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CrystalDiskMark — transfer rates
TR regulars will notice that we've trimmed a few tests from our usual suite of storage results. The drives were all benchmarked in the same way, but we've excluded the results for tests that have grown problematic or less relevant over time. This abbreviated format should be a little easier to digest until our next-gen storage suite is ready.

First, we'll tackle sequential performance with CrystalDiskMark. This test runs on partitioned drives with the benchmark's default 1GB transfer size and randomized data.

We've color-coded the results to make the OCZ drives—and the Arc 100—easier to pick out of the fray. OCZ sent us the 240GB version of the Arc, which sells for only about five bucks more than Crucial's MX100 256GB. Since the MX100 is our favorite budget SSD, we've also colored the results for that drive. We'll be watching the battle between it and the Arc 100 closely.

Not counting the mechanical drives, which represent a whole other class of PC storage, the Arc 100 has the slowest sequential read speed of the bunch. There's apparently no need to worry about it bumping into the limits of the Serial ATA interface.

The Arc 100 is more competitive in the sequential write speed test, where it beats the equivalent MX100 and a bunch of other SSDs. However, OCZ's latest budget contender is still behind the bulk of the field, including drives based on the same Barefoot silicon.

HD Tune — random access times
Next, we'll turn our attention to random access times. We used HD Tune to measure access times across multiple transfer sizes. SSDs have near-instantaneous seek times, so it's hard to graph the results on the same scale as mechanical drives. The WD Black and Seagate SSHD will sit out this round to focus our attention on the SSDs.

In most of these tests, the differences amount to tiny fractions of a millisecond. You're probably not going to notice.

The field spreads out a bit more in the 1MB random write test, though, and the Arc 100 takes full advantage. It's quicker than both the MX100 256GB and the other OCZ offerings. Didn't see that one coming. Perhaps the Arc's A19 NAND is responsible.