Kingston comes with a new product range of its V-Series. As a reminder, this range so far included two models, one 64GB and one 128GB, sold only in their box or in a kit which we’ll talk further. Democratizing a relatively new technology and so far which is quite often expensive balancing the act: it should inform the most educationally possible to bypass the inevitable technical constraints without scaring the uninitiated. And they are quite numerous in SSD. The arguments for it are, however, particularly compelling and speak to everyone: it evokes a faster start, applications that open almost instantly, no noise or heat and power consumption also very low. So is it a successful bet for Kingston?
Product: Kingston SSDNow V-Series 40GB
As we said in the introduction, the V series (for Value) are only sold or offered in a kit that includes:
A cable connection S-ATA;
A power connector if your diet is devoid of cable for S-ATA disk;
Support to install your drive in a slot 3 "1 / 2;
A CD-ROM containing software to migrate your system from your hard disk to the SSD and a detailed installation manual.
The first criticism in Kingston is the lack of a guide to start explaining a few quick steps assembling and installing the SSD. After all, if this product is public, it would have been possible. We would answer that the detailed procedure in this CD-ROM contains more detail than it did propose to a leaflet and is suitable for both insiders who read these instructions to the novice users who will find here a guide very well detailed.
About SSD, it has not changed any comparison to existing models already on sale. Based on Intel chips, as are all Kingston models and in this case by the X25-X, they are composed of 5 type MLC chips etched into 34 nm (hence the difference in writing speed, 40MB / s, cons 80MB / s for models with 10 chips). They manage the Serial ATA 3.0 Gb / s and NCQ, while the current firmware does not assume the TRIM function (Note: this function is supposed to maintain at least constant write performance of SSD which tend to wear as long as the operating system is compatible). While the highly anticipated JMicron controller 612 begins to point the tip of its nose in some SSD, Kingston remains loyal to Intel and its controllers. This therefore works on 5 channels and is expected to offer good performance in writing small files. The advertised speeds are 170MB / s read and 40MB / s write. Conclude by stating that these disks, format 2 "1 / 2, are scheduled for an MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure, Average life) of one million hours and are guaranteed for 3 years. Note that for the moment, only the desktop will be proposed for models 64 and 128 GB which are available for laptops. The reason is simple: SSD aims to replace your hard drive, relegating it to disk storage. This possibility does not exist in most phones that have only one site for hard disk.
The procedure for updating
In the specifications of its SSD, Kingston said it is better to add support for AHCI in the BIOS to make the most of its product. AHCI and BIOS are not really known acronyms of great public target yet privileged by this kit. As we mentioned in the introduction about the reduced capacity of the SSD, the technical object again to the desire for simplicity in Kingston is given.
The problem with AHCI
The AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface ) is a hardware layer that allows the controller to provide more advanced disk connected with S-ATA. It sometimes helps to improve transfer rates, but allows the most hot-plug and its activation is necessary to see the work (NCQNative Command Queuing) on Intel platforms. You can find this setting in the configuration storage (Storage Configuration) that is your BIOS, or in the section on embedded devices.
Support for AHCI is native in Windows Vista and Windows 7 (at least on Intel platforms), but it is not on Windows XP. In this case install a third-party driver at startup. Together with the BIOS settings, this operation requires some knowledge and addresses, in our view, for the advanced user. But that is not the prime target of Kingston with this kit.
Apart from these difficulties already almost insurmountable for most novice users, there is another problem: enabling AHCI in the BIOS on a system where Windows is installed leads inexorably to a blue screen of death when the hard drive SATA has been used in IDE mode during Vista installation, which is probably the case with the vast majority of people. Then there exists a solution that is enabled in Vista for AHCI drivers. By default they are disabled. This manipulation forced in the registry which, again, is absolutely not possible for most users. For more information on the procedure, see This page of the knowledge base of Microsoft.
The software migration, Acronis True Image HD
One of the main interests of the Kingston product is its software migration. This is supposed to allow you to clone your system from your old disk to the SSD Kingston. To perform this task, Kingston has not developed in-house solution, but has used its famous and Acronis True Image. The software is present on a CD supplied in the kit and starts when you start your computer. On the screen that appears, you can choose to continue to run Windows or using Acronis True Image.
Choose the task of cloning ( "Clone Disk"), then the automatic mode. The manual mode provides only functions rather unattractive for most people.
In our case, two units are involved, one being the drive containing our system, the other being the SSD Kingston. You will notice that our hard disk has a capacity of 1TB, while the SSD Kingston is of 40 GB. This difference is not bothersome as your system partition to exceed the 40 GB, so choose your old hard disk as source unit, then the Kingston SSD as a destination unit.
