What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB SSD Review

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Please note that we are experiencing some technical difficulties which will cause image errors in some reviews. Hardware Canucks is actively working to solve the issues and the images should display correctly soon.

Even though Kingston’s HyperX and HyperX 3K enthusiast-focused SSD lineup may be the one getting most people’s attention, their more established SSDNow V series of value orientated drives has also earned a sterling reputation for delivering excellent performance at reasonable prices. These value-oriented drives have naturally been fast sellers and some updates are now being worked into the newest iteration: the SSDNow V300.


By looking at specifications alone, it’s obvious that Kingston isn’t targeting the high end market here. The V300’s sustained performance puts it firmly into the upper mid-tier echelon but for a mere $118, the 120GB version affordable and can provide a significant boost over spindle-based drives.

In the past Kingston’s value orientated drives were able to offer such reasonable prices by simply using lower performance NAND. This formula has been used time and again and it has worked reasonably well for the previous SSDNow series. This time things are bing done quite differently since Kingston has taken advantage of new technology to create a drive which promises to have excellent performance while still not breaking the bank.


As with all SSDNow drives, the new V300 comes in barebones drive and “upgrade” versions. The later consists of the same SSD but with software and hardware accessories that simplify data migration for average consumers. In this instance. these accessories consist of a Molex to SATA power adapter, SATA cable, 2.5” to 3.5” mounting hardware and Acronis True Image HD software. The USB enclosure found in some of their other models is conspicuous by its absence but the excellent 3-year warranty remains intact.


With its gray exterior the V300 may not have the eye candy of its blue clad HyperX brethren, but as any storage enthusiast knows; looks can be deceiving. It is what resides inside the chassis that matters most and in this regards the V300 is full of surprises.


As with most of the solid state drives available in the consumer marketplace, the SSDNow V300 makes use of a LSI SandForce SF2281 controller. This is the same controller which resides in Kingston’s HyperX and HyperX 3K lines along with countless other products from the competition. This does help explain the very similar internal architecture between the HyperX line and this new V300. However, this is an SF2281 with some interesting differences; its functionality has actually been customized and no longer carries the Sandforce mark. Rather, Kingston’s name is emblazoned on the chip.

Unfortunately, Kingston has remained mum about what’s been changed but as you will see in the charts, the V300’s behavior is markedly different compared to other SF2281-based drives. In all likelihood, the “Intel route” has been taken whereby this customization takes the form of revised firmware rather than different hardware.


In order to save some money and differentiate the V300 from their higher end HyperX line, Kingston has moved away from the use of ONFI NAND. Instead this budget-focused drive uses cutting edge yet less expensive to produce 19nm Toggle Mode NAND. On the 120GB version there are sixteen 8GB Toshiba fabricated – but Kingston branded - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND ICs, making the V300 one of the first drives on the market to make use of this NAND technology.


Much like their HyperX drives, the SSDNow V300 also uses multiple heatpads to help transfer heat from the various chips to the metal chassis. This helps the drive run cooler and is something very few SSD manufacturers actually do.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


Testing a drive is not as simple as putting together a bunch of files, dragging them onto folder on the drive in Windows and using a stopwatch to time how long the transfer takes. Rather, there are factors such as read / write speed and data burst speed to take into account. There is also the SATA controller on your motherboard and how well it works with SSDs & HDDs to think about as well. For best results you really need a dedicated hardware RAID controller w/ dedicated RAM for drives to shine. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time, inclination or monetary funds to do this. For this reason our test-bed will be a more standard motherboard with no mods or high end gear added to it. This is to help replicate what you the end user’s experience will be like.

Even when the hardware issues are taken care of the software itself will have a negative or positive impact on the results. As with the hardware end of things, to obtain the absolute best results you do need to tweak your OS setup; however, just like with the hardware solution most people are not going to do this. For this reason our standard OS setup is used. However, except for the Windows 7 load test times we have done our best to eliminate this issue by having the drive tested as a secondary drive. With the main drive being an Intel DC S3700 800GB Solid State Drive.

For synthetic tests we used a combination of the ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTach, HD Tune, Crystal Disk Benchmark, IOMeter, AS-SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark 7.

For real world benchmarks we timed how long a single 10GB rar file took to copy to and then from the devices. We also used 10gb of small files (from 100kb to 200MB) with a total 12,000 files in 400 subfolders.

For all testing a Asus P8P67 Deluxe motherboard was used, running Windows 7 64bit Ultimate edition. All drives were tested using AHCI mode using Intel RST 10 drivers.

All tests were run 4 times and average results are represented.

In between each test suite runs (with the exception being IOMeter which was done after every run) the drives are cleaned with either HDDerase, SaniErase or OCZ SSDToolbox and then quick formatted to make sure that they were in optimum condition for the next test suite.

Please note:
Due to the unique nature of the hybrid setup certain tests results have been omitted as they require an unformatted drive to test or gave erroneous results.

