As is typical for the SandForce (LSI) drives, the Kingston V300 120GB drive has ~7% overprovisioning that offers the user 111GB of usable space. If you were to purchase the 240Gb version, you’d find yourself with 223GB. Overprovisioning is set by the manufacturer to assist with drive longevity by providing a supply of fresh NAND to use for maintenance duties to bolster overall NAND endurance.
In this article, we used the word value quite a bit and it’s at this stage where we evaluate just that. First we’ll talk a little bit about performance. Even though the read/write specifications by Kingston show 450MB/s performance for each, we were able to blow that out of the water on the ATTO benchmark by hitting speeds close to 100MB/s higher. However, we know that benchmark represents the best case scenario, especially for SandForce drives. When we moved to the benchmarks that use incompressible data we saw write speeds at sub 200MB/s and the read speeds meeting specification. Again, this is expected with the SF-2281 controller and represents some of the worst case scenarios. The true performance lies somewhere in between which is why we run our real world tests that showed the V300 to be no slouch against some of the best drives on the market. During normal everyday use, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and the OCZ Vector depending on their activities. Adding credence to this is the excellent performance we saw on 4k file size tests as this is more a reflection of real world data usage. This is likely a product of the firmware employed which is the LSI version that’s been worked over by Kingston; so it’s not vanilla like we see from a lot of makers you just slap their sticker on the front.
In terms of cost, we have to look at the V300 a few different ways to determine value. You can purchase the bare drive for $110 or you can purchase a bundled 120GB drive (SV300S3D7/120G) for $124. For the bare drive we end up in the $1 per usable GB range which isn’t the cheapest on the market but it’s pretty close when compared to other 120GB SATA 6Gbps drives. Given the performance, it’s a pretty good bang-for-your-buck sweet spot.
Since Kingston had a hand in the firmware as well as doing some of the NAND fabrication, they have rightfully branded the internal components with their moniker and passed the savings to the consumer. They also provide their usual customer support with a three year warranty against defects although we see companies trending towards the five year warranty mark. Power consumption is something we’ve started to focus on as well and the V300 is maybe a little better than where we see a lot of the SF-2281 drives with idle consumption rated at 0.640W and up to 2.052W in an active state. Owners of mobile PC’s are most interested in these numbers and will also like to know that the drive comes in a 7mm z-height so it will fit an ultrabook.
Let’s be honest, the majority of PC users do a whole lot of internet, mail, and light office document usage with a sprinkling of games and multimedia thrown in. Is a high-end, $400 SSD really going to make a big difference in use and feel? Coming from someone who has used them all – nope. So unless your usage demands it or you just have to have the fastest possible components, the V300 will fit your needs nicely.
Legit Bottom Line: The V300 SSD line from Kingston aims to offer performance at a price that won’t makeyou weak in the knees and by what we were able to discern, they hit their mark.