Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB SSD Review

The Kingston SSDNow V300 is yet another value-oriented SSD in Kingston's wildly successful line of mainstream solid state drives. With the pressures of TLC SSDs squeezing the value market we take a look and see if a standard MLC SSD with 19nm Toshiba Toggle NAND and an SF-2281 processor can keep up with the changing times.

Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD Basics

Kingston has had much success over the years with their SSDNow series of SSDs which are aimed at the value segment of the market. Building upon that track record of success Kingston releases the SSDNow V300 SSDs. These SSDs might not top the performance charts but they bring along enough performance to provide end users with a faster, smoother computing experience.

One of the key differentiators with the last Kingston V-series SSDs was the asynchronous NAND that was used to lower the price of the SSD. The difference with the V300 is the higher quality Toshiba Toggle Mode MLC NAND. This new 19nm MLC NAND reduces cost through not only through its higher density, but Kingston is also taking the step of packaging the Toshiba Toggle NAND themselves which leads to further cost savings. This is reflected by the fact that the NAND is also bearing the Kingston logo even though it is Toshiba Toggle NAND underneath.

In the past Kingston has not discriminated when selecting controllers for their V-Series SSDs, selecting from SandForce, JMicron, and Toshiba. This time around the NAND is paired with the venerable LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller which has a long and proven track record in the consumer market.

This controller requires very little in the way of manufacturer intervention because LSI SandForce provides the firmware that is needed for the controller. Kingston has taken the unusual step of branding the SandForce processor with the Kingston logo. No other manufacturer of SandForce SSDs has taken this step, and this may be due to the fact that the SandForce firmware for this drive has been customized specifically for Kingston. To what extent the firmware has been customized isn't precisely defined, though we suspect it is mainly optimizations for the interaction with the 19nm Toshiba Toggle NAND.

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The Kingston SSDNow V-series has always been designed for ease of use and simplicity. Many consumers do not need a high dollar flagship SSD that brings a high price point along with the high performance. Many users have relatively light workloads that consist of email, internet browsing and heavy multimedia use. This type of usage pattern does not require the highest speed that money can buy, and for most common users the real decision comes down to price and reliability.

Most users are simply looking for a reliable drive that provides a simple upgrade path. The SSDNow V300 looks to attract these customers with its upgrade kit. The kit includes everything that users need for a simple upgrade, from mounting brackets to the actual software needed to clone over the existing drive. The Acronis software is easy to use, and the SSD also includes a hardware installation and cloning video for those that aren't accustomed to changing out their HDD on a regular basis.

These videos are a nice touch that many end users will appreciate.

Kingston's value oriented SSD is wading into tough waters with the TLC NAND Samsung 840 providing a great solution in the 'bang for the buck' category. The value market is heating up, but there are some performance concerns that many take into consideration when comparing MLC to TLC products. Today we will take a look at Kingston's latest SSDNow V300 120GB SSD to see how it stacks up to the competition.