The solid state drive that I’m taking a look at today is one that I’ve actually had around for a while, but couldn’t test up until now. I’m taking the tiny 1.8-inch KC380 SSDnow from Kingston for a spin on my test bench to see how well this tiny SSD can perform. While it isn’t the newest model anymore, I still think it’s a valid drive to test and one that quite a few people will consider for their netbooks and similar devices that only have the option for 1.8-inch drives such as this one.
As a 1.8-inch SATA drive, the KC380 uses a Micro-SATA connector that doesn’t match anything you’ll find in a normal PC. The SATA data connector is the same as you’re used to, but the power connector won’t match anything you’ll find or a default power supply and as such it can’t be used in a normal system. That is also the reason that this review got so much delayed, I had to find a working adapter to convert it to normal SATA connectors. The first I bought was broken and made the drive crash out during load and the second could only deliver SATA2 speeds for some reasons. However, third time is the charm and the third adapter that I got, and that I’m using for this test, works like a charm and as it should: Bridge the pins to a different layout.
The 1.8-inch SATA form factor isn’t the most common and most people will never even have a system that can use these drives. There are however quite a few hard disk based netbooks on the market, and around the world in different homes, that could benefit hugely from an upgrade with an SSD like the Kingston SSDnow KC380.
We shouldn’t expect a blasting performance as such, simply due to the generation of the drive and its small capacity. Those are both things that will have an effect among others, but it still a drive that promises a good performance. The drive is rated for a sequential performance up to 550MB/s while reading and 520MB/s while writing. The maximum random performance rating for this 120GB model is set to 86K IOPS reading and 48K IOPS writing.
The Kingston SSDnow KC380 consumes less power and generates less heat than a traditional HDD at a fraction of the cost of a new system. It offers advanced data integrity protection and a second-generation SandForce SSD controller with DuraClass technology. DuraClass features include DuraWrite and advanced wear-leveling to extend the life of the drive and garbage collection and over-provisioning for consistent performance and a longer life for your SSD and your data.
Opening up the drive and we reveal that it actually is an mSATA drive that is hiding inside the drive and that it uses an mSATA to MicroSATA adapter board to become what it is. A natural choice for Kingston that already had the mSATA in the lineup. This saves costs and broadens the market opportunities.
The top of the actual SSD contains a Kingston sticker with all the relevant information about the drive. It also covers two of the four Toshiba NAND chips used on the drive. The last two NAND chips are found on the rear where we also find the SandForce SF-2241 solid state drive controller. Overall, a simple design that gives a lot of options.
Kingston backs the KC380 SSD with its well-known warranty and in this case it’s for three years. That also includes free technical support for the duration.
- Fast — dramatic performance increase for any system upgrade
- Endurance — Data Integrity Protection featuring DuraClass technology
- Durable — DuraWrite optimizes writes to extend endurance
- Multiple capacities the right capacity to meet your storage needs
- Supports SMART — monitors the status of your drive
- Supports TRIM — maintains maximum performance on compatible operating systems
- Guaranteed — three-year warranty, free technical support
Packaging and Accessoires
The Kingston SSDnow KC380 comes in a blister packaging that displays both the drive itself and the basic information about it right on the front. We can see the capacity, the name, and brand as well as the performance rating.
The rear of the drive contains all the fine-print that isn’t really relevant. Basically, it tells you that you’ll notice a huge improvement over traditional mechanical drives.