I've used 3Ware and Areca. Both are solid but I've only used more recent models. I personally own a 3Ware 9650SE-4LPML and it's been great. No problems, no hiccups. The array just hums along.
As far as SATA drives, I'm a bit biased as I only use Seagate ES.2 for my permanent storage (documents, databases, projects, etc.) - stuff I care about more. I use WD 10EADS for more variable type files such as audio/video and specifically for the power savings (albeit it isn't too much).
You didn't specify how many disks so I'll assume 4 as it offers numerous options (RAID 0+1,1, 5+ hotspare, 6, etc) I'd go for a good controller from a reputable vendor. Some posts on SF tend to recommend linux software RAID (which is what FreeNAS uses) as being comparable to hardware RAID. If you're like me, I'd take hardware RAID any day. I don't care about paying more. Data to me is more important than the machines itself. Maybe other people can comment on linux RAID more than I can, but when push comes to shove I tend to go for hardware solutions when it comes to storage.
I'm looking to build a RAID Array for
storage of media (Audio, Video), file
server for both CIFS/NFS and as a
repository for backups. Performance
isn't a huge concern but reliability
is as this is designed to be a archive
Since performance isn't quite an issue for you, I'd say go with WD 10EADS (1TB) or WD 20EADS (2TB). I'd say for cost, go for the 1TB. They're energy efficient (in comparison to every other drive), fairly quiet, perform just as well as my ES.2 drives and are at a great price these days (~$75-$83). The price barrier from 1TB ($80) to 1.5TB ($125) to 2TB ($200+) is very large these days.
The Seagate ES.2 drives (personally) work great for me with no problems and perform very well. Lots of reviews on Newegg aren't all positive so I can't speak to everyone else's experience but I've used them for over a 1.5 years and have yet to have a problem. However, the ES.2 series is significantly more expensive than other drives with the same storage capacity so I added the WD10EADS for large but non-permanent type data. Recording TV shows and media mostly.
I can't say as to how large a chassis your RAID array will be hosted in, but my best guess for you without all the information would be to get a good (doesn't have to be the most expensive) RAID controller (3Ware, Areca, LSI, Adaptec) probably something on the lower ends of each manufacturer and buy large, cheaper disks. Controller prices fall very slowly over time. Hard drive prices seem to drop more frequently every year based on the market offerings. When 2.5TB or 3TB drives hit the market, the 1.5TB - 2TB drive prices will fall - dramatically. All the drives below will also fall (marginally) in price. If you can afford an 8-port SATA controller you can buy up more cheap drives now or leave some ports open for when prices fall and 2TB disks will be much more affordable.