Techgage logo

Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB

Date: February 15, 2010
Author(s): Robert Tanner

A couple of weeks ago, Kingston announced a revision to its V+ series of SSDNow drives. In addition to a brand-new controller from Toshiba being utilized, along with Toshiba NAND, the new V+ drives support TRIM right out of the box. This, along with good pricing and excellent performance, make the latest V+ drives well-worth looking out for.



Introduction

TRIM support has always been the holy grail for solid-state drives. The problem today, though, is that most SSDs now offer it. So, that one-of-a-kind holy grail is not looking quite so holy any longer. At Techgage, we only recommend an SSD if it includes TRIM support, and thankfully, after the slight setback with its 40GB drives, Kingston is releasing a completely new model lineup with TRIM support built-in.

Somewhat unusual is the controller, however, as instead of featuring an Intel, Samsung, Indilinx, or (heaven forbid) a JMicron controller, Kingston has discovered a new player in the SSD market, Toshiba.

We can only speculate that other SSD manufacturers will shortly be launching Toshiba-based units of their own, but today Kingston is first out of the gate using Toshiba’s controller in everything from 30GB to 512GB sized drives! This controller is relatively unknown at this point, so we can’t get too specific on how it functions or what areas the controller was optimized for.

As a short spoiler, we will say that this new controller has made quite an awe-inspiring first impression! The Kingston SSDNow V+ “325” series features this new controller, and to help keep things straight we’ve updated our quick chart below. Only the SNVP325 models use the Toshiba controller.

Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB

Series
Model
Class
TRIM
Controller
Density (GBs)
Price
SSDNow E
SNE125
Enterprise
No
Intel (Gen 1)
32 – 64
~$380+
SSDNow M
SNM125
Mainstream
No
Intel (Gen 1)
80 – 160
Discontinued
SSDNow M
SNM225
Mainstream
Yes
Intel (Gen 2)
80 – 160
~$250+
SSDNow V+
SNVP325
Value+
Yes
Toshiba
64 – 512
~$200 (64GB)
SSDNow V+
SNV225
Value+
No
Samsung
128 – 256
~$350+
SSDNow V
SNV125
Value
No
JMicron
64 – 128
~$149+
SSDNow V
SNV125
Value
No
Intel
40
Discontinued

S2 models include just a barebone drive, but S2B drives are the “bundle” models that include the complete installation kit. This kit includes everything from adapters to SATA cable to including a metal pair of brackets to install the SSD into a typical 3.5″ drive bay for roughly $10 more. Something new however has been the addition of a portable 2.5″ USB enclosure to make transporting the Kingston SSD as simple as transporting any other portable drive, which we will cover in a moment.

As with other Kingston drives the housing is aluminum, not plastic, which gives the unit a nice solid feel. As with most other SSDs, the form factor is the same 2.5″ we’ve come to expect, requiring an adapter before it can be securely installed into a typical drive bay, which Kingston thoughtfully provides as part of their “desktop upgrade kit”.

Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB

Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB

This kit includes everything one needs to install a new SSD into any computer, except perhaps the screwdriver. Of particular note is the 2.5″ to 3.5″ metal bracket and the plastic mini-USB case that will quickly turn any 2.5″ SSD into a convenient, portable drive. For anyone that has experienced the misfortune of discovering how fragile portable hard disk drives can be, they can see the positives in having the option to carry around a more rugged, durable flash-based drive instead.

Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB

We opened the unit as to get the details on the NAND chips and Toshiba controller, but to our surprise we found that the PCB was stuck firm to part of the housing. It turns out Toshiba elected to use a single, large thermal adhesive pad potentially for this very reason, as during testing the drive did not even get warm. In the interests of not ruining the sample drive before it was benchmarked we elected to not force the issue.

Drive Internals; Test System & Methodology

At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate and real-world applicable as possible. We list most of the steps and processes involved in setting up and conducting our benchmarking process below, but in the interests of brevity we can’t mention every last detail. If there is any pertinent information that we’ve inadvertently omitted or you have any thoughts, suggestions, or critiques, then please feel free to email us or post directly in our forums. This site exists for readers like you and we value your input.

