Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
November 24, 2009
Manufacturer
Kingston
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203377
Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive
The Kingston SSDNow 40GB boot drive combines the fast reads and a good price to speed up your system without breaking the bank.

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Intro

While many readers already know the benefits of SSDs, companies are now trying to fit the relatively small storage size of SSDs (compared to traditional magnetic storage) into a new category. There are a few brands of SSDs that have sizes that many readers will balk at, but these should not be thought of as a primary storage drive to be used singly; Rather, you should think of these new breed of small SSDs as a boot/OS/application drive. You keep your spindle based drive for massive storage and gain the speed benefits of faster loading times with the boot SSD. This is how Kingston is targeting the 40GB SSDNow V Series drive.

The Press Release

Rarely do we post a release in an article, but it is important to see how this product is being positioned for the market. After all, 40GB of storage isn't that much. This is why the purposing of using the SSD as a boot drive is important.

Said By Kingston PR

Fountain Valley, CA -- October 26, 2009 -- Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the release of the SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive, the latest addition to its V (Value) family of solid-state drives (SSD). The Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to accelerate any desktop's boot, shutdown and application load times. It is available for as low as $84.99 after rebates (U.S. only) at e-tailer Newegg.com at launch.

"The SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive offers instant performance enhancement coupled with reliability and lower power consumption at a fraction of the cost of a new system," said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. "The 40GB Boot Drive is the latest offering in our V Series SSD line. It provides a low-cost upgrade solution that complements the installed hard-disk drive to extend the life cycle of existing desktop computers and workstations in homes and offices." ...

Kingston's SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is designed for novice SSD users looking to increase their current desktop performance. As part of Kingston's goal to provide an easy upgrade path for first-time SSD users as well as do-it-yourself system builders, the drive is also available with a bundle that includes cloning software, 2.5" to 3.5" brackets and SATA data and power cable extenders. The SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is designed for a desktop system to be used in conjunction with an existing hard-disk drive (HDD). A PC operating system and key applications reside on the SSD while all data such as documents, music, files and photos remain on the HDD.


The last paragraph is the important bit. Notice that this drive is to be used with a spindle based drive to store all your large media files while the SSD takes care of speeding the system up with its very fast random access times.

Box

box.jpg


At ASE Labs, we pride ourselves on taking this chance to showcase the retail packaging. We're always glad to see companies market their products on store shelves. The Kingston "dude" is an important branding agent for the company.

Parts

parts.jpg


Along with the SSD, Kingston includes a Serial ATA cable, a Serial ATA power adapter (4-pin Molex), a CD with transfer software (Acronis), and a mounting kit for 3.5" bays. The drive itself is a standard 2.5" drive which will fit into most laptops.

Specs

Features:
  • Fast -- up to 170MB/sec. read; 40MB/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 mechanical parts
  • Reliable -- less likely to fail than a standard hard drive
  • Shock Resistant -- No moving mechanical parts so the SSD handles rougher conditions.
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T. -- Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology tells the user when a drive is about to fail
  • Guaranteed -- 3 year legendary Kingston warranty, 24/7 tech support


Specification:
  • Capacity* -- 40GB
  • Storage Temperatures -- -40° C to 85° C
  • Operating temperatures -- 0° C to 70° C
  • Vibration Operating -- 2.17 G (7--800Hz)
  • Vibration Non-Operation -- 20 G (20--2000Hz)
  • Power Specs --40GB Active: .15W (TYP) Sleep: 0.6W (TYP)
  • Life expectancy -- 1 million hours mean time before failure
  • Model -- SNV125-S2BD/40GB
  • Newegg Link


As opposed to the »128GB SSDNow V Series drive, this 40GB model offers vastly different performance. It's write speed has dropped while the read speed has improved (both by a large amount). Also interesting to note is that the active power draw is .15W (that's 150mW).
Page 2
SSDNow 40GB Boot Drive

iso.jpg


It is very interesting to see the vastly different performance characteristics of this model compared to the others in the SSDNow V Series. There is a good reason for these discrepancies and we'll go to that in a moment. Needless to say, the 40GB boot drive is a standard 2.5" SATA drive that will fit in most laptops and, with the 2.5" to 3.5" mounting kit, most desktops. The included Acronis software works with Windows partitions and recognized the Linux partitions on our drive but refused to do anything with them so we copied our root partition manually.

in1.jpg


Why is this drive rated at 170MB/s read and 40MB/s write? As you can see from the above image, this drive is using Intel parts for the controller and NAND memory. It looks like a stripped down X-25M with all the missing memory modules. It is obvious that this drive will not win any speed competitions with other, faster SSDs on the market, but the V in the product line denotes a value segment product and with specs like these, you'll be getting a good deal from this drive.

The drive is the standard MLC based SSD and since it uses Intel NAND memory, should provide excellent random access times. Remember that SSDs really shine on random reads/writes of small data and the positioning of this drive for a boot drive is a good choice. Like the older, larger, V series drive, this drive comes with SMART monitoring to alert you of impending doom on the SSD and is rated for 1 million hours (MTBF) and the drive comes with the standard three year warranty for Kingston. This drive doesn't currently support the TRIM function, but will with a firmware update.

in2.jpg


Looking at the backside of the PCB, it almost seems like Kingston got some good deal on Intel based SSDs that didn't perform to the X25-M standard and re-branded them with less memory. Regardless of the deal, this drive has a proven controller and is backed by one of the best memory manufacturers in the business. The PCB does look pretty sparse on the back, though.

Testing and Use

Asus P6T Deluxe
Intel Core i7 920
»6GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red
»Sapphire Radeon 4850
Ubuntu 9.10 x86_64
Kingston SSDNow 40GB Boot
Seagate 7200.10 320GB Data

We will be foregoing the usual benchmarks on this drive since it isn't targeted to replace your current spindle drive, just enhance it. Does it work as advertised? Yes. Our test system had boot times of around 31 seconds with the spindle drive, and moving the root partition to the SSD brought this down to about 15 seconds. That's a large improvement. Login prompt to desktop also was much faster at 15 seconds for the spindle drive and 9 seconds for the SSD. The real way to get your system faster is to make sure that all your programs are loaded on the SSD as well as the OS. On Linux, this means making the root partition "/" the SSD and the /home partition the spindle drive.

gparted.png


If you decide to install programs to your /home partition, the speed benefits of the SSD boot drive are reduced to OS only. Make sure you plan out where you are putting programs and if you have data that doesn't change, put that on the SSD as well. Random reads are where it's at for the OS and applications. Use the SSD to its fullest. You won't be sorry with a SSD boot drive, and our lab computer feels much faster thanks to this product.

We attempted to measure power consumption but the drive proved to be stealthy enough not to register any significant change on our power meter at the outlet. This drive is very green!

Conclusion

Newegg has this drive for $130 at the time of writing. This is an excellent price to get your feet wet in the SSD market and gain some overall system speed in the process. If you've been on the fence about purchasing a SSD over price, this might spur you to jump and try the new technology.

While the drive may only be 40GB, its price lowers the barrier of entry for consumers to try out SSD drives without throwing away all the storage space on their spindle based drive they have now. Kingston made a smart move by positioning this drive the way it did. Whoever came up with the idea should get a cookie (at least!). Regardless, the Kingston SSDNow 40GB Boot Drive is a good value and we were pleased to be able to use it. If you want to speed up your system without breaking the bank, this is a worthwhile purchase.



ASE Labs would like to thank Kingston for making this review possible.

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