Kingston SSDNow V Series 30GB SNV125-S2BD/30GB

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
March 8, 2010
Manufacturer
Kingston
Product Page
V Series
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156227
Kingston SSDNow V Series 30GB SNV125-S2BD/30GB
Kingston has scrapped the 40GB model in favor of a new 30GB product supporting TRIM and garbage collection. It is a worthy upgrade to the original boot drive.

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Page 1
Introduction

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It may come as a surprise to a few readers that Kingston would put out a 30GB SSD boot drive when they already made and »shipped a 40GB version. Kingston listened to feedback from the community and wanted to provide TRIM and garbage collection support on the drive which wasn't included on the 40GB product. Kingston found out that the controller on the 40GB drive wouldn't support what the community wanted so they opted to scrap the part and bring out a new 30GB model with the needed functionality. The Kingston SSDNow V Series 30GB boot drive was born. Like the original 40GB, this new drive is a perfect addition to a large magnetic storage device currently in most systems. If you are hesitant to jump on the SSD bandwagon due to cost, this might entice you to test the waters. Let's dive into the product.

About Kingston

Quote

Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world’s independent memory leader.

Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and mobile phones. In 2009, the company's sales reached $4.1 billion.

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 its people is essential, and each employee is a vital part of Kingston’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.

http://www.kingston.com/company/default.asp
Page 2
Packaging

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The product packaging is pretty much the same as the previous version of the drive that this replaces. It is always nice to see the retail packaging that everyone would see when browsing a store shelf. The Kingston dude is on display on all their products.

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Presentation is very important to people when they buy a product. No one wants to open the box to find stuff strewn everywhere. The Kingston dude is embossed on the plastic top and the first thing you see is a nice and neat package with the software on top.

Specifications

  • Sequential Speed: up to 180MB/sec. read
    50MB/sec. write
  • Performance: enhances productivity; makes users more efficient
  • Innovative: 2.5" form factor; uses NAND Flash memory components
  • Silent: runs silent and cool with no moving parts
  • Reliable: less likely to fail than a standard hard drive
  • Shock Resistant: no moving parts; handles rougher conditions than a hard drive
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T.: Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology
  • Guaranteed: three-year Kingston warranty, 24/7 tech support
  • Capacity: 30GB
  • Storage temperatures: -40° C to 85° C
  • Operating temperatures: 0° C to 70° C
  • Vibration operating: 20G Peak, 10-2000Hz, (20min/Axis)x3 Axis
  • Vibration non-operating: 20G Peak, 10-2000Hz, (12Cycle/Axis)x3 Axis, x 20min.
  • Power specs: Read: 1.4W (TYP), 2.5W (MAX)
    Write: 1.7W (TYP), 4.2W (MAX)
    Idle, Standby, Sleep: 55mw (TYP)
  • Life expectancy: 500,000 hours MTBF
  • Amazon Link


Kingston provides a three year warranty on this drive and the specs put it a bit faster than the previous version with great read speeds and mediocre write speeds. The other difference is that this setup requires much more power than the older, Intel based, drive.

Package Contents

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In addition to the software, the desktop kit includes the drive, a Serial ATA cable, a 4-pin molex to SATA power cable, and 2.5" to 3.5" mounting brackets. Kingston puts out the bare drive under a different SKU (SNV125-S2/30GB) and will be about $15 cheaper.
Page 3
SSDNow 30GB Boot Drive

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We »recently reviewed the newer model of the V+ Series from Kingston and we always find it interesting to see how new controllers work in different products. Since the older 40GB model used an Intel controller, the 30GB model must be using a different controller that supports TRIM and GC. The drive is a standard 2.5" SATA drive and will fit in any standard SATA mounting system such as laptops. The included Acronis software works with Windows partitions and recognized the Linux partitions on our drive but refused to do anything with them. Regardless, we recommend a fresh install to get the proper setup with this drive. It is easy to leave your /home partition on the magnetic storage and setup a new root partition (plus swap) on the SSD.

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Standard SATA power and data connections are present on this device. If you wanted, you could hook this up to a RAID controller, but don't overload the RAID controller as it will be the bottleneck since SSDs can support a huge number of IOPS over standard magnetic drives.

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One tiny detail caught our attention pretty quickly. This drive uses Phillips (+) screws instead of the more common (for technology parts) Torx. We always want to show off the insides of components and if you want to do the same, here is a warning. The screws being used on the drive cases are highly soft. They strip very easily so you must be very careful when gaining entry to the drive.