The table below lists the hardware used in our current storage-testing machine, which remains unchanged throughout all of our testing, with the obvious exception of the storage device. Each drive used for the sake of comparison is also listed here.

Component
Techgage Hard Drive Test System
Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 – 2.4GHz Quad-Core
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4
Memory
4GB Corsair 800MHz CAS 4
Graphics
Foxconn 8800 GTS 320MB
Audio
On-Board Audio
Storage
Intel X25-M G1 80GB
Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB
Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB
OCZ Summit 60GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB
Power Supply
PC Power & Cooling Quad Silencer 750W
Cooling
Arctic Freezer 7 Pro
Et cetera
Lite-on DVD-RW
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit


Our Windows 7 Desktop for SSD Testing

When preparing our SSD testbed for testing we follow these guidelines:

All solid-state drives start in a factory fresh or HDDErase fresh state prior to testing. Windows 7 is manually installed and then SYSmark 2007 Preview is installed. Due to the nature of SYSmark, Windows 7 must be reinstalled upon completion of testing in order for many programs to function normally and benchmark consistently. As not all SSDs support TRIM technology, this process is important and ensures all of the drives are in a “dirtied” state before we collect the benchmark results.

For the time-being, cloned test images are not used as these can result in non-aligned partitions, which if it occurs will result in degraded SSD performance. Just as with Windows XP’s default sector offset causing degraded SSD performance, non-intelligent cloning software can have the same effect.

For testing, we ran all tests five times, dropping the highest and lowest results to finally average the middle three. And who said that college statistics class wouldn’t prove useful? If any anomalous results were seen, the test was run again. Given the complexities of modern computers, and especially today’s operating systems, we feel this provides the most accurate results possible.

Finally, we are seeking to constantly improve and expand upon our SSD testing methodology. We are activity seeking real-world workload scenarios that are bottlenecked by hard drives, so if you have any suggestions whatsoever or there is a program you would like to see included in our SSD content, then please drop by our forums and let us know! We are always looking to expand our SSD benchmarks and provide more useful and real-world results, and not just synthetic numbers.

Synthetic: PCMark Vantage

There are few PC enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the name “Futuremark”, as the Finland-based developer has been producing quality benchmarks to help us gauge our computer’s worth for years. Originally known as Madonion, Futuremark has expanded its focus to go beyond its bread and butter, graphics and gaming, and tackle other areas, such as full system performance. That’s where PCMark comes into play.

The company’s most recent addition to the PCMark family is Vantage. For most users, a full suite would be run, but because we’re focused on storage performance only, we instead run only the storage-specific tests. Fortunately, Futuremark makes this easy for us to do as it has split up the entire suite into seven separate sub-tests, one being the aptly named “HDD Suite”.

PCMark’s HDD Suite may look simple on the surface, but it’s actually quite exhaustive. While the benchmark does deliver a simple “overall” result, it actually tests I/O performance based on a variety of scenarios, from adding music to Windows Media Player, to loading applications in succession, to editing video, to running a malware scanner, and more. It even includes metrics to evaluate a simulated Windows Vista boot time, so Futuremark has done a fine job of combining many useful scenarios into a single button press.

The first generation X25 takes the overall Vantage score, but the 128GB Kingston is not far behind. What IS far behind is the hard disk drive when we focus on the HDD subtest score. With scores that are almost six times higher than a typical SATA 3Gbit/s desktop hard drive, almost any SSD begins to look appealing here in comparison to the beleaguered hard drive.

As we noted previously, the X25 results are a bit on the low side here, most likely due to the extensive dirty condition of the drive was in. Despite the same conditioning, the Summit does well here with it’s strong sequential write speeds, and unfortunately, the Toshiba controller is able to offer even higher sequential write speeds above the rest of the drives in this review, helping it to place well in many tests.

