The OCZ ARC 100 series is the most affordable solid-state drive (SSD) currently on the market, at the suggested retail price of just $75, $120, and $240 at launch for 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB, respectively. (Prices for the UK and Australia will be announced when it's available for purchase later this month.) You can expect the street price to be even lower.
The catch is, in my testing, the drive fell clearly behind other 2014 SSDs, such as the recently reviewed (and much more expensive) Samsung 850 Pro or the SanDisk Extreme Pro. And it has just a short three-year warranty.
That said, the OCZ drive still proved itself in my trials to have decent enough performance and sufficient features to be a great buy.
If you want to give your aging computer -- which likely still uses a regular spinning hard drive as it main storage device -- a significantly boost in performance, this is the replacement drive you've been waiting for. On the other hand, if you don't mind spending more for the fastest model available, check out this list of the top SSDs on the market.
Standard design, no accessories
The OCZ ARC 100 series is an SATA standard internal drive for laptops that uses the standard 2.5-inch design, with a thickness of 7mm. The drive is compatible for virtually any application where a regular standard SATA hard drive is used. It supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) but will work with SATA and SATA 2, too.
Unlike previous drives from OCZ, the new ARC 100 drive comes in a spartan package that includes just the drive itself. There's no software or any other accessories included, such as an SATA-to-USB adapter or even a drive-bay bracket. (A drive bay bracket makes it easier to install a 2.5-inch drive into the drive bay of a desktop computer.)
The omission of the bracket is not a deal-breaker, however. Since SSDs don't have any moving parts, you can actually leave it hanging loose inside a desktop. On the other hand, an SATA-to-USB adapter and clone software would be a great help should you want to migrate your computer from a hard drive to the new SSD.
Relatively low endurance
On the inside, the new drive is powered by OCZ's latest Barefoot 3 M10 controller and uses A19nm Multi-Level Cell (MLC) Flash memory from Toshiba. This combination allows for low pricing while still offering performance and enterprise features such as self-encryption. At the same time, the drive has a shorter endurance rating compared with those of other recent SSDs, however.
Endurance is the number of program-erase cycles an SSD can perform before you can't write to it anymore. (Read more about SSD endurance here.) OCZ claims that you can write 20GB to the new ARC 100 per day, every day for three years before it runs out of P/E cycles, just about one-fourth the endurance of the SanDisk Extreme Pro. The Samsung 850 Pro has twice the endurance ratting of the SanDisk.
In reality, the new OCZ drive's endurance is still plenty, since most of us don't write 20GB to our drives, and definitely don't do so every day. That said, if you're looking to do a lot of write-intensive tasks, such as Hi-Def movie editing, the new ARC 100 is not the drive you want.