Kingston UV400 480GB TLC SSD Review

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Kingston UV400 – First Kingston Mass-Market TLC Drive

Last year Kingston Digital released the UV300 SSD series in emerging markets like India, Mexico and Russia. The UV300 series was the first TLC NAND drive for Kingston and was designed to be their low-cost budget friendly Solid-State Drive (SSD).  The UV300 series wasn’t anything stellar on the performance front with <26,000 IOPS for Random 4K writes, but it was a starting point for Kingston in the TLC market. Thanks to advancements in controller technologies and improvements in TLC NAND Flash, Kingston was able to design the UV400 series drives with much faster speeds and larger capacities ranging up to 960GB. These changes have allowed Kingston to mass-market the UV400 series of SSDs and it is now the companies entry-level SSD.

Kingston SATA SSD Lineup For 2016

All Kingston UV400 series drives use the Marvell  88SS1074 SSD four-channel controller along with Toshiba 15nm 2D planar Triple-Level Cell (TLC) NAND flash memory. This is the same TLC NAND that OCZ is using in the Trion 150 series with a different controller. The Kingston UV400 series offers up to 550MB/s read and up to 500MB/s write speeds for sequential performance and the maximum random 4K Read/Write speeds would be up to 90,000 and 50,000 IOPS. Performance varies greatly depending on the capacity of the drive (120GB, 240GB, 480GB, or 960GB), so be sure to take a look at the full specifications below.

We should also note that while our drive uses Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND that months down the road that could possibly change due to price changes or the NAND supply dries up to it no longer being produced.  Here is a statement from Kingston on that.

“Kingston is currently using Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND in its UV400 SSD.  As Kingston is not a semiconductor and availability is ever-changing, we may need to source NAND Flash from other suppliers whenever there are generational changes (e.g., moving to 3D NAND).  NAND changes are planned out months ahead of time as any new Flash we plan to use has to pass our rigorous qualification processes.  The UV400 will always meet the specs listed regardless of the internal components.” – Kingston PR

Here are the published specifications that the Kingston SSDNow UV400 Series must always meet!

Kingston SSDNow UV400 Series Specifications

Capacities: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB
Controller: Marvell 88SS1074
NAND: Toshiba 15nm planar TLC
Interface: SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gbps)
Data Transfer (ATTO):

  • 120GB — up to 550MB/s Read and 350MB/s Write
  • 240GB — up to 550MB/s Read and 490MB/s Write
  • 480GB — up to 550MB/s Read and 500MB/s Write
  • 960GB — up to 540MB/s Read and 500MB/s Write

Maximum Random 4k Read/Write (IOMETER):

  • 120GB — up to 90,000 IOPS and 15,000 IOPS
  • 240GB — up to 90,000 IOPS and 25,000 IOPS
  • 480GB — up to 90,000 IOPS and 35,000 IOPS
  • 960GB — up to 90,000 IOPS and 50,000 IOPS

Power Consumption: 0.672W Idle / 0.693W Avg / 0.59W (MAX) Read / 2.515W (MAX) Write
Storage temperature: -40°C~85°C
Operating temperature: 0°C~70°C
Dimensions: 100.0mm x 69.9mm x 7.0mm
Weight: 57g
Vibration operating: 2.17G Peak (7–800Hz)
Vibration non-operating: 20G Peak (10–2000Hz)
Life expectancy: 1 million hours MTBF
Warranty/support: Limited 3-year warranty with free technical support
Total Bytes Written (TBW):

  • 120GB: 50TB
  • 240GB: 100TB
  • 480GB: 200TB
  • 960GB: 400TB

The only feature we noticed that is missing is support for DevSLP, so if you are a mobile laptop user and want the best possible battery life that might be of concern. Kingston informed us that they disabled Dev Sleep, but did not elaborate as to why.

Kingston SSDNow UV400 Series Pricing on June 2nd, 2016

Kingston UV400 Series Model Number Amazon Price $/GB
120GB Drive SUV400S37/120G $45.69 $0.38 per GB
120GB Upgrade Kit SUV400S3B7A/120G $49.99 $0.42 per GB
240GB Drive SUV400S37/240G $67.20 $0.28 per GB
240GB Upgrade Kit SUV400S3B7A/240G $92.58 $0.39 per GB
480GB Drive SUV400S37/480G $116.99 $0.24 per GB
480GB Upgrade Kit SUV400S3B7A/480G $152.42 $0.32 per GB

Street pricing on the Kingston UV400 series drives is at $0.41 per GB on the bare 120GB drive, $0.28 on the 240GB drive and just $0.24 on the bare 480GB drive. These prices are competitive with competing products, but slightly on the higher side. The OCZ Trion 150 series that we reviewed earlier this year uses the same exact NAND and runs roughly $10 less at these capacities. The Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB drive runs $154.95, so the UV400 480GB drive is priced below Samsung by a fair bit.