Processor: Core i5 2500
Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Memory: 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP “blue”
Graphics card: Asus 5550 passive
Hard Drive: Intel DC S3700 800GB, OCZ 480GB RevoDrive3 x2
Power Supply: XFX 850

SSD FIRMWARE (unless otherwise noted):

OCZ Vertex 2 100GB
: 1.33
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB: 2.2
Crucial M4 256GB: 000F
Intel 520: 400i
SanDisk Extrene 240GB: R211
Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB: M206
OCZ Vector 256GB: 1.03
Intel DC S3700 800GB: 5DV10211
Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB: 505

SandForce SF1200 Drives:
OCZ Vertex 2 - ONFi 2 NAND

SandForce SF2281 Drives:
Intel 520 - custom firmware w/ ONFi 2 NAND
SanDisk Extreme - stock firmware w/ 24nm Toggle Mode NAND
SSDNow V300 - custom firmware w/ 19nm Toggle Mode NAND

LAMD:
Corsair Neutron GTX - Toggle Mode NAND

Marvell:
Crucial M4 - Custom firmware w/ ONFi 2 NAND

Barefoot 3 controller:
OCZ Vector - ONFi 2 NAND

Intel X25-M Gen 3 controller:
Intel DC S3700 - ONFi 2 NAND
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Read Bandwidth / Write Performance

Read Bandwidth


For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience with these hard drives. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture. We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and thus we no longer included it. The most important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.


Write Performance


For this benchmark HD Tune Pro was used. To run the write benchmark on a drive, you must first remove all partitions from that drive and then and only then will it allow you to run this test. Unlike some other benchmarking utilities the HD Tune Pro writes across the full area of the drive, thus it easily shows any weakness a drive may have.


For a ‘mere’ 120GB drive the new V300 does provide very, very decent numbers. It certainly will not win against more expensive models, but for a value orientated option performance like this is impressive to say the least.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark


The ATTO disk benchmark tests the drives read and write speeds using gradually larger size files. For these tests, the ATTO program was set to run from its smallest to largest value (.5KB to 8192KB) and the total length was set to 256MB. The test program then spits out an extrapolated performance figure in megabytes per second.




We are actually impressed with these performance curves. The V300 not only exceeds its stated maximum read and write specification on large file sequential performance, but the small file end of the spectrum is quite surprising for a 120GB SandForce SF2281 based drive.

These charts are filled with 240GB – or larger – drives and as we have stated in the past the 240GB drives are noticeably ‘faster’ than their 120GB counterparts. This is still the case with the new V300, but the difference is not as large as it was with most previous 120GB SF2281 drives. It seems like Kingston's customized controller setup may be paying dividends.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Crystal DiskMark / PCMark 7

Crystal DiskMark


Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5 and size at 100MB.




Unfortunately, the deeper queue depth results keep the V300 from ascending higher in these charts. This is obviously the weak link of this drive, but even with the rather mediocre deep file ranking taken into account the overall performance of this drive is still quite good.


PCMark 7


While there are numerous suites of tests that make up PCMark 7, only one is pertinent: the HDD Suite. The HDD Suite consists of numerous tests that try and replicate real world drive usage. Everything from how long a simulated virus scan takes to complete, to MS Vista start up time to game load time is tested in these core tests; however we do not consider this anything other than just another suite of synthetic tests. For this reason, while each test is scored individually we have opted to include only the overall score.


This result just underscores how good Kingston's value orientated SSD really is. Anything above 5K usually translates to a very responsive experience.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
AS-SSD / Anvil Storage Utilities Pro

AS-SSD


AS-SSD is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and small 4K read/write speeds as well as 4K file speed at a queue depth of 6. While its primary goal is to accurately test Solid State Drives, it does equally well on all storage mediums it just takes longer to run each test as each test reads or writes 1GB of data.



As with Crystal DiskMark, the deep queue depth performance – or rather lack of it – proves to be the V300's downfall. For home users the chances of routinely encountering deep queue depths is rather low so we don’t hold this minor issue against a consumer grade drive.


Anvil Storage Utilities Pro


Much like AS-SSD, Anvil Pro was created to quickly and easily – yet accurately – test your drives. While it is still in the Beta stages it is a versatile and powerful little program. Currently it can test numerous read / write scenarios but two in particular stand out for us: 4K queue depth of 4 and 4K queue depth of 16. A queue depth of four along with 4K sectors can be equated to what most users will experience in an OS scenario while 16 depth will be encountered only by power users and the like. We have also included the 4k queue depth 1 results to help put these two other numbers in their proper perspective. All settings were left in their default states and the test size was set to 1GB.



