It wasn’t that long ago when the future of OCZ was in doubt, which came as sad news to many in the PC enthusiast community. Luckily, almost immediately after filing bankruptcy, they were promptly swooped up by the Toshiba Group. The acquisition seems like a match made in heaven with Toshiba being a worldwide leader and manufacturer of NAND flash. The marriage definitely affords OCZ the opportunity to be much more competitive in the saturated SSD market. Today, we’ll be looking at the 240 GB version of OCZ’s ARC 100, which uses their proprietary Barefoot 3 M10 controller, and of course, Toshiba’s A19 MLC NAND. So, let’s take the ARC 100 for a spin and see what OCZ has in store for us.
Specifications and Features
The ARC 100 SSDs are available in three capacities – 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB. Each offers slightly different performance claims, but all three are relatively close.
|Seq Read Speed||475 MB/s||480 MB/s||490 MB/s|
|Seq Write Speed||395 MB/s||430 MB/s||450 MB/s|
|Random Read (4K QD32)||75K IOPS||75K IOPS||75K IOPS|
|Random Write (4K QD32)||80K IOPS||80K IOPS||80K IOPS|
|Steady State Random Write (4K QD32)||12K IOPS||18K IOPS||20K IOPS|
Listed below are the specifications as provided by the OCZ product page. The drive is only 7 mm thick, which makes it compatible with most laptops on the market. As mentioned earlier, the ARC 100 uses OCZ’s proprietary Barefoot 3 M10 controller and Toshiba’s MLC A19 NAND. The drive offers 256-bit AES-compliant encryption, SMART support, TRIM and Idle Time Garbage Collection, and is backward compatible with SATA 3 GB/s controllers. The ARC 100 comes with a unique 3-year ShieldPlus warranty.
|OCZ ARC 100 Specificatiions|
|Usable Capacities||12o/240/480 GB|
|NAND Components||Toshiba A19nm Multi-Level Cell (MLC)|
|Interface||Serial ATA (SATA) 6Gb/s (SATA III)|
|Controller||OCZ Barefoot 3 M10|
|Form Factor||2.5 inch, 7mm height|
|Dimensions||100.20 x 69.75 x 6.70 mm|
|Reliability / Compatibility|
|Data Path Protection||BCH ECC corrects up to 44 random bits/1KB|
|MTBF||2.0 million hours|
|Serial ATA||Fully compliant with Serial ATA International Organization:|
Serial ATA Revision 3.2.
Fully compliant with ATA/ATAPI-8 Standard NCQ
|Operating System||Windows, Linux, Mac OSX|
|Power Requirements||Standard SATA Power Connector|
|Target Applications||Client Desktops and Laptops|
|Power Consumption||Idle: 0.60W Active: 3.45W|
|Operating Temp||0°C – 70°C|
|Storage Temp||-45°C – 85°C|
|Vibration (Operational)||2.17Grms (7-800Hz)|
|Vibration (Non-operational)||3.13Grms (5-800Hz)|
|Certifications||UL C/US, FCC, CE, C-Tick, KCC, BSMI, VCCI, WEEE|
|Performance Optimizations||TRIM (requires OS support), Idle Time Garbage Collection|
|Service/Support||3-Year ShieldPlus Warranty, Toll-Free Tech Support,|
24 Hour Forum Support, Firmware Updates
There are many features the OCZ marketing team wants to make sure you’re aware of. So, let’s start by giving them an opportunity to explain a couple key points.
Additional features include the drive’s longevity, use of quality components, excellent mixed workload performance, and affordability. All images and descriptions below courtesy OCZ.
Retail Packaging/Product Tour
The retail box is mostly colored in the familiar OCZ blue and has a large picture of the ARC 100 on the front. Around back, you’ll find a basic set of specifications and a couple marketing blurbs. The box sides have additional branding and model information. Inside the box, the ARC 100 is housed in a plastic clam-shell with the product documentation enclosed as well.
The ARC 100 features a metal housing that exudes a quality feel from the moment you hold it. One side of the drive has a OCZ sticker applied that completely covers it. At the back, another smaller sticker is applied with model and serial number information. At the business end of the drive are the standard SATA power and data connections.
With the case opened, we can have a look at the PCB and its components. There are eight 16 GB Toshiba A19 NAND flash packages on each side of the PCB that make up the total raw capacity of 256 GB, which means 16 GB is reserved for other tasks such as over provisioning. The Barefoot 3 M10 controller is slightly down-clocked (352 MHz vs. 397 MHz) from the faster M00 version found on the Vector 150, but the two are pretty much identical otherwise. A thermal pad was found covering the Barefoot 3 M10 controller, which means the casing is being utilized as a rudimentary heatsink. The ARC 100 uses a pair of 256 MB Micron 4XK77 D9PSH DDR3 SDRAM modules (512 MB Total) for caching and garbage collection functions.
