Kingston SSDNow V200 128Gb Review


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The new and improved Kingston SSDNow V200 SSDs have been released, with the hopes of putting its rocky past to rest. The new firmware applied to the re-release promises to fix all the issues that plagued last years initial offering. Kingston has also dropped the price as much as 40% in some instances, which makes the drive an attractive option for those looking to jump into the SSD fold.

Those of you that own a modern laptop or Ultrabook should find the SSDNow V200 a viable option, because of its 7 mm thickness. Most SSDs on the market are 9.5 mm thick, which does not fit the modern laptops and Ultrabooks, which are thinner than ever.

Who doesn’t love a good come back story? Follow along as we explore the re-released Kingston SSDNow V200 and find out if Kingston’s efforts have paid off.

About Kingston

“Kingston has grown to be the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products. With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 4,000 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the “Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune magazine, Kingston’s tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture. Kingston believes that investing in employees is essential and that each individual employee is a vital part of the company’s success.

Kingston serves an international network of distributors, resellers, retailers and OEM customers on six continents. The company also provides contract manufacturing and supply chain management services for semiconductor manufacturers and system OEMs.”

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The Kingston SSDNow V200 comes in three capacities – 64Gb, 128Gb, and 256Gb. Today we will be looking at the 128Gb “Desktop Upgrade Kit”. Below you will find a list of the features, benefits, and specifications of the Kingston SSDNow V200, as provided by the Kingston web site.

Not noted in the specifications above is the use of the JMicron JMF668 controller, and Toshiba 24nm 3KP/E cycle MLC NAND Flash. You may be asking “What’s different? Those are the same components used in the first release”. As it turns out, the issues in the first release SSDNow V200 were firmware related, and not controller or NAND issues.

The box is decked out with a cool blue and white theme, with a picture of the drive itself gracing the front. The back of the box does a great job of explaining the box contents with a picture of everything that is included. The box sides are printed with the product name and branding.

All of the contents included in the kit are housed in a cardboard clam shell, which does a nice job of protecting everything inside. Sitting on the top is a DVD and CD, the DVD being a movie explaining the installation and data migration process. The included CD has a bootable copy of Acronis True Image HD, which is used for migrating your data to the SSDNow V200.

Below the two discs are the included 3.5″ to 2.5″ adapter brackets, the 4-Pin Molex to SATA power cable, and the SATA data cable. The adapter bracket comes complete with mounting screws, which is a nice touch.


Once all the accessories are removed you will find the SSDNow V200 sitting at the bottom of the cardboard clam shell. There is a clear plastic cover over the drive to protect it from scratches during transportation.

Below are some close up pictures of the SSDNow V200 from the different angles. The top of the drive has a large label attached with model and branding information. One thing I really like is that Kingston prints the firmware version on the label, which takes all the guess work out of trying to find out if a newer firmware version is available. From the back of the drive we can see the data cable connection, the power connection, and a 4-Pin factory service connector.

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Installation of the SSDNow V200 is a relatively painless experience, which can be accomplished in just a few minutes. Most newer computer cases have a provision for installing a 2.5″ SSD, but if yours does not, then simply use the included adapter to install the drive in an open 3.5″ drive bay. Once secured in place with the included screws just install a SATA power lead and the included SATA cable to the drive. Next, plug the data cable to an open SATA port on your motherboard. If you plan to use the SSDNow V200 as the main boot drive, then install it to your SATA_0 port on the motherboard. While hooking the SSD to the SATA_0 port is not imperative, it’s a good habit to get into. Once all this is done, and your intent is to install a fresh copy of Windows, just boot from your Windows disk and install your operating system.

If your intent is to migrate an existing Windows installation to the new SSD, then boot from the CD that comes included with the SSDNow V200. You may wish to access the CD first and print a copy of the installation guide before you actually boot from it. The installation guide is in .PDF format and does a fantastic job of walking you through the data migration process. Acronis True Image HD is the program Kingston uses for its data migration software, widely regarded as the best out there. Alternatively, you can visit the Kingston 3KSSD review recently published here at Overclockers Tech for data migration instructions.

Here is a look at the screens you will see once you boot from the Acronis True Image HD software. Just follow the guides and the process is quick and easy!

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Test Bed

  • EVGA P67 FTW Motherboard
  • i7 2600K CPU @ 4.5 Ghz
  • G.SKill 8 Gb DDR3 1866 MHz F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL
  • EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler
  • PowerColor PCS+ HD7850 Video Card
  • Corsair HX1050 Power Supply

Here is a screen shot with the AHCI driver information used for testing.

