Introduction:
Kingston Technology Company, founded in 1987, is the world’s independent memory leader with more than 2,000 memory products in every field. Kingston offers memory solutions for pretty much every machine that requires a memory from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and mobile phones.

Kingston was one of the first companies to launch Solid State Drives (SSD). SSDs have really revolutionized the storage industry. The difference between running a system with and without a decent SSD really is night and day. Boot times are cut in half in comparison to conventional drives, game loads are palpably quicker and opening multiple applications simultaneously is super-fast.

Picking up an SSD is a lot more complicated than picking up a simple mechanical drive. Performance degradation, wear leveling, sequential read/write speed, random read/write speed, firmware updates, what operating system you’re using and – most crucially – TRIM support are all factors you need to consider when buying an SSD. This makes SSD far from a universally accessible upgrade at the moment.

Today, we’ll be having a look at two Kingston SSDNow V+100 64GB SSDs in RAID 0. SSDNow V+100 is a step up from the SSDNow V100. We had a look at that drive some time ago.

Packaging and the Drives:
This particular Solid State Drive comes in a plastic clamshell. This is to reduce the end cost. Kingston is offering three type of packages; Desktop Bundle, Laptop Bundle and Drive Only. Difference among them lies in the accessories included. The one we got is ‘Drive only’.

The front side of packaging shows the capacity of SSD, model number and other features. There is a little logo on left bottom which states about the 3 year warranty with 24/7 tech support.

Moving to back side, you’ll notice salient features on Kingston SSD written in a number of different languages.

All you get in the package is
• An SSD
• A user manual


As expected, Kingston SSDNow V+100 has 2.5inch form factor. Front of the SSD has a sticker showing capacity and other information about the drive.

This SSD has a Toshiba T6UG1XBG with an updated firmware which not only increases the speed as compared to old drives based on this controller but it also introduces really aggressive OS-independent garbage collection. Along with this garbage collection, TRIM is also there. This makes up for a great option for use in RAID configuration since TRIM doesn’t work in RAID arrays, controller’s own garbage collection will keep the speeds up to best possible even when this drive will be used in RAID array.

Kingston SSDNow V+100 64GB drive uses 8 Toshiba branded TH58NVG7D7EBAK2 NAND modules. Each module comprises 8GB of flash memory.

This V+100 drive uses 128MB of cache memory made Micron as opposed to 64MB of cache in V100 drive we reviewed previously. Extra cache gives a decent boost to read/write speeds of the drive.

V+100 drive uses SATA II (3Gb/s) interface along with standard SATA power connector.

Today, we’ll test two of these in RAID 0.

Specifications:

Testing:

Same disk image was used for every drive to have a fair comparison. For comparison we added Western Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB HDD, it’s one of the mainstream mechanical drives from Western Digital.

- AS SSD Benchmark:
AS SSD Benchmark have a scoring system that is based around a mix of sequential and random reads/writes and Access times.
Here is a chart showing read and write access times:

- HD Tune Pro Random IOPS:
HD Tune Pro measures performance across the whole capacity of the drive. This allows identifying weak spots in the architecture or media access.

- ATTO:
The ATTO Disk Benchmark application is designed to be a performance measurement tool. It measures your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes.

- Crystal Disk Mark:
Crystal Disk Mark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives.
We tested Sequential Read and Write through this benchmark.

- PCMark Vantage:
PCMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite offering one-click simplicity for casual users and detailed, professional grade testing for industry, press and enthusiasts.
A PCMark score is a measure of your computer’s performance across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.

We only tested ‘HDD Suite’.

- Windows 7 Boot up Test:
In this test we measure the time it takes Windows 7 to boot from kernel loaded to Startup programs executed.

- Microsoft Office 2010 Installation:
We measure the time it takes Microsoft office takes to install on tested drive. Source files are also placed on drive under testing.

- Virus Scan Test:
We ran a full scan of ‘Windows’ folder in C Drive with Norton Internet Security 2010.

- WinRAR Compression Test:
This chart shows the time WinRAR consumed to un-compress a 579 MB archive.

In this 2nd test, a 4.08 GB archive was uncompressed using WinRAR.

- Windows Experience Index:
This test shows the ‘Primary Hard Disk’ rating produced by Windows 7.

- File Search Test:
We searched for all ‘.ini’ files on drive using windows built-in search.

Conclusion:
Kingston SSDNow V+100 is a great drive itself but when two of these are put in RAID0, they give even better performance. You wouldn’t notice improved loading or boot up times in RAID0 as compared to single drive but transfer of data, installation of programs and compressing/uncompressing is almost twice as fast.

This type of setup is ideal if you don’t have option for a SATA3 drive and you want best bang for buck. These two drives in RAID0 give better performance and same amount of storage as compared to any SATA2 drive for a similar price point.

Due to the new firmware for Toshiba controller used in this drive, garbage collection isn’t an issue in RAID configurations. Garbage collection process of V+100 drives is OS-independent and it’s so aggressive that there is no need for TRIM in RAID array. There is no need to worry about drives performance when using in RAID over extended period of time.

Kingston is offering 3 years warranty backed up with Kingston great tech support.

- Pros:
• Speed
• Price/performance ratio
• Aggressive garbage collection
• Out-standing real-life performance gain in RAID0

- Cons:
• Limited capacity
• No TRIM in RAID (It isn’t really needed for that matter)

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