Kingston SSDNow V+ 200 120GB Solid State Drive Review

Kingston is fully embracing SandForce and the most impressive controller at this time is getting the top to bottom treatment.
@TweakTown
Published Thu, May 10 2012 1:12 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: Kingston

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 28 IMAGES

Since launching the HyperX SSD several months ago, Kingston has taken a liking to SandForce's SF-2281 controller. With the HyperX and HyperX 3K SSDs available at the high-end for enthusiasts, Kingston is now working the controller into their mainstream and business class SKUs as well.

Today we're looking at the new V+200, a mainstream product line that balances performance and cost for a wide spread user type. In the past the V and V+ products were based on JMicron and later Toshiba controllers, but times are changing and those legacy controllers weren't able to keep pace with products offered by SandForce in performance or price.

If you can't beat them, you must join them and that is exactly what Kingston has done. SandForce controllers take up a wide range of the market. At the high-end you can find drives with the 2281 and Toggle Mode flash. In the upper middle you will find the 2281 paired with IMFT synchronous flash and at the lower end the 2281 is still the bread winner, but paired with IMFT asynchronous flash.

The Kingston V+200 SVP200S3B/120G falls into the last category and is designed to offer business consumers good SSD performance at a low cost price point, but with an upgrade bundle that allows for easy installation.

Let's take a look at the specs.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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Kingston's latest V+ 200 series comes to us in ten installments, each varying by capacity size and bundle options. The drives use the standard SandForce capacity schemes, 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and the largest 480GB. We'll cover the bundle options a little further down.

The SSDNow V+200 is one step down from the top in Kingston's business class product family. The KC100 rests at the top and uses the same SF-2281 controller, but pairs it with better synchronous flash. The SSDNow V+200 that we are looking at today uses asynchronous flash and as a result is slower when working with multimedia files. The asynchronous flash also lowers IOPS performance compared to the top tier KC100.

Newegg currently lists the SSDNow V+ 200 120GB model that we are looking at today for $149.99 with the premium upgrade bundle. For around $10 less you can purchase a drive only model, but we feel the upgrade bundle is worth the extra cost in almost all cases.

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With the update bundle you receive a desktop adapter bracket, USB 3.0 enclosure, SATA, power and USB cables and well as disk migration software.

Packaging

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Kingston gives us quite a bit of information on the front of the package. The SandForce Driven logo and three year warranty indication is at the bottom left and at the top right is a reference to the upgrade kit.

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Some general information is listed on the back of the package and a complete breakdown of the upgrade bundle is shown as well.

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There have been a few products already branded V+ 200 so when shopping look for the full product name, SVP200S3B/120G.

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The inner packing is pretty tight, but Kingston managed to keep the drive separated from most of the other bits.

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In the past Kingston offered two bundle options, a desktop and notebook upgrade kit. That has been condensed down to just one option for the upgrade bungle and you get all of the components formally found in the two different kits.

Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB SSD Upgrade Bundle

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Here we get our first look at the actual drive. Not much has changed on the outside from the older kits, but then again it's the inside that counts.

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The drive uses a metal case and Kingston covered all of the bases when it came to the mounting positions where screws secure the drive in place.

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The drive uses a traditional notebook 9.5mm z-height, so it won't fit in many ultrabooks that require 7mm drives. The 9.5mm standard is used on nearly all business class notebooks, though, so you won't have an issue with the intended recipients.

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Kingston uses a different style desktop adapter setup than what we see in most SSDs. Two rails position the drive in the middle.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, LSI, Corsair and Noctua.

You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.

In order to fully utilize SATA III you need a system with native SATA III support. P67, Z68, Z77 and X79 systems are preferred, but AMD has made advances in their newer SATA III systems as well. Older X58 systems with Marvell based SATA III ports do not deliver the same high levels of performance, so we recommend newer systems when available.

ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.

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In ATTO we found good performance coming from the V+ 200 120GB drive. The highest recorded read score was over 552MB/s and the highest write score peaked at 517MB/s.

Benchmarks - HD Tune Pro

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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HD Tune Pro uses compressible data to test the sequential speed of the drives listed in the chart. The Kingston V+200 performs very well in this test, nearly 400MB/s read across the drive.

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In the write test across the drive we hit a few choppy areas where the drive had been tested in Kingston's factory before shipping to us. This is a retail drive so we most likely received a drive that Kingston pulled to run a quick quality control test on.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cache fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron and Toshiba.

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High sequential numbers make for good marketing, but most users notices the extremely fast actions after moving to SSDs. The feeling of fast most noticed comes from the low access times which are what we measure on this page.

