Kingston V300 Review – In the last year or so of our SSD reviews, one SSD controller has stood out above the rest in terms of offering the best performance for the price. Just about any SSD based on the SandForce controller is a good one in its price range, depending on the type of flash used. In our experience, these drives tend to offer the most consistent performance, while handling write amplification steady state degradation the best.
If you have a moderate budget, SandForce drives using fully synchronous MLC NAND flash are the way to go. Drives like the Kingston HyperX 3K and Intel SSD 520 are what you should be looking at. Moving down from there, you will find SandForce drives using asynchronous MLC, the most famous being the OCZ Agility 3 (now EOL). The problem with these Async drives is that they don’t handle write amplification very well, and can have performance issues once they begin to fill up with data.
Today we are looking at Kingston’s newest drive in their mainstream “SSDNow” lineup, the V300. Unlike previous SSDNow drives, this one uses a SandFore SF-2281 controller. However unlike other brands’ mainstream SSDs, this one doesn’t use asynchronous MLC. Instead, it uses 19nm Toggle flash, which is cheap, long lasting, and can read and write simultaneously.
We will be comparing the V300 with some other 120-128GB drives, including the venerable Crucial m4 128GB, the old OCZ Agility 3, which is now EOL but still works as a representation of the Sandforce/asynchronous MLC combo, and the Intel 525 120GB. As we saw in our Intel 525 review, these drives run at absolute full speed, despite being in the mSATA format. This represents ‘normal’ SandForce/synchronous MLC drives that are 120GB. We will also include the Kingston V200, which this drive effectively replaces.
Here are the specs to compare quickly:
|Kingston V300 120GB||Intel SSD 525 120GB||OCZ Agility 3 120GB||Kingston V200 120GB||Crucial m4 128GB|
|Flash Controller||SandForce SF-2281||SandForce SF-2281||SandForce SF-2281||Toshiba TC58NCF668GDT-BB|
|Flash Type||Toshiba 19nm Toggle Sync||IMFT 25nm MLC Sync||Micron 25nm MLC Async||Toshiba 24nm Toggle Sync||Micron 25nm MLC Sync|
|# of Flash Chips||16||4||16||8||16|
|# Die per Chip||2||4||2||2||2|
|Interface||SATA 6 Gbps|
|Cache||N/A||128 MB||128 MB|
|Sequential Read||450MB/s||550 MB/s||550 MB/s||300 MB/s||500 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||450MB/s||500 MB/s||500 MB/s||190 MB/s||175 MB/s|
|Price (March 26, 2013)||$97 @ Amazon||$170 @ Newegg||EOL||$100 @ SuperBiz||$116 @ Amazon|
|MTBF||1,000,000 Hours||1,200,000 Hours||1,200,000 hours||1,000,000 Hours||1,200,000 hours|
|Total Bytes Written||64 TB||Undisclosed||Undisclosed||36 TB||72 TB|
|Warranty||3 Years||5 Years||3 Years||3 Years||3 Years|
You’ll note that the ‘paper spec’ for sequential read and write are around 100 MB/s slower than the MLC drives. However, we know that this ‘best case scenario’ doesn’t necessarily tell us how it will perform under more realistic workloads. We’ll find out in this review.
Also, with a 64 TB TBW, any worries about the durability of such a small 19nm process flash should be abated. The combination of the durability functions of the SandForce controller, and inherent durability of toggle flash means that you could write 36 GB per day for five years before running into issues with flash write errors.