In the early days of consumer SSDs OCZ were one of the major driving forces in the industry. They were not afraid to offer a varied product stack, or to adopt new technology as it became available. Since then they have gone through a number of evolutions and today are part of the Toshiba family. Being part of Toshiba gives OCZ an extra level of flexibility when it comes to creating new products and today they launch a new SSD which takes some of their own tech and mixes it with Toshiba. Priced at an aggressive level, this is the OCZ ARC 100 series SSD.
The OCZ ARC 100 uses a blue colour scheme for its artwork and packaging with minimal info on the front of the packaging. The back gives us a little more info and then when we open the box we find the drive suspended in a plastic case and bundled with it is some documentation.
Also available to OCZ ARC customers is their Toolbox and it is shown above. It allows us to monitor and maintain our drive in Windows, including the ability to update our firmware.
The OCZ ARC 100 SSD
The OCZ ARC 100 uses an all metal casing and to the top OCZ apply a large sticker which covers the screws we use to access the inside. A second sticker with some product detail is applied to the base and beside it we can see the SATA 6GB/s power and data connectors. OCZ have gone with a 7mm (thick) form factor for this model and it weighs 110g.
Our internal componetns start with OCZ own Barefoot 3 M10 controller and they pair that with A19nm Toshiba MLC flash. Capacities of 120, 240 and 480GB are available with our review sample being the 240GB version. The drive is rated for 490mb/s read and 450MB/s write in its fastest configuration with the 120GB having a 475/395MB/s split. Power use when active is 3.45w max with idle dropping to 0.6w. Endurance level is noted as 20GB/day host writes for 3-years… the length of the warranty.
In terms of other features we get support for 256-bit AES encryption, BCH ECC (correction) up to 44 random bits/1KB and we can Secure Erase our drive using OCZ Toolbox to set it back to a fresh state. Also worthy of note is the presence of TRIM and idle time garbage collection to ensure our drive maintains its performance for as long as is possible.
User Experience and Conclusion
In terms of design and build quality the OCZ ARC gets off to a good start by using an all metal chassis. It’s a simple aspect of an SSD but it always feels (and looks) nicer than a plastic alternative. The branding applied to the SSD is stylish and the use of a 7mm form factor makes it nice and flexible for use in smaller laptops as well as desktops.
Inside the good build quality continues with the use of the OCZ Barefoot 3 M10 controller which is tried and trusted having featured on OCZ products before. Pair that with Toshiba’s latest 19nm flash and we cant really go wrong.
The software provided by OCZ is also good. Toolbox has been evolving for some time now and it does exactly what we need with minimal fuss. Firmware updates, erasing and monitoring are all just a few clicks away.
In terms of performance we get a drive which offers a nice balance of read and write speed. Many “value” drives excel in one area but not in another and in the case of the OCZ ARC speeds do vary a little depending on the capacity but overall the writes do not suffer to much, which cant be said for some of the competition. That said, as we would expect, there are a number of faster drives out there (like the Vector 150 with its 550MB/s speed, enhanced endurance and 5-year warranty).
The OCZ ARC 100 isn’t about maximum speed though. Its about getting a good price to performance (and capacity) ratio. On that front it succeeds and wins our Value award.
Pricing $74.99-239.99 ($0.63/GB to $0.50/GB)