Synthetic: Iometer & AS SSD

Iometer 2006.07.27

Originally developed by Intel, and since given to the open-source community, Iometer (pronounced “eyeawmeter”, like thermometer) is one of the best storage-testing applications available, for a couple of reasons. The first, and primary, is that it’s completely customizable, and if you have a specific workload you need to hit a drive with, you can easily accomplish it here. Also, the program delivers results in IOPS (input/output operations per second), a common metric used in enterprise and server environments.

The level of customization cannot be understated. Aside from choosing the obvious figures, like chunk sizes, you can choose the percentage of the time that each respective chunk size will be used in a given test. You can also alter the percentages for read and write, and also how often either the reads or writes will be random (as opposed to sequential). I’m just touching the surface here, but what’s most important is that we’re able to deliver a consistent test on all of our drives, which increases the accuracy in our results.

Because of the level of control Iometer offers, we’ve created profiles for three of the most popular workloads out there: Database, File Server and Workstation. Database uses chunk sizes of 8KB, with 67% read, along with 100% random coverage. File Server is the more robust of the group, as it features chunk sizes ranging from 512B to 64KB, in varying levels of access, but again with 100% random coverage. Lastly, Workstation focuses on 8KB chunks with 80% read and 80% random coverage.

Because these profiles aren’t easily found on the Web, with the same being said about the exact structure of each, we’re hosting the software here for those who want to benchmark their own drives with the exact same profiles we use. That ZIP archive (~3.5MB) includes the application and the three profiles in an .icf file.

Ironically, despite Iometer being created before SSDs even were around, the nature of these tests are going to inherently favor them due to their rapid, near instantaneous access times. Scenarios such as these are pretty much the bane of hard drives and illustrate why 15,000RPM SCSI drives exist. The large number of tiny, mostly random read and random write file operations will also be the anathema of any SSD controller that was designed primarily for large sequential read & write performance. Unfortunately, the Summit happens to use one of those very controllers, although in its defense, this is because Samsung chose to optimize their controllers for large sequential writes.

We can clearly see that the Toshiba controller shares this in common with the Samsung controller, although it performs much better, slotting between it and the X25. And if you think these results are unfavorable, just take another look at those hard drive numbers one more time by comparison…

AS SSD

As the name might hint, AS SSD is a nifty little program written exclusively for SSDs. It can be run on mechanical hard drives, but be warned that what should take minutes will take over an hour to benchmark! This handy little tool provides several read/write tests at important file sizes, but also includes a benchmark to simulate the transfer of three types of large files.

We selected this program for its precision, ability to generate large file sizes on the fly, and that it is written to bypass Windows 7’s automatic caching system. The tool does not bypass any onboard cache.

The 128GB V+ series Kingston performs well in the large sequential read test, although it fares less well with the dreaded 4KB file size tests. For the write tests, the Summit’s optimization for sequential writes comes to the surface, but Toshiba has apparently done the same. With a manufacturer-rated sequential write speed of 180MB/s, the Kingston drive comes respectively close to leaving the other drives in the dust. Again, the picture is less rosy when looking at small 4KB files, which are unfortunately the type of file most often used on a modern OS. Even if a file is <4KB, it must use an entire 4KB sector of the flash page to store the file.

Access times are critical to the responsiveness and feel of the system, and this graph says exactly why hard drives are considered the slowest part of a modern computer! Lastly, with the copy test, the Toshiba drive puts its advantage in large sequential writes to use to again pull ahead of the pack.

Synthetic: SYSmark 2007 Preview

Synthetic benchmarks have typically been favored for performance testing, but the results they provide can be fairly abstract, and the methods they use to assign their scores can be dubious at times. By contrast, real-world application benchmarks provide performance metrics that apply directly to real-world usage, and we endeavor to apply both in our performance comparisons.

SYSmark 2007 Preview from BAPCO is a special case, because its synthetic scores are derived from tests in real-world applications. However, we still believe that synthetic benchmarking scores are best used to directly compare the performance of one piece of hardware to another, and not for developing an impression of real-world performance expectations. SYSmark is more useful than most synthetic benchmarking programs in our opinion, because its tests emulate tasks that people actually perform, in actual software programs that they are likely to use.

