Kingston SSDNow V+100 vs. Samsung 470 Series 256 GB SSD Review
By Henry Butt on May 3, 2011


Introduction

Upgrading a computer with a solid state drive (SSD) is one of the best ways of boosting its real world performance across the board. Today we are going to review and compare two of the latest 256 GB SSDs on the market from Samsung and Kingston. Both drives on test are within the USD 450 to 550 price range.

Before going on, we’d highly suggest that you read our Anatomy of SSD Units tutorial which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs. Both of the SSDs featured in this review use MLC memory chips.

Figure 1: Both SSDs, head-to-head
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Figure 1: Both SSDs, head-to-head

Capacious 256 GB SSDs like these two are ideal for notebook users who will usually be limited to a single drive setup as they have much more room for files than smaller capacity drives. Desktop systems almost always have room for multiple storage drives, so many users opt for a cheaper low capacity SSD alongside a mechanical hard drive to save money.

Figure 2: Kingston Desktop Bundle
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Figure 2: Kingston Desktop Bundle

In the table below, we are comparing both of the units that we’re going to review. Both units use a SATA-300 interface and the usual 2.5” form factor. The Kingston drive is available as a standalone drive or as part of a ‘Desktop Bundle’. Our sample included the ‘Desktop Bundle’ which contains an adapter to make the SSD fit a 3.5” hard drive bay and SATA power and data cables. It also includes software which lets the user create an exact replica of their current hard drive on the SSD, making the upgrade very simple. Kingston also includes a USB 2.0 enclosure for the SSD which makes this process even more simple.

Manufacturer

Model

Model #

Capacity

Price

Samsung

470 Series

MZ-5PA256

256 GB

USD 450

Kingston

SSDNow V+100

SVP100S2B/256GR

256 GB

USD 523

We researched the prices at Buy.com on the day that we published the review and noted the following observations:

In the table below we provide a more in-depth technical comparison between the two drives. Most chip manufacturers don’t detail the specifics of their chips on their websites, so we are only linking those we found.

Model

Controller

Buffer

Memory

Samsung 470 Series

Samsung S3C29MAX01-Y340

2 x 64 MB (Samsung K4T1G164QE-HCE6)

Samsung K9HDGD8U5M-HCKO

Kingston V+100

Toshiba T6UG1XBG

128 MB (Micron ONA17-D9HSJ)

Toshiba TH58NVG7P7EBAK2

A Closer Look

Even though they both have the same 256 GB capacity, the Kingston and Samsung units differ greatly in most other respects. We will outline these differences below.

Figure 3: Kingston SSDNow V+100 256 GB
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Figure 3: Kingston SSDNow V+100 256 GB

Kingston has decided to use a metal casing for this drive which makes it feel very solid. This adds significantly to the weight, though, making this unit heavier than most 2.5” mechanical hard drives.

Figure 4: Inside the Kingston SSDNow V+100 256 GB
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Figure 4: Inside the Kingston SSDNow V+100 256 GB

All of the chips within the Kingston drive are located on one side of the board which sits on a large thermal pad to aid heat dissipation. Kingston has chosen to use eight 32 GB chips to make up the total capacity along with a 128 MB buffer. In the center of the board we find the Toshiba T6UG1XBG controller which is identical to the model used in Apple’s latest Macbook Air. This supports maximum read and write speeds of 230 MB/s and 180 MB/s, respectively.

Figure 5: Samsung 470 Series 256 GB
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Figure 5: Samsung 470 Series 256 GB

The Samsung drive sports a lightweight plastic casing which makes it ideal for use in a laptop. It should protect the insides reasonably well but lacks the indestructible feeling of the Kingston casing.

Figure 6: Inside the Samsung 470 Series 256 GB
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Figure 6: Inside the Samsung 470 Series 256 GB

It’s clear that Samsung has designed the drive’s board to be used with 1.8” drives as well as 2.5” ones, as it’s far smaller than the outer casing. Samsung has chosen to use sixteen 16 GB memory chips to make up the 256 GB capacity which are located on both sides of the board. On the top of the board we find one of the two buffer chips and nine memory chips. The remaining buffer chip and seven memory chips are located on the underside of the board alongside the Samsung S3C29MAX01-Y340 controller. This supports maximum read and write speeds of 250 MB/s and 230 MB/s, respectively.

How We Tested

During our testing procedures we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Benchmarking Software

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences less than 3% can’t be considered meaningful. Therefore when the performance difference between two products is less than 3% we consider them to have similar performance.

CrystalDiskMark

As you will have gathered from the last page, we measured the performance of each drive using three different programs CrystalDiskMark, DiskSpeed32 and HD Tune. We will be looking at the test results from each program in the order they appear in the list above, dedicating a separate page to each test.

It’s important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port which could cause performance limitations.

