The Kingston E100 proved to be a solid competitor in our testing. LSI SandForce powered SSD's benefit greatly from compressible workloads, but do suffer some performance loss when dealing with incompressible data. The compression performance characteristics of SandForce SSD's are well suited to most enterprise deployments. We strive for the 'middle ground' by testing with 50% compressible data, but it is important for administrators to know their workload and to adjust their purchasing decisions accordingly.
The Kingston E100 surprised us with its performance in heavy write workloads, and in particular the performance in our Emailserver tests. This test consists of a very heavy write workload of 50% read and 50% write with an 8K file size, and the E100 really powered through the test and matched the performance of the top-flight enterprise SSD's currently on the market.
The write percentage testing also highlighted great performance with varying workloads, and we found the E100 to be very competitive on the efficiency front in our IOPS-to-Watt testing. In pure read workloads, the Kingston E100 performed exceptionally well. The only dark spot on the performance front was variability in the heavy write workloads. We found that this variability did not extend to the same degree in our server workloads.
This level of performance was impressive from the LSI SandForce processor, proving it still has the chops to deliver in the enterprise space. The Kingston E100's impressive performance against newer controller and hardware combinations was surprising in a few ways. The fact that the older controller can still deliver big is important, but also the fact that the other players are delivering such great performance with lower quality MLC is surprising as well.
The E100 speaks volumes to the initial design and continuing firmware development from the LSI SandForce team. With our recent tests of SLC SandForce SSD's, we have observed that when paired with higher-quality NAND, the SandForce SSD's continue to deliver great performance. With a refresh of the SandForce series due in the coming months, it will be exciting to see if the new controllers can deliver higher performance than the competition.
One area where the Kingston E100 is not as competitive is pricing. The current price of the Kingston E100 hovers around $3.50 per GB. The concerted efforts of foundry players and their determination to gain market share is developing a cutthroat competition for rock-bottom pricing. It is also important to consider endurance. Others on the market are offering five year warranties - the Kingston E100 only features a three year warranty, limiting its competitiveness in the market.
One of Kingston's key differentiators has always been reliability and quality, which is well suited for the enterprise space. Excellent customer service is another key selling point that keeps Kingston's customers coming back. However, with a higher price range than competing solutions and a shorter warranty period, some may look elsewhere this time around.
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