Areca 1680ix optimization - firmware and SATA speed.


Mar 7, 2021
I've recently acquired an older Areca card - ARC-1680xi. I've noticed that my SATA drives were running at SATA150 (SATA 1) instead of the card's maximum SATA300 (SATA 2) speed even though they were all SATA 3 drives. Upon reading some about it I've decided to ensure that the card has the latest firmware. There are actually 3 different firmware sets for a total of 7 firmware files that you need to deal with.

Upon downloading this set and expanding the zip file, you can use the card's build-in web browser interface to upload the four files into the card.

  • Next is the SAS transport firmware. It's a single file and unlike the card's BIOS/firmware set, it is not available on Areca's web site, but only on their FTP site at and as of this writing the current version is

Upon downloading this file you can also use the card's build-in web browser to upload and upgrade the SAS transport firmware.
  • Last but not least is the SAS expander firmware. To allow for more than 8 drives, the card actually has an expander chipset build-in and all ports are connected to the expander. It is the expander chipset that controls the link speeds of the attached SATA drives. The firmware is composed of two files - a ROM and a DATA image and available only via FTP from The latest firmware as of this writing is

After you download both files you must use the CLI interface (connect the original serial cable that came with the card between the card and a free COM port on your PC) via a terminal program. Follow the directions found in WARNING: It's very easy to brick the card IF you use anything else other than "XModem/1K" file transfer protocol. You MUST use 1k version of the XModem protocol or you will brick the card as per The very first expander firmware version that supported SATA3 drives running at SATA2 speeds was (per so if you have an earlier version and want to run SATA3 drives you must upgrade (very carefully) the expander firmware. Once the firmware is updated and card rebooted you can get back into CLI and set minimum link speeds for all devices to SATA300/SATA2 3Gbit/s speed. Follow the CLI instructions downloaded from the link above. Once you do this you can finally have your SATA3 drives running at SATA2 (instead of SATA1) speeds: