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Hard drives

Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB review

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SSDs (Solid State Drives) hold the prospect of improving performance even further for a top-of-the-line laptop or PC. The Kingston SSDNow V Series is worth considering for three reasons. It gives a speed boost, is fairly inexpensive by SSD standards and offers an acceptable amount of capacity (running into triple digit gigabytes).

The Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB we tested has a 2.5-inch form factor similar to laptop hard disks and uses the SATA-2 interface. Like most SSDs it uses MLC (multi-level cell) NAND Flash technology, and thus has no moving parts. While in operation, you find it does not heat up, can withstand small shocks, and is completely silent (unlike performance-oriented desktop HDDs). This makes it a good option for use in media centre PCs. After formatting, it has a usable capacity of 119.24GB.

We run synthetic benchmarks and real world tests using the fastest PC components, to ensure that bottlenecks don't hold back performance. Testing the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB, read speeds averaged a consistent 114 MB/s - right across the drive, without a dip in the speed graph. Write speeds averaged a consistent 75.4 MB/s. Read/write random access times averaged 0.16 ms and 0.20 ms respectively. For comparison, the average desktop drive averages about 75 MB/s read, 60 MB/s write, and 12 ms random access time.

Real world write speed while copying a single large file of 6.42 GB onto the SSD stood at 44.2 MB/s. Copying multiple smaller files (800 files totaling up to 6.36GB) on to the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB SSD was almost the same speed, at 44 MB/s. Copying multiple small files from one partition to another, was at 19 MB/s. The reverse, copying files from this SSD onto our reference hard drive took place at 110.6 MB/s. On the whole, the big benefit here is in its super fast access times as compared to the slow response times of normal HDDs. The SSD's reduced access time makes a huge difference to the speed of applications that frequently access the hard disk or have to load a number of files.

For those who expected mindblowing numbers, the synthetic and real-world results seen from the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB so far might seem unimpressive (if pure read/write speeds are compared to today's well-priced normal magnetic HDDs). However, keep in mind that this is a budget SSD.

With the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB, Kingston is offering 128GB of storage space for the same price as Intel's 80GB SSD (37.5% extra storage capacity). So it may not be the fastest but price is on its side. Also, under real-world usage scenarios as the main system drive, our experience on the SSD was far smoother and faster than a normal HDD. The scenarios tested included OS bootup, system responsiveness, normal file operations, loading applications such as Photoshop, and so on.

Some enthusiasts might even want to use a super-fast SSD as their boot-drive, and then use this 128GB drive as a storage drive because of its good access times. This SSD is probably capable of doing much better than it did, but is doomed to lower performance because of the drive controller embedded within (Kingston seems to have rectified this in their V+ Series of drives and used a much better drive controller).

Kingston offers a limited warranty of 3 years on the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB drive. If you want a faster SSD, consider the Kingston SSDNow V+ Series.



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