If "Delete Partition" can be scary at first, you may do absolutely nothing if you have successfully met our guidance in the previous step, because the SSD does not currently contains no information to delete! Distrust, however, because in case of error in selecting the destination disk, you may delete the partition on your old drive, making the procedure unattainable and your data inaccessible.
The next screen summarizes the manipulation that you have set up. Clearly visible on this screen is the reduction of space dedicated to the system (of 931.5 GB 37.25 GB). It remains to initiate the procedure on our test machine that did not exceed 5 minutes, knowing that our installation of Windows 7 was very recent and free of unnecessary program.
What were the gains?
We now conducted a small series of tests to verify in practice, what were the gains made by replacing the Kingston SSD hard disk. We used the following machine for the test:
•Corsair TX850W Power Supply
•Motherboard Asus Rampage II Extreme (BIOS 1406),
•Intel Core i7 920 2.8 GHz
•RAM G.SKILL Perfect Storm Series DDR3-2000
•NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT
The hard disk which will compare the Kingston SSD is the Seagate Barracuda with an exact model 7200.12, a storage of a terabyte and a cache of 32 MB for an operating speed of 7200 rpm. We also compared the Kingston SSD model of reference, namely with the Intel X25-M "Postville". AHCI mode has been activated and we have installed the latest Intel Matrix Storage drivers. And finally Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit version was used during these tests.
Crystal Diskmark 2.2.0
This software allows for tests of reading and writing sequential and random on our SSD test. Reading and writing are performed sequentially from a file of 100 MB, while random tests are carried out with files of 512 KB and 4 KB which are the results of these tests:
In reading a sequential file of 100 MB, Kingston SSD is much faster than our Seagate. The Intel SSD is completely out of competition, with incredible speed of over 260 MB / s! This value of 180 Mb / s obtained for the Kingston disc seems relatively high in comparison to that announced by the manufacturer, ie 170 MB / s. In writing, however, the drive still has plenty of top performance and offers more than twice better than the Kingston SSD, the Intel drive standing between the two. Note however that the 40 Mb / s advertised are exceeded.
Reading random files of 512 KB, the performance of Seagate drop over 50%. These Kingston DSS also decreases, though less pronounced, while those of Intel Postville remains exceptional. Result, a gap that varies from simple to triple, and more! In writing, the gap decreases as the performance of SSD remains unchanged from the sequential writing. The Seagate remains over 30% faster than the Kingston SSD, as the SSD from Intel, virtually tied with the hard drive on this test.
Here, the results are more than satisfactory, since the model Kingston maintains a flow reading above 26 MB / s when the Seagate sees its performance to less than 1 Mb / s. Even the Intel SSD, however, more upscale , fails to keep pace with the Kingston model. In writing, the conclusion is the same: while the performance of SSD remains unchanged, those of hard disk drop dramatically to 1.2 Mb / s, which is a very important difference. Again, the disc allows Kingston to beat Intel to the model with a few MB / s.
Following tests with synthetic HDTach is used to test both the speed and average read access time to disk, which is important for overall performance and responsiveness of the machine. In both cases, the system is clearly superior to Seagate. Two times better (or slightly more than the Intel SSD) first regarding the reading speed (again, this value of 200 Mb / s may have to drop a bit with the use of SSD , from Kingston). Regarding the access time, the difference is even more glaring: where it takes nearly 14 ms to get information, it only takes 0.1 ms to SSDs through their memory type Flash.
The SSD is likely to have to replace our good old hard drives, it is a certainty. Their benefits are undeniable, particularly in terms of reading speed or access time. The idea of Kingston to make everyone a SSD addicted is laudable, especially because its performance is quite adequate and the price is very interesting.
40 GB for a very aggressive price positioning
While the SSD will be sold only from November 9 to 78 euros, the whole kit will be available for 82.5 euros. The psychological barrier of 100 euros is largely decreased. We then realize that Kingston is not much better material than its main competitors, OCZ, which is doing even better with its 120GB Solid model.
Thus the low capacity of the Kingston product is causing this aggressive rate. But for us it is also one of its main limitations for consumer use. 40 GB to a disk system, this should be sufficed. But the migration process involves cloning of your old system, and only if the folder "My Documents" is overloaded with pictures or videos, or if there is a number of machines in the "Program Files "so that the size of the system greatly exceeds the 40 GB, then the only solution: uninstall and reinstall the old drive after migration … Not really easy for a novice.
On the technical side, we might regret that Kingston did not attempted similar challenge like the JMicron controller 612, which looks quite promising. However, performance of SSDs are in line with the choice of brand. Playback performance is quite correct for a disk of this price and that, whatever the size of the file. With a score of 24 to 251 in PC Mark Vantage, we even noticed that our SSD manages to climb into third place behind the two discs. Finally, the product of Kingston is very attractive because of its aggressive price and performance that is rather good, except for writing large files, and unsupported, yet hopefully, function TRIM.