Model: Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB Solid State Drive
Provided By: Kingston
As the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products, Kingston Technology doesn't need much of an introduction. The company got its start in 1987, when the computer industry was suffering from a severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips. To provide a solution, Kingston's founders designed a new Single In-Line Memory Module (SIMM) that used readily available, older technology through-hole components. Today, Kingston offers more than 2,000 memory products for everything from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones.
Like many other manufacturers, Kingston has set its sights on the growing solid-state drive (SSD) market. This winter, the company unveiled the latest addition to its SSDNow family, the V+200. Designed to meet the needs of both business and home users, the V+200 combines exceptional quality and performance with an affordable price. The drive is powered by LSI's SandForce SF-2281 processor and features a SATA 6GB/s interface, automatic encryption and DuraClass technology. The V+200 also uses asynchronous NAND flash to deliver up to 535MB/s read and 485MB/s write speeds as well as a maximum of 60,000 4KB random write IOPS.
The SSDNow V+200 is available in 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities as either a stand-alone drive or as an upgrade kit to make installation easy and quick. For this review, Kingston sent us the 90GB upgrade bundle kit. The 90GB version of the V+200 is capable of delivering up to 535 MB/s sequential read and 480 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 85,000 random read and 57,000 random write IOPS.
|Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB Solid State Drive|
Dimensions and Weight
With store shelves already full of "SandForce Driven" SSDs with similar specs and features, the V+200 is up against some stiff competition. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Kingston's new SSD and then put it through its paces to see how it performs. Does the V+200 have what it takes? Can it deliver the value and performance we've come to expect from Kingston? Keep reading as we find out.
The SSDNow V+200 comes in an attractive blue and black box. Along with a picture of the drive, the front advertises many of its key features including its 90GB capacity, SATA Rev 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface, SandForce controller and three year warranty. The back of the box provides a bit more information as well as pictures of the box's contents.
The upgrade bundle kit that Kingston sent us for this review includes a number of accessories. Along with the V+200 SSD you'll find a 2.5" SATA enclosure with a USB-to-mini-USB cable, Serial ATA data cable, 3.5" adapter bracket with screws and a CD containing hard drive cloning software.
While a bit heavier than other SSDs, the SSDNow V+200 is very well constructed. The outer casing is made entirely out of metal and is covered by a rough, matte black finish. The top of the drive also has a large, red and black sticker advertising its capacity as well as the fact that it is part of Kingston's SSDNow V+200 series.
Like Kingston's KC100 and HyperX series SSDs, the V+200 uses SandForce's SF-2281 controller chip. The SF-2281 can be found in a number of other SSDs including the ADATA S511, Corsair Force Series 3, OWC Mercury 6G, OCZ Vertex 3 and Patriot Pyro SE.
For the 90GB V+200, Kingston opted to use Intel's 8GB 25nm 29F64G08ACME3 asynchronous NAND flash chips. Looking at the pictures above, you can see that there are six of these chips on either side of the PCB. If you do the math, you'll see that this equals 96GB and not the 90GB of storage the drive advertises. The SandForce controller uses this extra 7% (6GB) to maximize read and write performance and extend the endurance and overall reliability of the drive.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card and an Intel 82579-LM gigabit network card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Enterprise.
To test the performance of the SSDNow V+200, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW 184.108.40.206, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro 4.61 and Iometer. For comparison, I've also included test results from the Plextor PX-256M3P, SanDisk Extreme, Samsung 830 SSD, Plextor PX-256M3S, Patriot Pyro SE, Plextor PX-256M2P, Kingston HyperX, OCZ Vertex 3 and OCZ Agility 3.