The benchmark is hands-free, using scripts to execute all of the real-world scenarios identically, such as video editing in Sony Vegas and image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. At the conclusion of the suite of tests, five scores are delivered: an E-learning score, a Video Creation score, a Productivity score, and a 3D Performance score, as well as an aggregated ‘Overall’ score. These scores can still be fairly abstract, and are most useful for direct comparisons between test systems.

A quick note on methodology: SYSmark 2007 requires a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit to run optimally. Before any testing is conducted, the hard drive is first wiped clean, and then a fresh Windows installation is conducted, then lastly, the necessary hardware drivers are installed.

SYSmark is a program that tests the entire computer’s performance based on four areas and then uses those results to assign a final overall score. In a surprise move, the SSDNow V+ series drive edges out even Intel’s first generation SSD that offers faster small file operations! According to BAPco, differences of 3 points in the score are supposed to be meaningful, so with just one point of difference it’s safe to say the X25 G1 and Toshiba are tied in this one, while all of our SSDs are in another country compared to the typical hard drive.

Synthetic: HD Tune Pro 3.5, HD Tach RW3

HD Tune Pro 3.5

HD Tune has long been one of our favorite storage benchmarks, thanks in part to its ease-of-use, and its ability to deliver consistent results (which is obviously important). Since we are using HD Tune on storage devices that also house our OS, we’re unable to test the write performance, so here, we stick to both Read and Access Times.

While the results seem less-than-stellar at first glance, in comparison to the mechanical disk all the solid-state drives faired particularly well in HD Tune’s tough small file size tests. Latency, otherwise known as access times for small file operations, are very important for SSDs. The Toshiba controller in the 128GB Kingston drive performs well, offering the highest read transfer times while struggling a bit as the file sizes decrease. While not a clean sweep, the drive does edge out the rest in the access times for an overall impressive showing.

HD Tach RW/3

HD Tach is a similar program to HD Tune, and although it hasn’t been updated in a few years, the program is still decent for testing SSDs. It offers a different method for calculating burst rates as well as offering access time measurements below 0.1ms, which is unfortunately the limit for HD Tune.

Until then, we have to make do with the current program which offers a different way of measuring burst transfer rates as compared to HD Tune. Here the Toshiba controller does very well almost tying the Intel drive for performance while posting a more than acceptable 0.2ms latency.

Real-World: File Transfers, Batch Tests, Adobe Lightroom

File Transfers

For this test we took a 7.16Gb Dual-layer DVD image and timed how long was required to transfer it to a different 10GB partition created on the same drive. Keep in mind with a hard disk, this requires the actuator arm to seek back and forth between the source and destination sectors of the disk platter, while any SSD can instantly read and write to multiple flash chips at once.

Here the results were mind-blowingly quick with just a minute and 23 seconds required to transfer the entire file! Only the Summit is similarly optimized for sequential file writes but even it cannot offer as high the throughput as the Toshiba controller is able to manage here.

Batch Tests

This test is perhaps the most important in our battery of benchmarks as it gives real-world results. It is designed to simulate three kinds of multi-tasking scenarios in order to see how well the storage drive can cope with concurrent workloads. The better a drive performs here, the quicker and more responsive it will make the computer seem during normal everyday usage. It shouldn’t need to be said that this is where SSDs shine and where traditional HDD bottlenecks are most directly experienced.

In addition to stressing the controller with a demanding heavy queue depth workload to sort through, this test will give any weak controller a complete panic attack by overwhelming it with simultaneous random read/write operations to juggle with large sequential writes, which is the Achilles’ heel of many cheaper SSDs.

Queue depth optimization has long been a strength of Intel’s own SSDs, however, there is enough differing types of workloads here that regardless of drive, every SSD should see some part of the workload playing to its own unique strengths in some fashion. A good-quality SSD should allow the system to remain responsive as the tasks are carried out in the background at all times. (Please for your own safety don’t try this at home on your HDD!)

