OCZ ARC 100 240GB

£69 inc VAT • ocz.com

Tech Advisor - - GROUP TEST: SOLID-STATE DRIVES -

The OCZ com­pany ap­peared early in the history of SSDs as a spe­cial­ist in per­for­mance drives, and still makes high-spec­i­fi­ca­tion drives un­der its new own­ers Toshiba. But the ARC 100 is a val­ue­fo­cused solid-state drive, bring­ing enough of the virtues of PC flash stor­age to woo po­ten­tial disk up­graders, at a most at­trac­tive price.

We were sent the 240GB ver­sion of the ARC 100 to re­view, which at the time of writ­ing could be found for just £69. Even in this smaller ca­pac­ity that rep­re­sents a price of just 28.8p per gi­ga­byte, mak­ing it the best value in this group of six. You can also find the ARC 100 in 120- and 480GB sizes.

Be­fore go­ing bank­rupt in 2013, OCZ had a rep­u­ta­tion for dy­ing and de­fec­tive SSDs. How­ever, since Toshiba bought the com­pany in 2014, it has been groomed into a pro­fes­sional, con­sumer-fo­cused com­pany with an im­pres­sive af­ter-sales pol­icy.

OCZ calls this the Shield­Plus war­ranty, ex­tend­ing for three years for this model. In the event of a fault, there’s no need for your re­ceipt, just quote the se­rial num­ber, and if the sup­port team deem the drive as de­fec­tive you’ll get an ad­vance re­place­ment SSD sent out with free ship­ping, be­fore you need to re­turn your dud unit.

While most SSDs are us­ing con­trollers made by Marvell, with Sand­Force still pop­u­lar with some brands, OCZ is press­ing into ser­vice the ex­per­tise it bought with the ac­qui­si­tion of Indil­inx. Vari­ants of the Indil­inx Bare­foot 3 are used in all its SATA-based drives, and here it is backed with 512MB of DDR3 DRAM as cache; although OCZ has not re­vealed this lat­ter spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

This con­troller is de­signed to de­liver good sus­tained per­for­mance in long-term use, and does not suf­fer from slow­downs when pre­sented with in­com­press­ible data. For flash-mem­ory sil­i­con, OCZ is us­ing its par­ent com­pany’s tog­gle NAND with a 19nm process size.

OCZ of­fers its own soft­ware for Win­dows and Linux with which to up­date and op­ti­mise the drive, SSD Guru. For Mac users there’s a bootable ISO for down­load, which can be writ­ten to an op­ti­cal disc or USB drive.

Per­for­mance

We were not ex­pect­ing the fastest speeds from this bud­get drive, so were pleas­antly sur­prised by some of the re­sults that placed the ARC 100 ahead of more ex­pen­sive prod­ucts. In the sim­ple sequential test, the OCZ did prove to be the slow­est, the only drive not to peek above the 500MB/s para­pet, although this should be of lit­tle con­cern on daily use. Sequential reads reached 489MB/s and writes 447MB/s.

As promised by OCZ, the Indil­inx Bare­foot con­troller does not use any on-the-fly com­pres­sion tricks to ac­cel­er­ate speed, and Crys­talDiskMark re­ported prac­ti­cally the same speeds for ran­dom and com­press­ible data: to wit, 426- and 427MB/s for reads, and 431and 432MB/s for sequential writes.

Small file per­for­mance was very good, with 4kB ran­dom reads at 27MB/s – a lit­tle lower than most but only by a megabyte or three per sec­ond – while 4kB ran­dom writes were ac­tu­ally the high­est on test at 127MB/s. That’s a clean-drive re­sult which will likely drop once the drive reaches steady-state level, but still im­pres­sive.

For IOPS the ARC 100 was in good com­pany, ap­proach­ing 100,000 IOPS for ran­dom writes at 90,300 IOPS, and around 80,000 IOPS for ran­dom 4kB reads at the same 32 queue depth. VER­DICT: This may be only OCZ’s bud­get drive but it of­fers great per­for­mance with plenty of all-im­por­tant sup­port to pro­vide peace of mind to any­one con­cerned about mov­ing to solid-state stor­age.

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