SUV400S3B7A480G

Today we’ll be looking at the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB SSD with the optional SSD Upgrade kit that is sold under part number SUV400S3B7A/480G.

Kingston UV400 Bundle Kit

The bundle kits include a 2.5″ USB enclosure, 3.5″ desktop PC mounting bracket and screws, SATA power/data cable, 7mm to 9.5mm adapter and a key for Acronis True Image HD Software. This software is great for hard drive cloning and the entire upgrade kit makes upgrading from a hard drive to an SSD painless. We always suggest doing a clean OS install with a new drive, but if your drive is in perfect working order you can clone it to an SSD in minutes and have a significantly faster system. You can then keep your old drive as a backup if you’d like. Kingston says that the UV400 SSD is 10 times faster than a 7200 RPM hard drive and of course it is more reliable and durable.

Kingston UV400 SSD

The Kingston UV400 series is only available as a SATA III 2.5-inch SSD form factor that has a 7mm z-height. The silver enclosure has the Kingston logo on the top with a warranty sticker covering one of the four screws that secures the metal drive enclosure.

Kingston UV400 SATA SSD

Flipping the drive over you’ll find the actual product label of the UV400 that has the full part number, capacity, original firmware version, serial number and all that good stuff on it.

Kingston UV400 SATA SSD Back Cover

All of the Kingston UV400 series drives are backed by a 3-year warranty that has free tech support. The Kingston UV400 480GB drive that we are reviewing today has a Total Bytes Written (TBW) rating of 200TB, which is decent. For example the Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB drive has a 150 TBW and the OCZ Trion 150 480GB drive has a TBW rating of 240TB . This drive is right in the middle.

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  • Ashutosh Pandey

    This ssd or Sandisk SSD Plus 480 GB?
    I will be using it for Home desktop. Boot drive.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to wait a couple of months and see how they backtrack on this product like they did with the v300. Won’t touch a kingston ssd again until they rebuild their reputation.

  • haxxy

    I wish you did a power consumption test. Their datasheet mentions confusing power consumption numbers:

    0.672W Idle / 0.693W Avg / 0.59W (MAX) Read / 2.515W (MAX) Write
    How can it draw less power when Reading (0.59W) then in Idle, or am I reading this wrong?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Kingston adjusted the power on the drive to meet their specifications based on their own internal testing. From what I gather they saw something at idle they didn’t like and increased the idle power to correct what they were seeing. Kingston doesn’t comment on details like that though and that is basically my personal assumption after reviewing PC hardware for 14 years full time. I’ll get testing that back on my to-do list, but the numbers Kingston gave are correct.

      • Nathan Kirsch

        My power numbers basically confirm the Kingston numbers… My idle and read numbers remained the same, but my sequential write power jumped up to 2.82W. I tested the mA directly off the power rail.

  • Shamz

    At least Kingston warn people about nand changes now. But still, I’m done with Kingston.

    • Fred

      Have some faith. If history counts for anything with the DataTraveler and V300 they always manage to develop some dodgy practices with their low end products. We just haven’t figured out what is up their sleeve this time.

      • Simon Tremblay

        What’s wrong with DataTraveler flash drives and V300 SSDs? Got kingston usb sticks since as far back as I remember, always DT, never had any problems. V300 120gb SSD in this machine since their release years ago, worked it overtime, still chugging along nicely. I might’ve been just lucky tho.

        But sincerely curious, what’s wrong with them?

        • PL

          The problem is, that Kingston lied to customers with V300. Once customers realised serious problems with speeds, Kingston claim that there isn’t any change, but in fact they switched to another slower NAND. That’s why they are now saying PR like “As Kingston is not a semiconductor and availability is ever-changing, we may need to source NAND Flash from other suppliers whenever there are generational changes”.

          Main problem with Kingston is, they aren’t Silicon manufacturer and as b-brand they have to buy NAND from real NAND manufacturers like Micron, Samsung, Toshiba and therefore they will never be able match reliability and quality of Crucial/Micron or Samsung which do all under one roof and use their premium NAND for own SSDs.

        • Muveen

          very helpful information you gave, thanks

        • Fred

          PL covered the V300 NANd switcheroo. At least some of their DataTraveler G3 products do not really do USB 3.0 even though they are marked as such.

          They are sleazy corner cutters.

        • Fred

          Here is one reference link for my statement regarding their DataTraveler USB 3.0 G3.

          “This drive is actually slower at writing than a lot of USB 2.0 drives, it’s seriously dog slow. I really don’t understand why Kingston have released a flash drive with specs like this but then I guess they didn’t write the speed in the specs for a reason!.”

          http://usb.userbenchmark.com/Kingston-DataTraveler-100-G3-USB-30-16GB/Rating/1521