Even with superb examples like the Samsung Spinpoint F3, there’s no denying that hard disk drives now hang a long way behind the solid state drive when it comes to performance. We know we’ve said it before, but the SSD truly has the potential to have the most palpable impact on your PC’s performance since the rise of dual core processors; boot times, game load times, application start times, installing patches and service packs – they all benefit enormously from the move to solid state memory.
Of course, if you’ve been reading bit-tech or Custom PC over the last year, you’ll already know this, with numerous high profile memory companies such as OCZ, G.Skill, Patriot and Corsair getting in on the SSD action with variable levels of success. Kingston has come a little late to the party though with its SSD offerings, and seems to be targeting those of you who perhaps have been putting off that SSD upgrade with its smaller, cheaper range of drives.
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However, it’s not all been smooth sailing for Kingston so far. Its M Series is effectively a rebadged 1st generation Intel X-25M (and as thus, will no longer receive support from firmware maker Intel) and the standard V series uses a modified of the now infamous JMicron drive controller (albeit with an upgraded cache to solve the stuttering issues that plagued earlier drives).
Now Kingston is looking to improve things with the V+ series of drives, available in 64, 128 and 256GB flavours and competing on cost/GB with the likes of the Corsair P256 and OCZ Vertex.
Cracking the V+ open soon reveals some familiar faces though, in the form of the Samsung S3C29RBB01 drive controller and K4X1G323PD 128MB 166MHz DRAM cache, the exact same core hardware you’ll find in a Corsair P256. Yes, as excited as we were, the V+ is another re-badged Samsung drive, just like the Corsair P-series, OCZ Summit Series and Samsung’s own PM series.
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That’s no bad thing though, as the P256 is a very nippy performer, especially when it comes to sequential write and copy speeds. Kingston claims that the 64GB drive should deliver 220MB/sec read and 140MB/sec write speeds (with larger drives achieving faster write speeds) and looking at the form of the Samsung the drive controller that seems accurate.
Alongside the drive controller and cache are eight 8GB Samsung NAND flash modules, with 6 on one side and two more on the other. This leaves the drive’s capacity at 59.6GB, which a little too small for our liking. A fresh install of Windows 7, a few applications and a game or two and you’ll soon hit be reaching for the add/install programs control panel to clear out some room. While we appreciate the fact that a 64GB drive is the most affordable route to the benefits of an SSD, a larger drive is a better option unless you really can’t afford it.
Completing the package is a solid three year warranty along with 24/7 tech support should you run into any problems. As with all storage devices though, this warranty does not cover the data stored on your drive so always make a backup of vital files. Even though an SSD has no moving parts to fail, drive failure and data corruptions, although phenomenally rare, can still occur.