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Once inside, we see why the performance of the drive is very different than the V+ Series that this is based on. The controller found on this MLC based drive is the same as the V+ Series we reviewed earlier and the cache is the same as well. We'd like to show you the back of the PCB, but the screws holding the PCB in place are terribly hard and tight. They stripped our precision screwdriver. We can tell that it is a stripped down V Series (the Gen2 with the new Toshiba controller) and it probably has 2x16B Toshiba NAND modules on the back. In addition to the Toshiba controller and Micron memory (512Mb, 64MB), the PCB is very small and takes up little space. This drive is rated for only half a million hours (MTBF), but the work loads it should be experiencing shouldn't be a problem since it will be doing reads most of the time. As we said before, this drive supports TRIM and GC.
Page 4
Use

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The Kingston SSDNow 30GB boot drive offers a bit under 28GB of usable space. This should be plenty for most people to place their root partition and programs on the SSD. The goal is to move most of the write once/read many kind of data to the SSD. The OS and programs are the target. For Windows, that means moving the c:\ partition and using another partition for your home folder. For Unix-like systems, your root and swap should be on the SSD and /home should be on magnetic storage (maybe /var/log as well). Regardless, don't worry about the space, it is plenty.

Testing

Asus P6T Deluxe
Intel Core i7 920
»6GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red
»Sapphire Radeon 4670
Ubuntu 9.10 x86_64
Phoronix Test Suite 2.4

We benched the SSDNow 30GB in three scenarios. The first was the drive alone (/, swap, and /home on the drive alone), the second was the common usage of putting root and swap on the 30GB and leaving /home for magnetic storage. The third was all magnetic storage to see the difference the drive makes. The magnetic storage was a Seagate 320GB 7200.10. After running all the benchmarks, it proved too difficult to show the benefit of the common usage of placing the SSD as your boot drive with magnetic storage since the benchmarks run off of whatever the /home partition is. We will publish them, regardless. The 30GB drive alone shows the benefits (and some negatives) while the ones with magnetic storage are basically only using the Seagate drive.

Drive Performance (Higher is better unless noted)

Name
Value
Percentage
SQLite 3.6.19 12,500 INSERTs Time (Lower is better)
30GB Alone 
984.44
 
30GB+320GB 
521.83
 
320GB Alone 
501.78
 
PostgreSQL pgbench 8.4.0 TPC-B Transactions per second
30GB Alone 
1320.39
 
30GB+320GB 
883.73
 
320GB Alone 
890.66
 
IOzone 3.323 Size: 4GB - Disk Test: Write Performance MB/s
30GB Alone 
56.65
 
30GB+320GB 
92.84
 
320GB Alone 
92.93
 
IOzone 3.323 Size: 4GB - Disk Test: Read Performance MB/s
30GB Alone 
191.76
 
30GB+320GB 
79.53
 
320GB Alone 
78.12
 
Dbench 4.0 12 Clients MB/s
30GB Alone 
27.43
 
30GB+320GB 
23.19
 
320GB Alone 
24.26
 
Disk Read hdparm (to root partition) MB/s
30GB Alone 
144.41
 
30GB+320GB 
141.09
 
320GB Alone 
74.04
 


We can see where the strength of the SSD is. This drive won't be winning any prizes for writing speeds. It loses to magnetic disks in most of the write tests. Where the drive really shines is in the read performance. The majority of read tests show that this drive will dominate magnetic storage. This is why it is important to make sure the drive is setup to write very minimally. In a later article, we'll show how to setup limiting some filesystem parameters can speed up the drive even more.

We also opted for speed tests on boot up and program start up speeds. Like the original 40GB, this new model cut the boot time from magnetic storage more than half. We went from about 33 seconds to about 15 seconds after POST to login prompt. From the prompt to the desktop showed a significant improvement of double as well. Programs started up faster and even if they used the /home for data, the perception of the computer is overall snappier.

While the power draw of the drive is higher than the previous model, it is still modest enough at about 2 watts to be of little concern in the overall system. You'll be happy with the speed increase to not worry about the few cents you'll be spending on the power consumption of the drive, trust us. It is worth it.

Conclusion

By the time this review is posted, the drive will be available from a few different stores. You can check Amazon and Newegg right now to get a great deal on this just released product. While we think it is an excellent deal at the MSRP of $125 ($110 if you opt for the drive alone), Kingston is pushing a sale right now. If you buy the drive soon, you'll get the promotional price of $80, after a rebate. This is a great deal.

Kingston listened to feedback and when it found out that their current product couldn't meet the needs of their consumers, they scrapped it and moved on to a new product. We've been waiting for SSDs to come down in price to where anyone can see the performance benefits. While not a pure benchmark winner, what counts is that you will notice a huge improvement in the overall speed of your computer. It is very hard to quantify this by benchmarking alone, but the stopwatch tests prove it. Once you use a SSD for your root partition, you'll be hard pressed to give it up for magnetic storage only. This is a great deal for a SSD. If you wanted to test the waters, now is a good time to do so.

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We'd like to thank Kingston for making this review possible.
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