Kingston 40GB V Series Boot Drive SSD ReviewSun, Oct 25, 2009 - 12:00 AM
Inside The SSDNow V Series Drive
Since we know the Kingston SSDNow V series 40GB boot drive has Intel components inside we opened up our test sample to make sure and to see what the internals look like.
After removing the four Allen head screws that hold down the Kingston SSDNow V Series cover we were able to lift off the cover and see what makes this little SSD tick. With the cover removed, we were able to see a green PCB that didn’t have any MLC NAND Flash components on it, but that is just this side of the drive.
Taking the drive out of the housing and flipping it over we can finally see the good stuff! The drive uses five Intel 8GB flash packages, which means it really has 40GB of actual space on it.
Here is a closer look at the Intel MLC NAND Flash memory that is being used on the drive. This 40GB SSD consists of five Multi-Level Cell (MLC) components that are made by Intel and have part number 29F64G08CAMD1 etched on the top of them. This drive with these chips is pretty much bullet proof as it has an operating vibrating tolerance of 2.17G (7-800Hz)! The non-operating vibration tolerance is 20G (20-200Hz), which is amazing when you think about how much force that would be.
The heart and soul of all Kingston V Series 40GB Boot Drive SSD is the Intel controller pictured above. The first generation drives used an Intel branded controller with the part number PC29AS21AA and the new second generation drivers use an Intel branded controller with the part number PC29AS21BA0. The controller was changed for a number of reasons, but you can bet that performance and added features is the number one reason for going to a new controller. The new controller architecture still employs the same 10 parallel NAND Flash channels used in the original controller but can now support features like TRIM.
Legit Reviews asked Intel if TRIM would ever be supported in the first generation Intel SSDs and they stated that “No TRIM support for 50nm Intel SSD drives is planned at this time”. So, you would think that this drive would support the TRIM command in Windows 7, right? Well, the drive shipped to us with Firmware 02G9, which is a non-TRIM supporting firmware that was released by Intel back in August 2009. We tried to flash the drive firmware version 02HA, which is the TRIM supporting firmware, but we got this error message when using the Intel Firmware Update Tool.
As you can see, the proprietary Intel Firmware Update Tool would not work since the Kingston SSDNow V series 40GB boot drive has Kingston as the manufacturer in the firmware. Since Kingston hasn’t yet released a firmware update utility, we were unable to get the TRIM supporting firmware on the drive. We tried to cheat by trying to get the Intel utility to work, but the Kingston drive doesn’t work with Intel’s utility. This means that the Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive does not currently support the TRIM command even though the hardware does support the feature.
We asked Kingston if this specific drive would support TRIM and got the following answer:
Kingston: “Currently, the Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive does not support TRIM. However, we will have it for this drive as it is on our road map.” – Kingston PR
From this answer we can make an educated guess and say that the Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive will support TRIM with a future firmware update. This will likely happen after Intel has officially launched their own 40GB X25-M drives with TRIM down the road. This is a small negative, but at least you should be able to get TRIM support down the road. Upgrading from firmware version 02G9 to version 02HA on the Intel G2 drives was non-destructive, so we can only assume that the update for the Kingston SSDNow V series 40GB boot drive would be as well.
Below the Intel controller is a single 32MB Micron 133MHz SDRAM that is used for the cache of the drive. The chip is labeled 48LC16M16A2-75.
The life expectancy of the Kingston SSDNow V series drives is 1.0 million hours mean time before failure (MTBF). This means that the drive should easily live longer than the 3-year warranty that comes with it. Kingston Technology backs their SSDs with 24/7 tech support on top of the three-year warranty, which is nice when you need help during odd hours or on the weekend.