Hard Disk Drive (HDD)/Solid State Drive (SSD) controllers are pieces of computer hardware that connect directly to the motherboard allowing you to add more HDDs/SSDs to your system by hooking them up via the controller. This can be for a number of reasons such as increasing the storage size, drive mirroring or for hot-swapping where a drive can be removed without powering the system down. The controller features its own processor which allows you to bypass the motherboard's own limitations on controlling storage drives. Some controllers allow the use of RAID (redundant array of independent disks) features that provide either higher speeds or more reliability.
A Host Bus Adapter (HBA) is an expansion card that plugs into a PCIe slot on the motherboard and provides fast, reliable non-RAID communication between the host system and the storage devices.
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A RAID controller card is similar to an HBA, but can also add redundancy (RAID) for your data, help optimise performance, reduce latency, or even make smart decisions on whether to store data on an HDD or an SSD cache, depending on user needs.
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