Our Medium test consists of the following:

Our Heavy test consists of all-the-above in addition to a full Anti-Virus scan occurring concurrently in the background. The AV scan uses a static, unchanging 5.1GB test folder that contains 19,748 files and 2,414 sub-folders created from both Program Files directories!

Granted, even with a Core i7 processor, no computer user would be performing all of these tasks concurrently unless they wish to see their computer go unresponsive for up to 30 minutes at a time, but with an SSD, this is almost child’s play! If you think we are exaggerating, then just look at what a fairly typical SATA HDD was able to offer, which is a representative sample for any other desktop HDD.

Last but not least, the Light test changes things slightly. This test is a batch file designed to execute several programs as soon as Windows 7 boots to the desktop. This light test will open four websites in Firefox, load five images in Photoshop CS4, start playing our favorite 56MB FLAC music file in Winamp, and open a single large Word, Excel, and Powerpoint document, in addition to a single PDF file. For this specific light test in particular we start measuring from the moment the power button is pressed to the moment the last program and all files have been fully loaded ready for use.

Starting with the simple light test, all of the SSDs are able to boot to Windows 7 64-bit and load all the programs in just over one minute. In the time required for a regular hard disk drive computer to boot, it is possible for an SSD to boot and have fully loaded a multitude of programs and files, as the nearly two and a half minutes for the HDD clearly shows, versus the 68 and 69 seconds for the SSDNow drives.

For the medium scenario we start to separate the men from the boys, but unfortunately for the rest of our drives, the Toshiba-based V+ 128GB SSD drive pulls out an extremely surprising, impressive lead against all the other drives! In four-and-a-half minutes, the Kingston SNVP325 128GB drive is completing the entire workload while keeping the system responsive, friendly to use, and stutter-free!

Requiring close to double the time (7:27), the Intel G1 drive is clearly showing both its write bottleneck of 80MB/s and its lack of TRIM support, yet the competition fairs even worse. The now discontinued 40GB V series drive only has half of the normal 10 flash channels and this, as well as the small drive capacity, limit it to a time more than double that (9:11) of the V+ series 128GB SSD! For those like me that are too lazy to do the math, the outclassed mechanical hard disk drive completes the identical scenario in not quite 14 minutes. A time of 4:26 versus 13:53… are you starting to see the advantage of an SSD yet?

To make things even more interesting we threw in a long anti-virus scan for the heavy test but the workload has not otherwise changed and mirrors that of the medium testing scenario. As with our other tests the results remain fairly consistent (or consistently bad, depending on your drive of choice) although we must make special mention of the Toshiba controller here. Most likely thanks to its TRIM support, this drive posts the most consistent and reliable results by far, without any obvious choking under the extreme workload.

As if to prove the point that “value” does not always mean poor performance, again the Kingston SSDNow V+ series drive walks away from all of our other test drives! We really wish we had an Intel G2 drive or Indilinx-based Vertex just to see how well one of these two TRIM-capable drives would fare here! Nonetheless, amongst these drives the TRIM capable 128GB Kingston SSD is superior and the clear choice, putting in a time of 7:24. This time is actually three seconds faster than the first generation Intel X25 drive did in the medium test! Clearly, the time of Intel’s first generation SSDs has passed by.

For those users wondering how well a standard hard drive fared, yes you are reading that right. While the best SSD required 7:24 to complete, the HDD managed a not-so-impressive 23:42, or three times longer to complete the same workload.

The limitations of mechanical hard drives should be a bit more clear after seeing these numbers, but there is one more point to make. Just like with every extra few cars in the wrong place can make that morning traffic jam all the more worse, with every additional task the hard drive takes significantly longer to complete all previous tasks it was attempting to perform, showing the HDD has become completely saturated and has no room left for additional performance.