As I mentioned earlier, the SSDNow V+200 is based on SandForce's SF-2281 controller. Like other SandForce controllers, the SF-2281 features a technology called DuraWrite, which uses data compression to lower write amplification and extend the life of the drive by reducing the number of program-erase cycles. This data compression also plays a big part in the controller's performance. The more the data can be compressed, the faster an SSD like the SSDNow V+200 is able to read and write. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that there is a considerable performance difference when writing incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to Kingston, the 120GB SSDNow V+200 is capable of reading at 535MB/s and writing at 480MB/s when connected to a SATA 6 Gb/s port. The drive didn't come close to these numbers using CrystalDiskMark's default (random) test data. However, with the highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data, the SSDNow V+200 was able to read at 479.0 MB/s and write at 445.6 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 220.127.116.11:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the SSDNow V+200's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the SSDNow V+200 had average read and write speeds of 364.4 MB/s and 334.9 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 374.6 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the SSDNow V+200's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the SSDNow V+200's read speeds topped out at about 556 MB/s and its write speeds at 485 MB/s.
AS SSD is a relatively new benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 4.61:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the SSDNow V+200's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The SSDNow V+200 performed very well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 490.5 MB/s and 413.7 MB/s, respectively, as well as a burst rate of 310.3 MB/s when reading.
Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB - HD Tune Random Access Read
OCZ Agility 3 120GB - HD Tune Random Access Read
Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB - HD Tune Random Access Write
OCZ Agility 3 120GB - HD Tune Random Access Write
The SSDNow V+200 didn't disappoint when doing random reads and writes. When reading 4KB blocks, the drive reached 16342 IOPS and had an average speed of 63.836 MB/s. The SSDNow V+200 was even faster when writing, reaching 18442 IOPS with an average speed of 72.040 MB/s.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the SSDNow V+200's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using both repeating and random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The SSDNow V+200's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. With highly compressible, repeating data, the drive was able to read at 518.68 MB/s and write at 463.16 MB/s. When tested with random data, the drive's read and write speeds dropped to 204.88 MB/s and 116.44 MB/s, respectively.
The V+200 performed fairly well when doing random reads and writes. With repeating data, the drive was able to read at 49.06 MB/s and write at a blazing 291.33 MB/s. Here too, the V+200 took a performance hit when tested with random data. However, it was still able to write at 112.04 MB/s.
According to Kingston, the SSDNow V+200 is capable of 47,000 IOPS when randomly writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 74,579 IOPS with repeating data and 28,681 IOPS with random data.
While SSDs offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To address this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 7, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive proactively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the SSDNow V+200's TRIM function, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill the entire drive and then ran a random write test for 20 minutes. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that the V+200's average read and write speeds dropped to 104.2 MB/s and 166.8 MB/s, respectively.
Kingston SSDNow V+200 - Dirty
To see how well the V+200 could recover, I let the computer sit for a few hours and then reran the test. The drive's average read speed jumped back up to 272.1 MB/s. However, its write speed lagged a bit behind, averaging out at 187.6 MB/s.
Kingston SSDNow V+200 - After Trim
Lastly, I used OCZ's Toolbox utility (yes, it works) to perform a secure erase on the V+200. With the drive wiped clean, its average write speed jumped back up to 360.1 MB/s.
Kingston SSDNow V+200 - Wiped
The SSDNow V+200 is an excellent choice for the cost-conscious business or home user looking to improve the performance of their existing desktop or notebook PC. Based on the same SandForce SF-2281 controller as Kingston's HyperX and KC100 SSDs, the V+200 is capable of some pretty impressive performance. In our sequential read and write tests, the drive was able to read at speeds as high as 585 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 460 MB/s. These numbers dropped considerably when reading and writing incompressible data due in part to the V+200's asynchronous NAND. However, this isn't something that the average consumer will notice unless they're working with files that are already highly compressed. The V+200 is also covered by a 3-year warranty and is available as a standalone drive or as part of an upgrade kit.
The SSDNow V+200 is available now in 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities. Prices on Amazon.com currently range from $87 up to $727, with the 90GB upgrade bundle kit reviewed here going for about $135.
- Available in 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities
- SandForce SF-2281 processor with DuraClass, DuraWrite and RAISE technologies
- Excellent sequential read and write speeds
- SATA 6Gb/s interface
- Supports SMART, TRIM and Garbage Collection
- Available as stand-alone drive or as part of an upgrade kit
- Self-encrypting drive technology
- Well constructed design
- Reasonably priced
- 3 year warranty
- Considerably slower with incompressible data
- Asynchronous NAND flash