Kingston Delivers the First Good Sub-$100 SSD (after Rebate)

I’m not sure what sort of sweetheart deal Intel inked with Kingston, but it’s paying off. Other than Hitachi, Kingston is the only company allowed to use Intel’s controllers in their SSDs. And today, it gets even more interesting. The Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is a 34nm X25-M G2 with only 40GB of MLC NAND Flash on it.

You read that right, Kingston gets to make a 40GB X25-M G2 under its own brand.

Kingston wants this to be specifically used for your OS and applications, where the speedy launch performance of an SSD is most useful. You’d keep your games, data and other large files on a separate hard drive. Why 40GB? To keep costs down of course. The Kingston drive goes on sale starting November 9th. The MSRP of the drive will be $115 ($130 with a 2.5” to 3.5” drive adapter), Kingston is offering a rebate through Newegg that will apparently drop the price to $84.99.

Kingston’s goal was to hit the sub-$100 price point and they did it, sort of. I’m not a big fan of mail-in rebates, and it remains to be seen if Newegg can keep the drive in stock at those prices, but the intention is good.


Only 5 devices means the Intel controller works in 5-channel mode, instead of 10-channel like the X25-M G2

While the drive uses an Intel 34nm X25-M controller and 34nm flash, it doesn’t have the latest firmware from Intel, which means it doesn’t support TRIM. Since it’s technically not an Intel drive you can’t update it using the firmware I linked to earlier. The drive will most likely eventually get TRIM support, just not now. Unfortunately it doesn't even work with Intel's SSD Toolbox, again, because it's technically a Kingston drive.

With only half the NAND flash of an 80GB X25-M (only five NAND devices on board), its sequential write speeds are cut in half - Kingston rates the drive at 40MB/s. Random performance suffers a bit, but sequential write performance sees the biggest hit.

If you've already got a large hard drive for games/data and don't have that many apps installed, the Kingston 40GB SSD is a perfect way to move to an SSD affordably.

Wipe When You Can’t TRIM Sequential Read/Write Speed
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  • RAWIRON - Saturday, December 19, 2009 - link

    I've read about some Macbook hacks for the SSD user, but still wonder how I should make my SSD's "new" state last longer.

    I do still wonder if I should use the "Secure Empty Trash" in Snow Leopard? At first, I've partitioned my drive for all available space, but then reduced the HFS partition to 68 Gb or so - will this prolong my drive's "new" state because of Intel's algorithms?
    Should I use "Erase Free Space" in Disk Utility?
    Thanks!
    Reply
  • kunedog - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    I would say NO. Secure Erase (of used or free space) will generate (many) more writes which can only make the problem worse, "using up" your reserve space much more quickly than before. At least that's what my intuition says. Maybe somenoe who knows for sure will chime in. Reply
  • kunedog - Friday, December 04, 2009 - link

    The Kingston 40GB is available for $130:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    I wonder how many, if any, were sold at $85 (or even $115). I also wonder how this article is repeatedly bumped for minor (and predictable) updates while the incorrect pricing predictions are never acknowledged. The Intel MLC SSDs continue to list for much higher than the given "expected" launch price . . .
    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...

    . . . yet that article was never bumped to the top. Even the G1s were priced higher! Props to Anand for keeping the SSD companies honest on performance, but why can't the same be done for pricing?

    If I were going to release/retail a new SSD, I would definitely call Anand ahead of time and tell him an expected price about 50-75% of the real one so he would blindly print it and create demand.
    Reply
  • mohsh86 - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    lol the promised to deliver it by the end of Novmber, they didn't but they changed the date of release :P i've been checking every day..

    The Firmware Update tool 1.5 is now available, posted (according to intel in 30/11) the SSD toolbox still unavailable..

    did any one try it ?!

    i have the firmware the one before the bricking firmware, i guess it has the letter g, should i upgrade ?!
    Reply
  • mohsh86 - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    It finally came ! The End of November, The 1st of December..

    No Trim Firmware, No Intel SSD Toolbox, no RAID support for toolbox
    Reply
  • Dverez - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    The new Firmware is out and works properly.
    To test SSD this is a good program, I think.

    (http://alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=...
    Reply
  • mohsh86 - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    It finally came ! The End of November, The 1st of December..

    No Trim Firmware, No Intel SSD Toolbox, no RAID support for toolbox
    Reply
  • Sind - Monday, November 30, 2009 - link

    Wheres the firmware update, it's Nov 30th! Reply
  • xpclient - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Please test 2 X25-Ms with Intel Matrix RAID10 and other Matrix RAID arrays the moment Intel drivers with TRIM come out. Reply
  • Mygaffer - Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - link

    Another great article, thank you for all the hard work and insightful analysis. Articles like yours help keep the industry honest and responsive.
    I can't wait until they become cheap enough for me to buy two for a RAID 0, and of course for Intel to release new drivers to support the TRIM commands.
    Reply

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