OCZ is launching a brand-new series of solid state drives today, targeted squarely at budget-conscious, mainstream consumers. The new ARC 100 series doesn’t stray far from its roots, however. The ARC 100 features the very same OCZ Barefoot 3 M10 as the higher-end Vertex 460, but these new drives feature more affordable Toshiba A19nm NAND flash memory. The ARC 100 also ships without any sort of accessory bundle, to further bring costs down.
We’ve got a 240GB OCZ ARC 100 in-house and have put it through an array of benchmarks, versus a number of other popular solid state drives. Before we get to the results though, take a look at the ARC 100’s features and specifications below, and see what make the drive tick…
The 240GB drives shown here conforms to the 2.5” form factor (as do all of the other drivers in the family) and is has a thin, sub-7mm Z-Height. The enclosures used on the drives are all metal and are clearly sturdier and heavier than most other consumer-class SSDs we’ve tested. There are really no external features to speak of, other than the few decals and the standard SATA power and data connectors, but that’s par for the course with most SSDs.
Open up an ARC 100, however, and you’ll see OCZ’s own Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 controller on board—the same controller used in the older Vertex 450 and 460 series drives. That controller is paired to A19nm Toshiba MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND flash memory and a DDR3-1333MHz DRAM cache. The 120GB and 240GB drives sport 512MB of cache memory, while the 480GB model will be outfitted with 1GB.
Note that these new ARC 100 drives, like the Vertex 460, have more spare NAND over-provisioned than the Vertex 450 drives, which were built using 20nm NAND. Whereas the Vertex 450 launched in 128, 256, and 512GB capacities, these new drives land at 120, 240, and 480GB. That additional spare area is reserved for wear leveling and other proprietary features and aids the drives in achieving their relatively high endurance ratings.
OCZ’s ARC 100 drives are rated for max read speeds of 475MB/s (120GB), 480MB/s (240GB) and 490MB/s (480GB), and write performance varies between models as well. The 120GB drive’s writes peak at 395MB/s; the 240GB at 430MB/s; and the 480GB drives peak at 450MB/s. All of the drives support TRIM, 256-bit AES compliant encryption and they’re rated for 20GB/day host writes for 3 years, under typical client workloads. Idle power is listed at .6w and active power at 3.457W, which is slightly higher than some previous SSD products. The drives are also covered by a 3-year warranty, but OCZ has made some welcome changes to the way it handles warranty service. We’ll talk more about that in the conclusion.