Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kingston SSDNow V300

Today we're reviewing the SSDNow V300 drive from Kingston. You might be familiar with the SSDNow line. If you are, great. If not, SSDNow is the line for consumer, business and enterprise SSD's from Kingston. This particular drive spans the consumer and the business market. Its primary target is to be an affordable SSD, but what's unique about this drive is not only its price point but its speed. The box clearly states 450MB/s read and write speeds. If they can pull that off and hit an attractive price point for your average consumer (not just the enthusiasts) then Kingston will have a gem on their hands.


Form factor 2.5"
Interface SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) – with backwards compatibility to SATA Rev. 2.0
Capacities 60GB, 120GB, 240GB
Sequential Reads SATA Rev. 3.0 up to: 450MB/s
Sequential Writes SATA Rev. 3.0 up to: 450MB/s
Maximum Random 4k Read/Write
    60GB — up to 85,000/ up to 60,000 IOPS
    120GB — up to 85,000/ up to 55,000 IOPS
    240GB — up to 85,000/ up to 43,000 IOPS
PCMARK® Vantage HDD Suite Score
    60GB: 39,000
    120GB: 49,000
    240GB: 57,000
Power Consumption 0.640 W Idle / 1.423 W Read / 2.052 W Write
Storage temperatures -40°C~85°C
Operating temperatures 0°C~70°C
Dimensions 69.8mm x 100.1mm x 7mm
Weight 86g
Vibration operating 2.17G Peak (7–800Hz)
Vibration non-operating 20G Peak (10–2000Hz)
Life expectancy 1 million hours MTBF
Warranty/support three-year warranty with free technical support
Total Bytes Written (TBW)
    60GB: 32TB
    120GB: 64TB
    240GB: 128TB

It's always nice to see a company stand behind their product and Kingston continues that tradition with this drive. If you read through all the specs you can see we definitely have a solid piece of hardware to put to the test.

The SSD's controller plays a very important role in the overall performance of the drive. Similar to what we've seen before, the SSDNow V300 uses the SF-2281 FSP. LSI SandForce's SF-2281 FSP compresses the data it stores. Incompressible or random data will affect how the drive performs. Random data cannot be compressed, so a controller that compresses its data will see a performance hit when dealing with this type of data. A couple of file types which fall into this category are compressed images and movies. If you plan to install your OS on this drive you're in good shape. Most OS files are easily compressed and they will perform at optimum speeds with the SF-2281 FSP. We'll take a deeper look at that in the benchmarks.

Memory Type
The SSDNow V300 drive uses Toshiba's latest 19nm MLC Toggle Mode NAND flash memory. We're excited to see how well this new memory will perform. If the packaging is any indication then we're in for a treat. The Kingston SF-2281 FSP alongside this new memory from Toshiba will be an interesting combination. The question I'm sure you're all asking by now is how well an older FSP will work when paired with this new memory. We'll get to that in just a moment.

The Setup
I will be using three benchmarking tools which should be familiar to you: AS SSD, ATTO and Crystal Disk Mark. Each of these tools give us a variation of data which helps paint a better picture of what performance we can expect from a drive. AS SSD and Crystal Disk Mark both use incompressible random data for their tests while ATTO uses compressible data to test the drive's performance.

AS SSD Benchmark

Right away we can see that the SSDNow V300 is a really fast drive. The read speeds are a significant improvement on the older SSDNow V+200 we reviewed. The write speeds suffer as we previously mentioned. AS SSD Benchmark uses incompressible random data which is why we are seeing the write speeds suffer in performance.

Crystal Disk Mark

Crystal Disk Mark shows very similar results. We have extremely fast read speeds and our write speeds are suffering once again. CDM also uses incompressible random data which explains these results. Keep in mind important files like OS files will not suffer from this dip in performance when writing to the drive. Using this drive as your daily driver for the OS will still be a huge performance increase from a standard HDD or even older SSD's like Kingston's SSDNow V+200 drive.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

Here we see the other side of the coin. ATTO Disk Benchmark does not use incompressible random data for their benchmarks and if you click the image to see the larger version you will clearly see we achieve read speeds of about 556 MB/s and write speeds of about 532 MB/s. So what does all of this mean? To put it simply, this drive is fast. We expected good results, but we were not prepared for the jaw dropping 100 MB/s above the labeled read and write speeds of the drive. This puts it well within the performance of higher end drives like we've seen in Kingston's HyperX line.

The Kingston SSDNow V300 120 GB drive which we're reviewing today can be purchased from currently for $104.99. That's basically 87 cents per GB. There are other sizes available which we listed in the specifications above. Overall I am very pleased with the superior performance this drive delivers for such a low price point. I would not hesitate to purchase this drive as my primary SSD for the OS. You will not find a better drive for this price. There are certainly faster storage options out there, but I doubt you will find any that come close to this performance at 87 cents per GB. If you're looking for a cost effective upgrade to an older computer, this is the drive for you. If you just bought a laptop and you want to get a quick performance gain out of it, this is a good solution. So many computers take a performance hit because they have HDD's for their primary OS drive. This is the perfect cost effective solution and Kingston nailed it! The SSDNow V300's performance, innovation and price point have earned it our Highly Recommended award.