Kingston Switches NAND in V300, Negatively Impacts Performance
Posted on March 10, 2014 8:30 AM by Robert Tanner
It’s understandable for an SSD manufacturer to change NAND suppliers during the lifespan of select models. In fact, it is a fairly common practice in the budget segment of the market where even a small difference in supply costs can make a large difference on the bottom line. It can also occur when NAND production shrinks to a new node and OEMs need to update models to newer generation flash NAND, although lately the preferred trend has been to introduce a newer model.
When this happens the performance differences are fairly minor and aren’t noteworthy, but unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Kingston’s V300. Forum posts began popping up at least six months back about subpar performance from newly purchases drives. The numbers are fairly drastic, with some AS SSD screenshots showing an almost flat 60% loss in performance for random and sequential operations.
We reviewed the Kingston V300 and at the time recommended it based on its price/performance value proposition, however with these confirmed changes we would be negligent to not update our review so buyers can be aware of these changes. Given the current levels of performance we can’t help but recommend prospective SSD buyers strongly consider an alternative SSD at the current V300 prices.
For those curious for the more technical explanation, as mentioned in our review, the original V300 stood out as it featured Toggle-based NAND which is the quickest version. The other two in order of performance are synchronous, and then asynchronous NAND. Newly manufactured V300’s are confirmed to have switched to Micron 20nm asynchronous flash memory which changes the theoretical NAND interface bandwidth from 200MB/s to roughly 50MB/s. That’s a 75% reduction in potential bandwidth which jives with the nearly across-the-board 60% loss of performance seen in some AS SSD screenshots.
The performance alone isn’t why we are writing this news article. If it was simply a new model it would have to compete on price just like any other. The issue is Kingston has pulled a bait-and-switch with its consumers and is using the good reception and year of mostly positive consumer reviews to sell the newly hobbled V300. What’s even worse is that it is doing so without updating the advertised performance of the new Micron 20nm asynchronous NAND V300’s, performance that is now impossible for the drives to even come close to achieving. Not updating the V300’s performance and selling them using the old performance numbers is not just misleading the consumer, that is actually closer to fraud. At this point the only thing we can say when it comes to Kingston’s SSDs is caveat emptor.