Do you need to have the RAID card installed if you only use external RAID drives and don't use the internal drives? I'm new to RAID.

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    No, absolutely not.
    This card is only if you want to use the internal drive bays in a Mac Pro to have a RAID 5 array.
    If you want anything else on the internal drives (RAID 0 or RAID 1) and you're better off using Disk Utility.
    If you've got an external RAID chassis, then you use the RAID hardware in the chassis, not this card.

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