It has been quite a while since we have seen a value oriented SSD from OCZ. Their last two releases where the Vector 150 and the Vertex 460, the latest updates to their enthusiast and mainstream drive lines. The market need for value drives is very apparent when we consider the popularity that the Samsung 840 EVO and Crucial MX100 drives have gained. Jumping back in with both feet in the water, OCZ has just released their new value SSD, the ARC 100!
Since SSDs have been saturating SATA 6Gb/s for a while now, there has been a trend in consumers wanting consistent performance and the SSD industry as a whole has moved into a bit of a price war. Utilizing a Barefoot 3 M10 controller and Toshiba A19nm MLC NAND flash, the ARC 100 offers consistent performance at a low price point.
OCZ ARC 100 SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The OCZ ARC 100 should be available at the time of this review in capacities of 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB and MSRP pricing is listed as $74.99, $119.99 and $239.99 respectively. It comes in an ultra slim 2.5-inch 7mm form factor and features SMART, TRIM, 256-bit AES-compliant data encryption, and data path protection; the BCH ECC corrects up to 44 random bits/1KB. For endurance, the ARC 100 is rated for 20GB/day of host writes for 3 years under typical client workloads.
Performance for the ARC 100 is listed above. The 240GB model we are testing today is rated up to 480MB/s read 430MB/s write. IOPS wise, the Arc 100 is rated for 75,000/80,000 read/write. As we can see, OCZ has continued to list their steady-state random write IOPS performance, in which case our sample is rated at 18,000 IOPS.
Furthermore, OCZ is kicking off their new warranty program with the ARC 100 series drives. The ARC 100 offers a 3 year ShieldPlus warranty, and a SSD warranty is not necessary for warranty purposes. SSD warranty is tracked by serial number and, if a product is deemed defective, they will advance ship you a replacement drive with a pre-paid shipping label to quickly and easily return the defective one to them. OCZ ShieldPlus is available in both North America and EMEA at time of launch.
ARC 100 SSD PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
As far as packaging goes, the box design is simple and clean, accented in my favorite color blue. The back lists some of the main features of the drive and even reasoning to buy an SSD in the first place.
When I first picked up the ARC 100 it was apparent that the case is made of a heavy metal. I am so used to the paper light drives that when handling this one, it was quite a shock and reminded me of the weight 2.5″ HDDs.
The front of the drive follows the same calming blue color scheme of the packaging. The screws were actually located on the front side of the drive under the corners of the blue sticker. Opening it ruined the aesthetics this time.
Getting a quick look at the PCB, we can see the 240GB drive has a 16 NAND package layout and contains two Micron DRAM cache chips.
The controller is an INDILINX Barefoot 3 M10 SATA 6Gbps controller. On the front and back of the PCB, there are 16 modules of 19nm Toshiba Toggle Mode NAND flash memory with a product number of TH58TEG7DDJBA4C. Each has a capacity of 16GB for a total RAW capacity of 256GB on our 240GB sample drive. Once formatted, the storage capacity available to the user is 223GB.
By using the Micron FBGA Decoder, we can identify the DRAM memory as having the product number MT41K256M8DA-125:K. The two DRAM chips are 256MB DDR3L SDRAM that run at 800MHz in parallel.