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You might think GPU and CPU upgrades happen quickly, but they’re practically glacial compared to the SSD market, where a platform can go from Kick Ass Award–winning performance to merely good in a few months.
Witness Kingston’s SSDNow V+ 256GB, essentially a rebadge of Samsung’s 256GB drive, to which we gave a Kick Ass Award back in July. The Samsung and Kingston drives, as well as Corsair’s P256 rebadge, all use 256GB of Samsung NAND chips, with the Samsung S3C29RBB01 controller and 128MB of onboard DDR cache to prevent random-write stuttering.
The SSDNow’s sustained average read speeds clocked in at 193.8MB/s, slightly higher than the OEM Samsung version but not quite up to the 209MB/s established by the 160GB Intel X-25M we reviewed in November. Its average sustained writes of 153MB/s trailed behind Indilinx-controlled devices like the Patriot Torqx, with its 175MB/s sustained writes, while the X-25M’s mere 79MB/s seem positively prehistoric by comparison.
Random-access read and write speeds on the SSDNow are similar to those of the OEM Samsung drive and Patriot Torqx at .16ms latency for random reads and .24 for random writes. Here, the Intel drive remains king, with .11ms reads and blistering-fast .08ms writes. Premiere Pro scores were similarly middle-of-the-pack for the SSDNow.
The most unusual aspect of the Kingston drive’s benchmarks involved PCMark Vantage HDD, which tests the drive’s performance running Windows-based applications, such as Windows Defender, Media Player, application launches, etc. The first time we ran PCMark Vantage on the drive, we were confronted with a stunningly low score of 5,303 PCMarks—barely higher than a traditional 2TB drive. The second time, much to our surprise, the score jumped to 13,289. After a few more runs, it settled comfortably into a range around 18,400—a little lower than some of its peers, like the first-gen Intel X-25M and Patriot Torqx, but at least in the same neighborhood. None of the other drives we’ve tested that house this Samsung controller showed similar symptoms, and at press time Kingston’s techs were still trying to duplicate the problem.
The Kingston SSDNow V+ 256GB is a good SSD, built on a solid controller, with excellent performance. But we’re not granting this drive a Kick Ass Award, as we did its predecessors. Why? Well, first, the Indilinx-controlled drives we’ve reviewed since July offer slightly better performance, despite their smaller cache size. And Corsair’s P256 SSD, which is virtually identical to the Kingston drive, is $30 cheaper. And considering the still-high price-per-gigabyte that remains the biggest hurdle in SSD adoption, every penny helps.
The same blistering sustained reads/writes as the Corsair P256...
...Because it's the same drive--except the Kingston is more expensive.
|Kingston SSDNow V+ ||Patriot Torqx ||Intel X25-M G2|
|Capacity ||256GB||128GB ||160GB|
|Average Sustained Transfer Rate Read (MB/s)||193.8 ||205.4 ||209.1|
|Average Sustained Transfer Rate Write (MB/s)||153.7 ||175.1 || |
|Random Access Read (ms) ||0.16 ||0.11 ||0.13 |
|Random Access Write ||0.24||0.31 ||0.08 |
|Premiere Pro (sec)||696 ||674 ||696 |
|PCMark Vantage Overall Score ||18,393* ||21,247 ||23,288 |