Saturday, January 12, 2019

Kingston A1000 NVMe, UV500 SSD, and Memory Module Laptop Upgrades Review

The Holiday Season is over. And this time of year the upgrade bug can be out in full force. It could be that you got a new laptop, and want to improve it’s performance. Or it could be that you got some cash gifts over the holidays, and are looking to bump up the performance of your current laptop. Either way, RAM and SSD drives are a great way to improve your performance. And Kingston with their plethora of products has you covered.

The Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping bug got me. It was time for a new laptop, and I couldn’t resist the prices. And many of you may be like me. The new laptops have the newer NVMe slot, as well as the standard hard drive slot. Budget laptops may only come with 4 GB of RAM, maybe 8GM. They all come standard with the slow platter hard drives. But if you want to give yourself a big jump in performance with 16 GB of RAM, a large NVMe SSD primary drive, and maybe an SSD secondary drive, that is all going to come at a huge price premium. The Intel 16 GB Optane drive is a popular option to increase the performance of your platter hard drive, but it’s still a price premium. It’s much cheaper to do these upgrades yourself after you get the laptop.

This is where Kingston comes it. There can sometimes be compatibility issues. But Kingston’s website is phenomenal, and makes finding the right memory modules and drives that will work with your laptop model easy! You just select the make and model of your laptop, and it will tell you the correct memory modules, and different SSD drives that will work for your laptop, including NVMe drives if your laptop has one of those drives. With Kingston’s help, you can turn your laptop into a high performance desktop replacement, especially if your laptop has discrete graphics. Today we will be reviewing Kingston’s  KCP426SS8/8 memory modules, A1000 NVMe drive, and UV500 SSD drive.

I really love these options. 16 GB of RAM will make whatever task you are working on be really quick. Going with a NVMe primary drive, windows will load extremely fast! And going with a huge 960 GB drive, it will be big enough for not only windows, but to hold all of your programs. And they will load very quickly! Adding a secondary SSD drive, all of your multimedia flies, such as photos, music, and video, will also load very fast. Being an SSD drive, it’s also more reliable and safer then an old style platter drive.

For me, going this route was a no brainer. Few laptop manufacturers offered more than a 256 GB NVMe drive, and if they did, the cost was huge. Wanting to use the NVMe drive as my primary drive, I wanted much more than just 256 GB. I also wanted a large secondary drive for my multimedia files, and the size that I wanted was again a huge premium. The same was also true going from 8 GB to 16 GB of RAM. It was so much cheaper to do these upgrades myself. And seeing the price difference between say the 480 GB and 960 GB SSD drive, it was worth paying a little more and getting twice the storage capacity!

I was also a bit intrigued with the performance potential. The laptop deal I found came with the 16 GB Intel Optane drive. I thought I would still get a boost in performance, but I wasn’t sure how much. I knew it would be more reliable, but I wasn’t sure how much faster it would be. But having the platter 7200 RMP hard drive as well as the Intel Optane drive, I can show you what to expect. I’ll run numbers with 8 GB and just with the platter hard drive, and then what the numbers are with the Optane drive installed. Then I’ll run numbers with 16GB RAM installed and the new A1000 NVMe drive and UV500 SSD drive installed.

Features and specs:
Kinston KCP426SS8/8 Memory:
Memory Capacity
Chip Organization
Data Width
Form Factor
Memory Depth
Memory Voltage
Module Type
Operating Temperature
0°C to 85°C
260 Pin
Product Type/Family
RAM Memory Type
1R (Single Rank)
2666MHz (PC4-21300)

Form Factor: M.2 2280
PCIe NVMe™ Gen 3.0 x 2 Lanes
Capacities2: 240GB, 480GB, 960GB
Controller: Phison E8
Sequential Read/Write1:
240GB — up to 1,500/800MB/s
480GB — up to 1,500/900MB/s
960GB — up to 1,500/1,000MB/s
Random 4K Read/Write1:
240GB — up to 100,000/80,000
480GB — up to 100,000/90,000 IOPS
960GB — up to 120,000/100,000 IOPS
Power Consumption:
0.011748W Idle / 0.075623W Avg / 0.458W (MAX) Read / 0.908W (MAX) Write
80mm x 22mm x 3.5mm
Operating Temperatures:
Storage Temperatures :
240GB — 6.4g
480GB — 7g
960GB — 7.6g
Vibration Operating:
2.17G Peak (7–800Hz)
Vibration Non-Operating:
20G Peak (10–2000Hz)
Life Expectancy: 1 million hours MTBF
Limited 5-year warranty with free technical support
Total Bytes Written4:
240GB — 150TB
480GB — 300TB
960GB — 600TB

