Before falling on hard times, OCZ had the largest consumer SSD product line up of any SSD manufacturer. OCZ's products spanned a wide range of prices, from the workstation focused Revo series, to several ultra-low priced models. At the time, flash was plentiful and it wasn't difficult securing all of the components required to make all of those parts. When Toshiba cut production and IMFT had issues transitioning from 25nm to 20nm flash, the supply dried. Without flash to build products, OCZ lost market share. For a short period of time, SSD prices actually increased after a steady decline.
OCZ Storage Solutions is now under the Toshiba umbrella, one of the few NAND flash makers with a seemingly unlimited supply of flash. Time will tell if OCZ returns to a broad range of products, but as of today, the product line increases by one.
Today OCZ announces a new low-cost consumer SSD product. The ARC 100 was designed for SSD newcomers. As an enthusiast, it's hard to fathom anyone still running on a mechanical HDD for primary storage, but we've heard rumors of those users. To help entice would-be SSD buyers, OCZ has introduced a new warranty claim service, and as you can imagine, the new ARC 100 costs less than Vertex 460 and Vector 150.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
The OCZ Storage Solutions ARC 100 Series comes in three capacity sizes - 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. All three capacity sizes use the same Indilinx Barefoot 3 SATA III to flash controller and Toshiba's new A19 MLC flash with 2-planes. Sequential read and write performance varies between all three capacity sizes with the large 480GB model sporting the highest performance numbers. Today, we're looking at the ARC 100 240GB model with 480 MB/s sequential read and 430 MB/s sequential write performance. All three models show 75K random read and 80K random write performance.
On our chart, we listed the ARC 100 with a 7mm z-height, but the drive is actually a little thinner. OCZ claims 6.7mm, but I've yet to find a product that requires anything sub-7mm, aside from a few ultrabooks that require 5mm Z-heights.
In our marketing document from OCZ, we found the MSRP list for the three capacity sizes. It's important to remember that MSRPs are suggestions and not set in stone. The 240GB model we're testing today costs 50 cents per GB, but we expect this price to drop rapidly. Products like the Crucial MX100, and a growing number of non-fab companies, have pushed prices down to very low levels. This is the market OCZ built the ARC 100 to address. Even OCZ's own Vertex 460 240GB costs just $124.99 at Newegg at the time of writing. OCZ will separate the ARC 100 from the Vertex 460, so I expect the street price of the 240GB model to be closer to $109 within a few weeks of launch.
In the introduction, we briefly mentioned OCZ's new warranty policies for the ARC 100 Series. OCZ calls the new warranty "ShieldPlus Warranty", and we see it as a major step forward for the company.
All ARC 100 SSDs are engineered and tested to ensure superior quality, reliability, and compatibility and also come backed with OCZ's brand new "ShieldPlus Warranty", an industry-leading approach to service that eliminates all the hassle surrounding support and warranty claims consumers often have to deal with. With no original proof of purchase required, end-users simply provide their ARC serial number and a dedicated OCZ customer service representative will provide high-caliber troubleshooting and support.
In the event that the product is determined to be defective, a brand-new ARC SSD of the same capacity will be advance shipped to the customer. When the replacement is received, end-users will find a prepaid return label and need only to place their original drive in the box for a free return to OCZ.
With the value added ShieldPlus Warranty there is no support hassle, no endless return loops, no shipping costs, and end-users will benefit from significantly reduced downtime to maximize their SSD experience and productivity. OCZ ShieldPlus is available in both North America and EMEA at time of launch, and additional supported regions will be announced in the future. With the security of the ARC's ShieldPlus Warranty, OCZ's valued customers will have the peace of mind that they not only have a quality solid state drive, but also the very best service and support should they ever require it.
We asked OCZ about the new warranty and learned it is not retroactive, but the company is still looking at that option for older products like Vertex 460 and Vector 150. I have to say that I really like the idea of ShieldPlus because it takes the hassle out of making a claim and also guarantees a new product and not a refurbished product.
The ARC 100 ships with a three year warranty, but it is void of an accessory package. We'll talk more about ShieldPlus in the final thoughts of this review.
PRICING: You can find the OCZ ARC 100 Series 240GB Value SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The OCZ ARC 100 Series 240GB Value SSD retails for $119.99 at Amazon.
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