Kingston SSDnow KC380 1.8-Inch Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


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.

Specifications

  • 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.

Kingston SSDnow M2 SATA 120GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Kingston has a long line of storage options for about every usage you could have. Today I’m taking a look at the SSDnow M.2 SATA Solid State Drive with a capacity of 120GB.

The M.2 modules are also known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) and these thin and compact modules save space in small and embedded systems, ultra-thin devices, or it will just fit snuggly into your motherboards M.2 slot in your desktop system. The caseless design allows easier integration as well as keeping the weight as low as possible; a big factor when used in Ultrabooks and similar devices.

The 2280 module (22mm width, 80mm length) supports advanced garbage collection, wear-levelling and TRIM to keep up the performance over the entire lifetime of the drive; so we should see very stable performance in our tests on the following pages. S.M.A.R.T. is also supported for peace of mind and health monitoring.

At the heart of the drive, we have the Phison PS3108-S8 controller and Kingston equipped this module with a 2GB Nanya NT5CB128M16HP-CG buffer. The NAND chips used are 32 GB Kingston FA32B08UCT1-BC and there are two located on each side of the module.

A drive designed for integrated and portable systems has to be energy-efficient as well. The Kingston M.2 SATA drive also features the DevSleep function that we see more and more drives incorporate. It is relative new to the SATA specifications and is an efficient power management option to minimise power consumption and extend battery life.

For the event that you’d ever run out of battery and your device shuts down unexpectedly, or maybe it just crashes, it features firmware-based power loss protection to maintain the data integrity. This allows the drive to recover in the event of an unsafe shutdown.

The Kingston M.2 SATA drive doesn’t stop there and also supports Intel’s SRT that can combine the capacity advantage of HDD with performance improvements of SSD in dual-storage configuration. Increased peace of mind is added by the free technical support and three-year warranty.