Form factor: 2.5”/M.2 2280/mSATA
SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) – with backwards compatibility to SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s)
Capacities1: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB
Controller: Marvell 88SS1074 Controller
Encryption: Encryption Support (AES 256-bit)
Sequential Read/Write2:
120GB — up to 520/320MB/s
240GB — up to 520/500MB/s
480GB — up to 520/500MB/s
960GB — up to 520/500MB/s
1.92TB — up to 520/500MB/s
Maximum 4K Read/Write2:
120GB — up to 79,000/18,000 IOPS
240GB — up to 79,000/25,000 IOPS
480GB — up to 79,000/35,000 IOPS
960GB — up to 79,000/45,000 IOPS
1.92TB — up to 79,000/50,000 IOPS
Power Consumption: 0.195W Idle / 0.5W Avg / 1.17W (MAX) Read / 2.32 W (MAX) Write
100.1mm x 69.85mm x 7mm (2.5”)
80mm x 22mm x 3.5mm (M.2)
50.8mm x 29.85mm x 4.85mm (mSATA)
Operating temperature:
Storage temperature:
120GB — 480GB — 41g (2.5”)
960GB — 57g (2.5”)
1.92TB — 52g (2.5”)
120GB — 6.6g (M.2)
240GB — 6.7g (M.2)
480GB — 7.7g (M.2)
960GB — 7.8g (M.2)
120GB — 6.2g (mSATA)
240GB — 480GB — 6.7g (mSATA)
Vibration operating:
2.17G Peak (7–800Hz)
Vibration non-operating:
20G Peak (10–2000Hz)
Life expectancy: 1 million hours MTBF
Limited 5-year warranty with free technical support
Total Bytes Written (TBW)4:
120GB — 60TB
240GB — 100TB
480GB — 200TB
960GB — 480TB
1.92TB — 800TB
The two 8 GB RAM modules came in a simple molded plastic holder with a clear plastic cover. The A1000 NVMe SSD Drive also came in a similar holder. Both came with the small manual, and the A1000 NVMe drive also came with a software key. The UV500 SSD drive came in a nice upgrade kit with a color printed box with photos and specs of the drive. Opening the box revealed a well protected drive held in a cardboard holder. Also included was an external case, a desktop drive bay mount, and power and data cables. Owners manual and product key was also included. The memory modules as well as the A1000 NVMe and UV500 SSD drives were all extremely well made.

Installation was very simple. Once the bottom cover of my laptop was off, it was easy to install the new memory modules, A1000 NVMe drive and UV500 SSD drives. The memory modules were spring loaded. Pulling out on the metal holder released it and it popped up. I just pulled out the stock module, slid in both of the new modules, pressed them down and they locked into place. For the A1000 NVMe drive, one end was held in the socket, and the other end was held in place by a small screw. Uninstalling the Intel Optane drive was as simple as taking out the screw which popped up the Optane drive, and then just pulling it out of the socket. Installing the new A1000 NVMe drive was done in reverse order.

One of the great things about both the A1000 NVMe drive as well as the UV500 SSD drive, is the inclusion of the product key, which is for an OEM version of the Acronis True Image software. The software allows you to make a backup copy of your hard drive, as well as make a clone copy of your hard drive. Being able to make a clone copy is what had me really excited. Thanks to the software, it made upgrading hard drives very easy. With the new A1000 NVMe drive installed, I downloaded and installed the software, made a clone copy of my hard drive and had it loaded onto my new A1000 NVMe drive.

It was now time to test. Windows seemed to load ok with the clone version loaded on the new hard drive. Disconnecting my slow platter drive and restarting windows confirmed that the clone copy took perfectly. Now I was able to install the UV500 SSD drive as my secondary drive, in the spot my platter drive was in. After restarting windows and seeing the UV500 SSD drive was installed, it was time to shut down, screw down the back panel, and run some numbers. Now let’s see how it all performs!

I read good things of the Intel Optane drive, and it did impress. I was able to get windows to load very fast! As expected, using just the 7200 RPM platter drive: well..... it crawled. I was pleased to see the Kingston A1000 NVMe drive performed even better than the Intel Optane drive. Windows didn’t load a whole lot faster, but it was faster. And you can see from the numbers that the Kingston drive was up to 50% faster than the Optane drive. And when you compare the Kingston drive to the platter hard drive; well, it’s painful.

If you can do your own upgrades, that’s where you get the most bang for the buck. My laptop was a Walmart Black Friday online special. Looking at HP’s website, if I were to configure it myself with what I wanted, going from the Optane drive to a 256 GB NVMe drive was a $180 upgrade. And there was no option to change the platter drive to an SSD drive. Kingston’s 240 GB NVMe drive is only $60. But the 960 GB version is only $220. Going from 8 GB of RAM to 16 GB through HP was $160, while 2 sticks of 8 GB through Kingston is only $75 each. And the Kingston UV500 SSD drive upgrade kit was only $215.00.

If you want the best performance for your laptop, you will want to upgrade to more RAM, to the faster NVMe drive, and SSD secondary drive. You get a bigger bang for your buck doing the upgrades yourself. And Kingston has you covered with their A1000 NVMe drive, UV500 SSD drive and their memory modules. Based on their design, features, quality and performance they have earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs check out their website at