While SSDs are far from being mainstream drives or taking over as your primary drive, they are getting there, albeit slowly. Ultrabooks is one such segment that relies primarily on SSDs for storage and since it’s backed by Intel, who is also in the SSD business, this may just be the platform, needed to take SSDs to the masses. Things are different in the desktop space. Currently, it’s only the gamers, enthusiasts and mostly DIY system builders who would typically use an SSD as a boot drive, but most OEMs are yet to integrate SSDs in their builds. Many companies have launched cheaper, value SSD drives, hoping to penetrate a larger market. Like many, Kingston has a full line-up of SSDs catering to all budgets and today we have a 90GB SSD from the business line-up, the SSDNow V+ 200 series.
Design and Features
The series is designed to keep costs down to a minimum, so all you get is the SSD in a clear plastic packet, like you would value RAM. The V+ 200 features the second generation SandForce SF-2281 controller, the same one we saw in the Intel Series 520 SSD. It also supports SATA III (6GB/s) and is backwards compatible with SATA II as well. Now although the specifications seem very similar to the Intel SSD 520 series, there is one big difference and that’s in the type of NAND flash used. Kingston uses 25nm Asynchronous NAND flash, whereas most high-end drives use Synchronous NAND flash. This makes quite a significant impact in real world performance, but by how much? We’ll come to that in a bit.
Kingston have also thrown in their data integrity, features like DuraClass Technology and RAISE for better data reliability. Data encryption features are also present for added security. The V+ 200 is available in different capacities ranging from 60GB to 480GB. Since this does not come with any 3.5-inch bracket, you’ll have to find a work around for installing it a regular cabinet without mounting holes for a 2.5-inch drive. That, or you could buy the mounting brackets separately from Kingston.
For testing the drive, we connected the SSD to our Testbench, which consisted of an Intel 2600K, Gigabyte P67A-UD3R, 8GB G.Skill RAM, 64-bit Windows 7, WD Velociraptor and an AMD HD 7950 graphics card. In HD Tach, we got an impressive average read speed of 382 MB/s. We saw similar speeds in SiSoft Sandra as well with the read speeds peaking at 434 MB/s and write speeds of 283.22 MB/s.
Not the best scores out there
However, these speeds are not indicative of real world performance, as you can see from the chart above. Now, we used the exact same setup for the Kingston, as we did for the Intel SSD, but as you can see, there’s a huge difference when it comes to real world speeds. In our write tests, the Kingston managed just 127 MB/s for sequential data, whereas the Intel gave us a blazing 315 MB/s. Even our internal copy tests between two partitions were a lot lower, than Intel’s offering. While it may seem unfair to compare a mainstream drive with a high-end one, we just want to point out that despite having the exact same SandForce controller and interface, the type of NAND flash used makes all the difference.
At a street price of Rs.10,000, the Kingston V+ 200 is a quite an expensive proposition for just 90GB. We recommend you put in a little more and pick up their HyperX series of SSDs. You can get the 120GB HyperX SSD, which has the Synchronous NAND flash for about Rs.12,500. The performance will no doubt be better than the V+ 200. Kingston need to re-think on their pricing for the V+ 200, since the performance does not justify the high price, especially when you can get a faster SSD from their high-end series for a just a little more, not to mention a little more capacity as well.
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