We should add that the hard disk drive would frequently balk and refuse to open random files as it became overwhelmed; it simply could not keep up with such a high workload queue, not to mention the computer became unusable until most of the tasks had completed. Also, while most SSDs lost their super-snappy, instant gratification results, unlike with the HDD the system always remained responsive and work could still be done in the background. The Toshiba-controller is no slouch and gave us a very responsive computer that was clearly struggling less under the barrage of file operations. In fact we would be hard-pressed to even care if we had to use the computer with the Heavy scenario running in the background, it’s just that good.

What to take away from this is even with the most brutal of scenarios, it is that SSDs that are best suited for heavy multi-tasking and quite capable of handling any sort of workload you wish to throw at them. Or simply every type of workload at once, it is up to you. It isn’t drive throughput that matters as much as small, random read/write throughput which is a completely different animal. And, with an SSD installed, there is no longer any excuse for not having an anti-virus program installed. ;-)

Adobe Lightroom 2.5

For this test we utilize 500 large RAW files, and import them into Lightroom. We time how long it takes the program to import the files, cache them, and build the image library.

Somewhat interesting is that the results are split into two main categories here with the Summit only able to tie the hard drive, while the other drives clump together under the 3 minute mark. It appears the Lightroom test is not demanding enough, and another system component (likely the CPU) has become the bottleneck here rather than the storage drives with our faster SSDs here. Remember, Lightroom only utilizes two cores when loading and creating its image library, so it is not fully utilizing our quad-core CPU, either.

Real-World: Windows Experience, Boot Times, Game Level Loading

Windows Experience

This is a test that any Windows 7 user can perform on their own system without needing to download anything. For those curious, Vista should allow the same, but we can’t guarantee the results will be directly comparable due to changes made in the WinSAT program. To run the program, hit the Windows Key + R at the same time, and type cmd into the run box. In the command prompt window type (or right-click and paste) the following without quotes: “cd c:windowssystem32” and hit enter. Once there input, again without quotes: “winsat disk -drive c -ran -write -count 10” and enter again.

This command runs a small portion of the Windows Experience Index’s drive assessment, specifically it uses small random writes and calculates how fast in MB/s the drive can sustain it. As we mentioned before with the HD Tune results, regardless of what drive is in question, its actual performance depends on what file size is being referred to. The smaller the file size, generally the lower the performance for a hard disk drive. So again, the small random file writes will be brutal.

That said the Kingston SSDNow V+ series completely walks away with this test and shows what a real SSD can do by almost reaching its rated write speed of 180MB/s! This is partially how this drive managed to fare so well in our Batch File tests.

Boot Time

For the boot test, we perform a cold boot, with the stopwatch starting the moment the power button is pressed until the last systray icon has finished loading. A large number of factors can change how fast a computer boots, from motherboard to just the BIOS configuration, so these times should not be used as an expectation of how fast the SSD will boot in your respective system. With some newer motherboards condensing the time taken in the boot process, boot times could reach significantly lower than these.

Once again, Kingston’s V+ SSD shines, coming out on top for our cold boot times.

Game Level Loading

Last, but certainly not least, are the game level-loading times. SSDs tend to improve application load times significantly over their mechanical brethren, and games are no exception.

Crysis is still infamous for how well it could stress the entire PC, and although Crysis Warhead was a significant improvement and more optimized than it’s predecessor, it still makes for one of the better gaming benchmarks to use. For this test, we timed how long it took to load the first level, Ambush. We also figured we would use the newer Left 4 Dead 2 game, for its slightly longer-than-average load times. Here, we timed how long it took to load the final chapter in the Hard Rain campaign.

While the difference between the best SSD and the typical HDD almost exactly halves the game loading time, is a difference of 15 seconds really worth it in L4D2, or difference of 30 seconds worth it in Crysis Warhead? Perhaps when you consider that each load time as you progress through the levels, with each stutter or “break” in the game to load new areas or new levels is also halved, and that it significantly improves the game immersion due to fewer and shorter game interruptions, then for some people the answer becomes a definite yes.

