add UEFI Shell virtual disk for UEFI BIOS to enter controller setup
2. Fix NVME direct IO problem in win11/2022
3. Add ARM UEFI BIOS support, 3 BIOS images (INT13+x64 UEFI+arm64 UEFI) included