Once again the performance of this small value orientated drive are good but it can't hold a candle to the higher end products in these charts. It won't win any performance awards, but by the same token it is not even close to being the lowest performing value drive we have seen. The deep file queue depth results really are what keep this drive from being higher in the charts.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
IOMETER

IOMETER


IOMeter is heavily weighted towards the server end of things, and since we here at HWC are more End User centric we will be setting and judging the results of IOMeter a little bit differently than most. To test each drive we ran 5 test runs per HDD (1,4,16,64,128 queue depth) each test having 8 parts, each part lasting 10 min w/ an additional 20 second ramp up. The 8 subparts were set to run 100% random, 80% read 20% write; testing 512b, 1k, 2k,4k,8k,16k,3xk,64k size chunks of data. When each test is finished IOMeter spits out a report, in that reports each of the 8 subtests are given a score in I/Os per second. We then take these 8 numbers add them together and divide by 8. This gives us an average score for that particular queue depth that is heavily weighted for single user environments.


As with all the other synthetic based benchmarks the SSDNow V300 120GB shows itself to be a decent performer. Its numbers are –slightly - higher than we have come to expect from 120GB SF2281 based drives and a lot of this has to do with the custom firmware and NAND selection.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Windows 7 Startup / Adobe CS5 Load Time

Windows 7 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance


When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. Where Windows 7 has become nearly ubiquitous for solid state drive enthusiasts we have chosen Windows 7 64bit Ultimate as our Operating System. In previous load time tests we would use the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line; this however is no longer the case. We have not only added in a secondary Anti-Virus to load on startup, but also an anti-malware program. We have set Super Anti-Spyware to initiate a quick scan on Windows start-up and the completion of the quick scan will be our new finish line.


As you can see, the issue with deep file performance queues which appeared in the synthetic tests really do not amount to much in the real world. The V300 120GB has very good performance and whether this is due to the customized firmware, the 19nm Toggle Mode NAND, or some combination of both is immaterial. At the end of the day most consumers will be more than happy with this level of performance.


Adobe CS5 Load Time


Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, and while the latest version is actually pretty decent, when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit faired in the Adobe crucible!


As with operating system boot times, the Adobe load times of the V300 are quite impressive. This drive is indeed a couple of seconds slower than most of the other SSDs in the charts, but it is also a lot less expensive than most too. Most consumers with little experience with SSDs will find this a very equitable trade-off.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Firefox Portable / Real World Data Transfers

Firefox Portable Offline Performance


Firefox is notorious for being slow on loading tabs in offline mode once the number of pages to be opened grows larger than a dozen or so. We can think of fewer worse case scenarios than having 100 tabs set to reload in offline mode upon Firefox startup, but this is exactly what we have done here.

By having 100 pages open in Firefox portable, setting Firefox to reload the last session upon next session start and then setting it to offline mode, we are able to easily recreate a worse case scenario. Since we are using Firefox portable all files are easily positioned in one location, making it simple to repeat the test as necessary. In order to ensure repetition, before touching the Firefox portable files, we have backed them up into a .rar file and only extracted a copy of it to the test device.



As we have mentioned, this test make use of deep queue depths which is an area where the V300 typically falls flat. Simply put, most users will rarely encounter scenarios where high performance in this area will really make a noticeable difference. Even the FireFox test we use represents a true "worst case scenario".


Real World Data Transfers


No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it can not really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 10.00GB contiguous file and a folder containing 400 subfolders with a total 12,000 files varying in length from 200mb to 100kb (10.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, using MS RichCopy and logging the performance of the drive. Here is what we found.




These numbers just underscore exactly how good the V300 120GB really is and how conservative Kingston is with their specifications. It may only rated for 450Mb/s yet as you can see it once again easily outperforms this rating. We always like it when drives can do better than they ‘should’. With that being said. the small file performance is a touch low, but as stated previously this is a 120GB drive competing against 240GB products and certain allowances have to be made.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Partial and Full Drive Performance

Partial and Full Drive Performance


While it is important to know how a drive will perform under optimal conditions, more realistic scenarios are just as important. Knowing if a solid state drive will behave differently when partially or even nearly full than when it is empty is very important information to know. To quickly and accurately show this crucial information we have first filled the drive to 50% capacity and re-tested using both synthetic and real world tests. After the completion of this we then re-test at 75% and 90% of full capacity.

Synthetic Test Results

For our synthetic testing we have opted for our standard PCMark 7 test.



Real World Results

For a real world application we have opted for our standard Windows 7 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance test.



As expected – this is an LSI SF2281 based drive after all- there is a certain amount of performance impact from running the drive at near capacity. However, the V300 is markedly better than most older 240GB SF2281 drive in this scenario.

It appears that the newer NAND coupled with custom firmware may actually help boost performance when the drive reaches its capacity limits. However, good NAND and finely tuned firmware can only do so much. At the end of the day the SF2281 controller doesn't like working with a drive that's been filled to 50% of its capacity and gets slower as the amount stored on it increases.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Latest posts

Twitter

Top