They're baaaaccccckkkk! Let's get historical for a moment. Everyone I know owned an OCZ Vertex. The same can be said about the Vertex 2, and especially the Vertex 3. It didn't matter what other companies were selling, OCZ set the benchmark and everyone else followed. If you didn't own a Vertex 1, 2 or 3, then you were saving up for one. That's just the way it was, period. A product doesn't get icon status based on performance alone. All three of those drives had the right mix of performance, accessories and price at the exact moment when everything needed to come together. I think OCZ's new ARC 100 is the next iconic OCZ SSD. This is kind of like Intel Celeron 300A CPU territory for the modern age.
Here is the breakdown on why I'm predicting this. The first thing is the performance. Firstly, OCZ quoted low numbers to show separation between ARC 100 and Vertex 460. 4-corner numbers are great for paper, but the reason we don't stress them is because they are not representative of real-world performance. In your computer, you will not see a difference between Vector 150 and ARC 100 outside of a pure enterprise workload. Neither drive is the fastest on the market today, but price vs. performance is in the ARC 100's favor no matter what drive you compare it to.
This drive only has a three year warranty, but that really doesn't matter much to our normal enthusiast audience. If a drive is going to fail for anything other than flash endurance, it will happen early in its life. The ARC 100 is covered for 20GB of writes per day for three years. If you are writing 20GB a day on a consistent basis, I applaud you - your torrent collection is deep.
Let's set the warranty length aside and focus on ShieldPlus Warranty part. The bar was down there and now it is up here. ShieldPlus takes the pain out of an RMA. Before, warranties on the East Coast would take weeks. Shipping a drive ground or USPS Priority takes 3 to 6 days, and then it has to process for a day or two, and finally your drive would come back 3 to 6 days later.
OCZ isn't cross shipping, they are shipping. Step 1 is determining if an RMA is required, and step 2 is shipping. You get your drive, a box, and a prepaid label to send your defective drive. It's an enterprise warranty. I don't mean enterprise DRAM or little parts, I mean big iron stuff like servers and $20,000 switches. The process was designed to reduce downtime and inconvenience. It's brilliant.
In the image above, we see the MSRPs. ARC 100 was listed on Amazon several days ago, but not available for shipping. The prices are identical to the MSRPs listed above, and at that price, the ARC 100 is solid. I don't think they will stay that way for too long, though. Several SSD manufacturers have 256GB drives listed at $109.99, and I don't think OCZ can help itself. I could be wrong, but I think OCZ will hunt the other drives like a shark feeding on seals.
OCZ doesn't even need to play the price war, though. ARC 100 is the best value on the market. This is not a value drive, this is an enthusiast class SSD at a value price. The only thing OCZ could have done better is give new-to-SSD buyers some accessories. Enthusiasts already have desktop adapter brackets and computer cases with 2.5" form factor support. A desktop adapter bracket would go a long way, but I think a SATA cable would be even better. OCZ's target market for ARC 100 is the new to SSD crowd and in that group you have systems from Dell, HP and so on, many without spare SATA cables. If you are searching Google and find this review, be sure to order a SATA cable, because if you buy one at Best Buy, it's going to cost you 15x what it would from Newegg or Amazon.
PRICING: You can find the OCZ ARC 100 240GB 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 240GB SSD retails for $119.99 at Amazon.
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