Kingston SSDNow V300 Solid State Hard Drive (Part 2)

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Besides the lowered height, SSDNow V300 seems to have not more visual differences than its predecessor, SSDNow V +200. The cover is still made of metal with the tar finish having grey-like color. The large labels on the surface of the drive are designed in the same way. So, the product can be easily recognized as SSDNow belongings.

Hardware components

Hardware components

The specific attention of Kingston is at the realizable details in the case. The 2 halves of the case are neatly attached and there’s solid thermal conduction layer inside, between PCB and the case, to ensure suitable cooling ability.

The product PCB

The product PCB

PCB itself is a little changeable. It has the same component layout as other PCBs of the SandForce-platform drive but all the chips will have Kingston logo. We have seen such brands with the flash memory chips before (it normally means that the SSD makers buy them as uncut panel and the semiconductor pack is fixed into its own basis) but we’ve never dealt with the re-branded SSD controller. However, there’s no doubt that it’s the universal LSI SF-2281, because it’s indicated by the SandForce word sitting under Kingston logo.

Product PCB

Product PCB

For the memory chip, the "FD16B08UCT1-8C" line doesn’t give us any clue about the origin of them but we know that SSDNow V300 uses MLC flash memory produced on the 19nm technical process. It may be MLC NAND flash of Toshiba with syncing Toggle Mode interface. It’s a kind of extremely high-speed memory used on the best SSD for the most premium customer class on the world such as Corsair Neutron GTX or Plextor M5 Pro. To be straightforward, it’s a surprise to see such chip in the entry-level SSDNow V300 model but it makes the product more interesting, especially when we don’t think that such flagship memory will pay a long visit to the entry-level SSD. It can be replaced by the NAND TLC in the near future, but firmware for SF-2281 controller is free from TLC NAND support.

We don’t know how Kingston did that but the SSDNow V300 line is costly considering the used components. It’s the most attractive one in price/performance ratio. There’s only one apprehensive fact about it, which need to be specific, about its nature. The specific characteristic of the SandForce controllers offer some flexibility for the makers, so they usually assign higher-than-average speed. It’s different from Kingston SSDNow V300. Thus, Kingston SSDNow V300 looks worse than 3K HyperX and even its SSDNow V +200 predecessor (the model using asynchronous flash) in its consecutive regulated speed. Anyhow, this may be of some problems in price.

There’re somem strange things about Kingston SSDNow V300: Its given longevity is shorter than 3K HyperX and SSDNow V +200. The makers warranty up to 192 terabyte of data in text format for their last-generation 240GB SSD but 240GB SSDNow V300 is the expectation for the up to 128 terabyte write speed. We may think of 2 reasons for that. SSD can use flash memory chip with the longevity of 2000 cycles or rewrite all which may be due to some marketing methods. To clarify this respect, we turn to Kingston to be helped but received an ambiguous comment, which acntually don’t explain the real full reason of this phenomenon:

"Kingston uses its own wafer processing-ability to pack the 19nm NAND MLC components for V300 SSD. Normally, the P / E cycle and productivity boot up thanks to the grown of the wafer process and this is inherent in Flash NAND which is used in this product. As for all of our SSDs the TBW figures we announce are conservative, and with DuraWrite tech, those figures can easily be tripled for a workload of a typical user. "

The low price of the new SSD of Kingston may be due to the low-quality flash memory, the makers can received from Toshiba with a lower price, especially when the SandForce controlling tech helps to use such components without having any negative effect to the last users. That’s the reason why the capacity is 240 instead of 256 GB, by this way. The remaining storage apportioned for the reserving fund and LIFE tech. that must be the reason why SSDNow V300 comes with 3-year warranty.

Therefore, though Kingston just belonged to the SandForce family product, it’s not its regular representative. There’s no other SSD with the same components cited. Firmware is also special. Like Intel 520, SSDNow V300 is specialized with the custom firmware for 19nm Toggle Mode flash. Though, it won’t be much different from the other SandForce-platform products, as its software is built on the original version (version 5.0.5).

Testing configuration

For our currently SSD testing session, we decide to upgrade our traditional testing a little bit. From now on, we will use a consistent system for our tests, which will be built on a Intel H77 platform motherboard, with 2 SATA 6 Gbit/s port feature. We will use the ports to connect to the testing SSDs.

For today’s product participating in the testing session, it’s obvious that the new 240 GB Kingston SSDNow V300 should be compared to different embodiments of the 2nd-generation SandForce platform as well as for other common SSDs. So, you will see the efficiency numbers on the diagram for other products based on SandForce which include: Intel SSD 520, Corsair Force GS and Corsair Force GT, the same to the Kingston HyperX 3K overview. The other platforms will pre represented by the following participating products: Corsair SSD on LAMD LM87800 controller (Neutron GTX and neutron), OCZ Vertex 4 on Indilinx Everest 2 controller, the latest OCZ Vector SSD on Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller, Crucial m4 on Marvell 9174, and Plextor SSD on Marvell 9174 controller (M5S) and Marvell 9187 controller (M5 Pro). All of the aforementioned drives use the syncing MLC flash memory. Especially, Crucial m4, Corsair Force GT, Corsair neutron, Intel SSD 520, OCZ Vertex 4, OCZ Vector and Plextor M5S use 25 nm IMFT memory with ONFI interface. And Corsair Force GS, Corsair Neutron GTX and Plextor M5 Pro use Toggle Mode MLC NAND which is produced by nm 2x or 19 nm tech.

Our overall test is configured as follows:

·         Intel Core i5-3470S (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 2.9 GHz, EIST and Turbo Boost turned off);

·         Intel DH77DF mainboard (BIOS 0108);

·         2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM DIMM 9-9-9-24-1T;

·         Crucial m4 256 GB system disk (CT256M4SSD2);

·         Tested SSDs:

ü  Corsair Force GS Series 240 GB (CSSD-F240GBGS-BK, firmware version 5.03);

ü  Corsair Force GT Series 240 GB (CSSD-F240GBGT-BK, firmware version 5.03)

ü  Corsair Neutron GTX 240 GB (CSSD-N240GBGTX-BK, firmware version 2.06);

ü  Corsair Neutron 240 GB (CSSD-N240GB3-BK, firmware version 2.06);

ü  Crucial m4 256 GB (CT256M4SSD2, firmware version 070H);

ü  Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5, firmware version 400i);

ü  Kingston SSDNow V300 240 GB (SV300S37A/240G, firmware version 5.0.5);

ü  OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB (VTX4-25SAT3-256G, firmware version 1.5);

ü  OCZ Vector 256 GB (VTR1-25SAT3-256G, firmware version 2.0);

ü  Plextor M5S 256 GB (PX-256M5S, firmware version 1.03);

ü  Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB (PX-256M5P, firmware version 1.03).

ü  Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64

·         Drivers:

ü  Intel Chipset Driver;

ü  Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver;

ü  Intel Rapid Storage Technology

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