Just for a bit of fun, I ran the Windows 7 assessment tool to see what rating it gives the SSDNow V200. A 7.9 is the maximum available score, and that’s exactly what this SSD received! We are off to a good start I’d say.

Continuing with the fun stuff, I ran Boottimer.exe and that came in with a sub six second result. Granted, I have the system overclocked, but seriously….. 5.850 seconds is insanely fast! I had a hard time believing that result, so I ran it several times and came up with almost identical times for each run.

As we make our way through the benchmarks, it’s important to note that the comparison SSDs in the charts are mostly higher end, SandForce controller based SSDs. As mentioned earlier, the SSDNow V200 uses the JMicron JMF668 controller, which is not the fastest there is. Using the JMicron controller has allowed Kingston to offer the SSDNow V200 at a substantially reduced cost, especially when compared to SandForce or OCZs proprietary Indilinx controllers. Kingston claims 300 MB/s read and 190 MB/s write speeds for this SSD, and that is what I’ll be most concerned with here. Also worth noting is that I have a completely updated Windows 7 X64 installation, and several productivity applications loaded on the drive. I normally test SSDs with a fair amount of software loaded in an attempt to obtain real world type test results. So, lets move on and see if the advertised speeds are indeed obtainable.

ATTO

ATTO is the first benchmark I ran, and as you can see by the results below, once the tests got to the larger sizes it had no problem reaching the advertised speeds.

AS SSD

The AS SSD benchmark shows the SSDNow V200 coming just short of advertised read/write speeds, but certainly within the margin of error.  The drive fared pretty well against the competition here, especially in the 4K tests. The SSDNow V200 blew the competition away on the write access time test, but fell short on the read access time, not enough to be concerned about however.

AS SSD also has a scoring system which rates overall read/write performance, the scores here were about what was expected for this drive.

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark measures read and write speeds using random, 0 fill, and 1 fill patterns. While the sequential read speeds fell ever so slightly under advertised speeds, the write tests speeds were consistently above the advertised 190 MB/s.

Here are the random read/write results.

The 0 fill 4K QD32 tests were pretty impressive with the SSDNow V200 actually beating out the Vertex 3. The sequential write score came just a tad under advertised speeds, but again the write speed was over and above.

The 1 fill portion of the CrystalDiskMark testing showed very similar results to those of the 0 fill tests.  The sequential write tests continued to pound out numbers over and above the advertised speeds.

IOMeter 2008

The limitations of the JMicron controller become somewhat apparent during the IOMeter testing. The 2MB transfer speeds were right where they needed to be to meet advertised specifications. The SSDNow V200 is not advertised as one that achieves super high IOPS scores, and that is evident by the read portion of the test results. The write results however, were not bad at all.

Here are the 4K IOPS and transfer speed results.

And finally the IOMeter 2MB IOPS and transfer speed results.

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With a price of under $100 USD (currently $94 at Tiger Direct), it’s pretty hard not to take a good look at the 128Gb SSDNow V200, especially if you are looking for an entry level SSD. The sequential write speed issues that plagued the initial release have been addressed and corrected in this re-release. So much so, that it consistently performed above the advertised 190 MB/s on the sequential write testing we performed. I pounded this drive over and over again for the better part of two days, and did not see any of the write speed degradation that hampered the initial release.

Make no mistake, this is certainly not the fastest SSD on the market, but it is not intended to be either. It does however, perform as advertised and offers a great bang for the buck. The boot time was incredibly fast, and rivals that of drives costing twice what this one does. The SATA 6 GB/s interface, and the compatibility provided by the 7mm thick chassis adds even more to the value of the drive. The SSDNow V200 will fit just about anywhere you’d like to install it; notebooks, laptops, ultra books and of course desktop PCs.

Kudos to Kingston for recognizing a problem and dealing with it professionally, which is a rare commodity now days. The SSDNow V200 has made a successful comeback, and just plain works from the moment you plug it in. For those of you on a budget that are looking for an inexpensive way to get yourself in the SSD game, but still want a drive that performs as advertised, the Kingston SSDNow V200 deserves a serious look.

Given that the Kingston SSDNow v200 has a terrific price, and performs as advertised or above, it’s easy to award it our Overclockers Tech Gold Award!

Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

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