Here it appears Intel’s optimization of their drives for small random file operations instead of sequential writes pays off as the X25 is still able to retain a lead in Crysis load times. For L4D2 the Toshiba does edge out a marginal lead, although this game appears to not be bottlenecked by any sort of SSD, only hard drives.

Final Thoughts

The new Kingston SSDNow V+ series featuring Toshiba’s controller and flash memory has proven itself to be a worthy alternative as a slightly less expensive solid-state drive that doesn’t compromise on performance. With TRIM able to keep the SSD from experiencing the typical slowdown effects as the drive undergoes normal use, it is able to maintain 160MB/s write speeds and quick response times without the performance vanishing after that first initial honeymoon period from its installation.

Given the price bracket these Toshiba drives are targeting, we can only wish we had either an SSDNow M G2 series drive that supports TRIM or the Indilinx-based Vertex which also supports TRIM to compare against. While the performance is exemplary, we can only guess at how well it would stack up against either of the these well-known SSDs.

Still, if you are Sir Lancelot questing after the elusive holy grail (the absolute best SSD at any price), then it is a safe bet that the soon-to-be-released Micron RealSSD C300 solid-state drive would be the only viable option for you. For everyone else, the Toshiba-based SSDNow V+ drives from Kingston would be a great performing drive to be added to the admittedly still short shortlist in that never-ending quest for a faster computer.

There isn’t much left to address, noise isn’t a factor for a SSD and obviously durability will be better as well. The drive housing never even grew warm with the 200mm fan cooling the drive cage. Kingston states power consumption is 2.6 watts active and 0.15w idle. Perhaps more important to mention would be drive longevity, however we are confident that the MLC flash will easily outlast Kingston’s three year warranty on these drives.

Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB

After formatting, useable capacity is 119GB, but don’t feel cheated as unlike hard disk drives, the missing 9GB is still present. This 9GB is used by the drive as spare area to help maintain drive performance as the drive is filled to capacity, in addition to providing additional memory cells to replace existing cells as they do eventually wear out as all MLC NAND flash will over the lifetime of the unit.

My personal feeling I received during testing might be biased as this was the first SSD I have personally tested with TRIM, but the difference was astounding! Drive performance was the most consistent that we have experienced out of all the drives when compiling our test results. Out of all the drives, including the first generation Intel SSD if given a choice I would prefer to use this one the most in my own personal system, which should say it all right there. This drive’s performance in our batch file tests was the final confirmation that this drive doesn’t focus on sequential write speed to the exclusion of all else, although this is one of the strongest suits for this drive it still is more than capable of extreme simultaneous random file read/write workloads even with concurrent sequential writes occurring in the background.

To give you just a little perspective, the 160-180MB/s write speeds are far superior to Intel’s best write speed of 100MB/s for their 160GB G2 SSD, making the SSDNow V+ series an extremely attractive alternative if sequential writes are more important with your type of workloads. Not to mention the 128GB is significantly cheaper at $380 versus $600 for the equivalent 160GB X25-M drive from Intel. One doesn’t need to compute the price/GB ratio to see that Kingston’s drive more than lives up to the Value+ name, delivering better performance in many areas at a more palatable price. Therefore the only real competitor to this drive is OCZ’s Vertex which can be found at for a bit more for slightly less capacity.

We are left wondering just quite how much of the difference was because of the controller, but will soon be adding more TRIM capable drives to our test results to find out for sure. Again if you would like to see any results not shown or you regularly use a disk-bound workload and would wish to see it utilized in one of our benchmarks, then please drop us a line as we are seeking new real-world programs uses like you utilize on a daily basis that are bottlenecked by traditional storage formats like mechanical hard drives or non-TRIM capable SSDs!

Discuss this article in our forums!

Have a comment you wish to make on this article? Recommendations? Criticism? Feel free to head over to our related thread and put your words to our virtual paper! There is no requirement to register in order to respond to these threads, but it sure doesn’t hurt!

Copyright © 2005-2019 Techgage Networks Inc. - All Rights Reserved.