Specifications, Pricing and Availability
KingFast has the F3 Plus in all of the major capacity sizes - 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. We're focusing on the 240GB model today and it should be the fastest out of the group. KingFast quotes realistic performance data in their specifications sheet, sequential read at 559MB/s and 522MB/s for the write speed. The spec sheet shows 77,515 read IOPS and 82,846 write IOPS, but with firmware 5.0.4 we'll see those change a bit. The write IOPS will go up, but at the same time the read IOPS will decrease.
This is only the second drive we've published based on SandForce's new 5.0.4 firmware. This is the successor to the first 'TRIM fix' 5.0.3 release and it fixes a small issue that OEM customers wanted. 504 is good stuff and we're happy with the release. Very few companies have 5.0.4 and even fewer have done anything with it. KingFast has 5.0.4 and they are just about finished with the validation process.
KingFast has a US distributer, M-Factors, a group we met at Flash Memory Summit. M-Factors don't list the F3 Plus on their site yet so we can't comment on the price at this time. We also found the KingFast F3 Plus on Amazon, but the stock was sold out.
After diving into the KingFast F3 Plus 240GB I think I found out why the drives are sold out. On the outside it's easy to see the 7mm z-height, a form factor in high demand because of the ultrabook market. On the inside, we found Intel 25nm synchronous NAND flash, but not the regular 3K P/E cycle flash we see day in and day out. The KingFast F3 Plus uses premium 5K P/E flash. The 5K flash doesn't add anything to your performance... or does it? A very tiny number of users who write a LOT of data may experience the throttling effects of DuraWrite. The 5K flash changes the throttle curve if everything is programmed correctly, but in order to get anywhere close to the throttle, you'll need to write to the drive right out of the box and keep doing in what we would call an excessive fashion. What you will get out of the 5K flash is a longer life span since your flash can take more erase / write cycles.
As we mentioned the KingFast F3 Plus isn't in the US just yet, but their distributer M-Factors has a few other KingFast products, one of which is the standard F3. The 120GB F3 is available for just $79, the 240GB is just $149. These are very encouraging prices for the F3 Plus.
KingFast backs its F3 Plus with a three year warranty which is two years less than what Intel and Kingston pair its 5K P/E cycle drives with (520 Series and HyperX SSD). Both of those drives have very good accessory packages, but so does the KingFast F3 Plus. KingFast includes a desktop adapter bracket, screws and a SATA cable that is around six inches long.