Software – OCZ’s SSD Guru
SSD Guru is OCZ’s new look desktop software that’s a good compliment to the ARC 100. From the Overview tab, the utility can provide a host of information on the SSD and your overall system. Under the Tuner tab, you can initiate Trim or set the over provisioning parameters. The Maintenance tab has the firmware update and secure erase options. The Settings tab lets you set the utilities logging, monitoring, and proxy server options. The Help tab has OCZ contact and support information.
Testing and Benchmarks
Here is the breakdown of the components used in our test bed.
|Test System Components|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VII Formula|
|CPU||Intel i7 4790K Devil’s Canyon|
|Memory||G.SKill TridentX DD3-2400 MHz 2x8GB @ 1866 MHz 9-9-9-24|
|SSD||Various (See Comparison List)|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1050 Professional Series|
|Video Card||EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified|
|Cooling||EKWB Supremacy EVO Water Block–360mm Radiator–MCP35X Pump|
Our comparison samples include a couple high capacity SSDs in the Samsung 850 EVO (500 GB) and Patriot Ignite (480 GB). We’ll also include data from the Kingston HyperX Savage (240 GB) and Kingston HyperX 3K SSD (240 GB).
Each SSD is Secure Erased (SE) to make sure we get the best results possible. We do this before each and every test run to give the comparison samples the best environment possible for testing. For today’s OCZ ARC 100, we used their SSD Guru software to SE the drive before each benchmark run. Below are the tests we run with a brief description.
- Crystal Disk Mark – Run at Default Settings (5 Pass)
- AS SSD – Run at Default Settings
- ATTO – Run at Default Setting with QD Set to 10
- IOMeter 2010 – Run Manually with QD32 for the 4K Tests
As you look through the benchmark charts below, you are going to see the ARC 100 falling slightly behind the more expensive drives in the comparison group. However, it does manage to meet or exceed its advertised speeds in most cases. The ARC 100 is meant to bridge the gap between price and performance and offer a good “bang-for-the-buck.” As you’ll see below, it’s still a very speedy drive that throws out competitive performance numbers.
CrystalDiskMark, for the most part, uses random incompressible data to test read and write performance. Incompressible data testing will typically result in performance numbers a little under what manufacturers claim, which is what we see in this case. The 4K tests are noteworthy here as we don’t normally see numbers that good on value SSDs.
AS SSD is widely regarded as the toughest benchmark on SSDs as it uses 100% incompressible data samples for read and write testing, which represents the worst case scenario for obtaining data transfer speeds. Here again, we see decent 4K results from the ARC 100, and it came pretty close to advertised read/write speeds as well. The read/write access times are right on par with the other drives in the comparison list, and the AS SSD overall score is a respectable 1057.
IOMeter has the ARC 100 reaching its advertised speeds during the 2MB read/write tests and throwing some very good 4K results. The 4K IOPS testing had the ARC 100 surpassing the advertised 80K write, but it fell a little short of the advertised 75K read IOPS. Still, a pretty good showing for a drive in this class.
ATTO Disk Bench is what most manufacturers base their speed claims off of. As you can see, the ARC 100 exceeded the read speed claims with a high mark of 502 MB/s. The write test had its best result on the 64K run and topped out at 434 MB/s.
We like to perform a quick run of Anvil’s Storage Utility to see if it agrees with what we recorded above. We run the benchmark twice – once with 100% incompressible data, and then again using the 0-Fill option. The results pretty much mirror what we’ve seen in the previous benchmarks.
The OCZ ARC 100 proved to be a very capable SSD and had no problem performing as advertised. The SSD Guru software is an added plus and will definitely help you get the SSD tuned for optimal performance. The 3-year ShieldPlus warranty program is another great feature that makes dealing with any issues simple and hassle free for the end user.
Naturally, one of the most attractive things about the ARC 100 is its price. The 240 GB version we reviewed today can be had for just under $100 at Newegg, which makes it one of the least expensive options at just 41 cents per GB. At a price like that, even a budget minded system build would be a perfect home for the ARC 100 240 GB SSD. Excellent performance, a great warranty program, and a good software package in SSD Guru all add up to a value that’s tough to beat at $99. The OCZ ARC 100 is easy to recommend and is a worthy recipient of our Overclockers Approved stamp.
Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.