We used CrystalDiskMark’s default configuration for our tests which benchmarked each SSD using a file size of 1000 MB with five test runs. Please read on to see the results.

Graph: Sequential Read

In the sequential read test, the Samsung 470 Series drive was around 10% faster than the Kingston V+100 drive. Both these results are very similar to the manufacturer claimed performance figures.

Graph: Sequential Write

The sequential write results are much closer than the sequential read results but the Samsung 470 Series drive still beats the Kingston V+100 drive by about 3.5%

Graph: Random Read 512 KB

In the random read test using 512 KB blocks, the Kingston V+100 was the best performing drive and was 7% faster than the Samsung 470 Series unit.

Graph: Random Write 512 KB

The Samsung 470 Series drive takes the performance lead again in the random write test using 512 KB blocks, with 30% better performance than the Kingston V+100 unit.

Graph: Random Read 4 KB

In the random read test using 4 KB blocks, the Kingston V+100 was 11% faster than the Samsung 470 Series drive.

Graph: Random Write 4 KB

The Samsung 470 Series drive bettered the Kingston V+100 drive by around 57% in the Random Write test using 4 KB blocks.

DiskSpeed32

We will now take a look at the results from DiskSpeed32 which lets us measure performance in a different way, sequentially reading all sectors from the SSD.

First of all, we will look at the burst transfer rates of each drive. These show us the maximum transfer rate between the motherboard’s SATA port and the controller within the SSD.

Graph: Burst Transfer Rate

In the burst transfer rate test, the Kingston V+100 was 33% faster than the Samsung 470 Series drive.

Graph: Maximum Transfer Rate

Things are much the same in the maximum transfer rate test where the Samsung 470 Series drive outperformed the Kingston V+100 by 24%.

 DiskSpeed32 Average

But in the more important average transfer rate test, the Samsung 470 Series managed to achieve a 24% lead over the Kingston V+100 drive.

Graph: Minimum Transfer Rate

In the minimum transfer rate test, the Samsung 470 Series drive beat the Kingston V+100 drive by around 464%. During the test, there was only one moment when the Kingston drive’s transfer rate dropped to this low level, though.

HD Tune

Finally, we will look at the results recorded using HD Tune.

Graph: Burst Transfer Rate

In the HD Tune burst transfer rate test, the Kingston V+100 outperformed the Samsung 470 Series drive by around 185%.

Graph: Average Transfer Rate

But as we saw in DiskSpeed32, the Samsung 470 Series drive beat the Kingston V+100 by 18% in the average transfer rate test which is more significant than the burst rate.

Graph: Maximum Transfer Rate

The Samsung 470 Series drive wins the maximum transfer rate test, beating the Kingston V+100 drive by 13%.

HD Tune Min

The Kingston drive had some issues in the minimum transfer rate test, experiencing a large momentary drop in performance near the beginning of the test. The Samsung 470 Series drive outperformed the Kingston drive by 180%.

Access Time

Transfer rates aren’t the only measurements that are important to consider when evaluating a storage device. We must also consider the access time of the storage unit. This is the time taken for the storage device to start delivering data after the computer has requested it. So, the shorter the access time, the better. It is measured using milliseconds (ms, which is equal to 0.001 s).

While mechanical hard disk drives tend to have access times in the tens of milliseconds, the access times of solid state drives are much closer to zero as the components are 100% electronic. We recorded access times of 0.1ms for both drives in DiskSpeed32 and HD Tune.

Conclusions

It’s clear from our tests that the Samsung 470 Series 256 GB unit is the fastest out of the two SSDs on test as it came out on top in most of the benchmarks. But there were some benchmarks in which the Kingston SSDNow V+100 proved superior.

The Kingston V+100 drive performed better than the Samsung 470 Series in random read tests in CrystalMark which use 4 KB and 512 KB blocks. But the Samsung 470 Series performed better in the sequential read and write tests and both 4 KB and 512 KB random write tests.

Moving on to DiskSpeed32, the Kingston V+100 drive performed better than the Samsung 470 Series unit in the burst transfer rate test while the Samsung 470 series beat the Kingston by quite a margin in the maximum, minimum and average transfer rate tests.

In HD Tune, the Kingston drive also beat the Samsung 470 Series in the burst transfer rate test while failing to beat it in the others. Taking all into account, the Samsung 470 Series boasts best overall performance out of the two drives.

We were hoping that Kingston’s SSDNow V+ 100 256 GB would be as good a value for the money as their lower capacity models but it has a USD 70 price premium over the Samsung 470 Series 256 GB drive which performs better overall. So out of the two, we would definitely say that the Samsung 470 Series 256 GB is the best choice.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Kingston-SSDNow-V+100-vs-Samsung-470-Series-256-GB-SSD-Review/1260


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