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The SSDNow V+ 200 keeps the read and write latency in check and delivers typical SandForce based latency.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:-

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

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This is where we start to see a divide between the really good SandForce based drives with synchronous flash and the Kingston SSDNow V+ 200 with asynchronous flash.

The single request 4K speed is pretty good, 32.3MB/s. This is in line with other SandForce based drives. When you start piling requests up though the performance falls and the V+ 200 is back quite a ways. This is less of a problem that you might imagine in a notebook used for business activities. Even a power user like myself doesn't reach high queue depths on my notebook when I'm using it for work.

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The 4K write speeds when using incompressible data are in line with other SandForce based drives, even those with synchronous flash.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/

Buy It Here

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

Our drive shipped with firmware 3.3.2 which is a high performance tune. SandForce has released FW 5 to manufactures, but we found an issue with TRIM. V5 gives a little better performance, but the TRIM issue introduces other issues. I would much rather have 3.3.2 on my drive.

Here we see the V+ 200 in an empty state and the performance is very good. Let's move over to testing the drive with data on it before we conclude the real-world performance.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.

- Brief Methodology

SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.

Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

The asynchronous flash drives with SandForce SF-2281 controllers slow down quite a bit more than the synchronous flash drives when both are filled to 50% of capacity.

We aren't going to play up the decline in performance when dealing with multimedia files since this is a business specific drive, but we can't shy away from the loss of performance when data is present. There is a very large loss of performance, but let's finish the standard testing and then discuss everything in the conclusion.

Benchmarks - AS SSD

AS SSD Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358

Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Download here: http://www.alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=4&download_id=9

AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.

In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).

Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.

- Copy Benchmark

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AS SSD uses incompressible data and that explains the low performance numbers when transferring these types of times.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: BETA 11

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

The software can be used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

Fill Compressible Data

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Incompressible Data

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You asked for it and we delivered it, Anvil Storage Utilities benchmarks are now on TweakTown.

The first image is from the 0-fill test and the second is from the incompressible data test. As you can see the V+ 200 takes a large hit when moving between file types.

Benchmarks - Passmark

Passmark Advanced Multi-User Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Test Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Many users complain that I/O Meter is too complicated of a benchmark to replicate results so my quest to find an alternative was started. Passmark has added several multi-user tests that measure a hard drives ability to operate in a multi-user environment.

The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances is read / write percentage as well as random / sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.

The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.

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Kingston placed the V+ 200 in their business product category and not in an enterprise role. We've heard from several enterprise readers that have already started using low cost consumer grade SSDs in their database servers.

Final Thoughts

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We have to change some of our thinking when looking at a drive designed and marketed towards business users. The workload is quite a bit different than what enthusiasts put their drives through.

As an enthusiast I work with a lot of media files for myself and my family. I keep a notebook around that is used just for work and after examining the files on it, I can see a big difference between the work notebook and my play notebook. I also captured my wife's work notebook to examine her files as well. With my work I keep a lot of product images, PDF files and Word Docs like the one I'm writing this review in. There are over 300 reviews kept on this notebook in the Completed Reviews folder, another 15 or so in the Pending Reviews folder and several thousand images. My wife doesn't work with images at all, but has thousands of documents in both Word and PDF. She has to deal with health care reform for a large international health care provider so you can imagine the massive number of documents floating around on her encrypted hard drive.

That leads us to a very important issue. Encrypted data is presented to the HDD/SSD as incompressible data so if you are in charge of 500 notebooks and are looking for a SSD to use in all of them, a drive that performs poorly with incompressible data (such as this one), isn't the best choice. Then again, if you have a mechanical HDD in there that is as slow as my wife's, then anything solid state would perform better than that thing.

When you are working with large clusters of documents and checking your email, the Kingston SSDNow V+ 200 performs very well. Getting off of the compressible data path though really starts to slow things down and it is the kind of slow that you notice. Also, when the drive is more than 25% full you notice a large slowdown in performance when working with larger files. In the image above we see the file transfer from when we moved from 50% capacity fill to 75%. The data traveled from the drive back to the drive and did so at just under 60MB/s. That is still faster than most mechanical HDDs, but in SSD terms, it is pretty slow.

If you have a little more available in your budget I would recommend migrating over to the Kingston KC100 SSD. This model uses synchronous flash, but costs around $35 more at Newegg. You won't take as large of a performance hit when working with incompressible data or when the drive tips the scales in capacity used. For encrypted systems I would say the KC100 is your starting point because everything the drives sees will look like incompressible data.

For those looking to stay within a tighter budget, the V+200 will certainly be better than a mechanical HDD, but there are better options available from Kingston, if you can fit them in your annual budget.

It should be noted as well, the V+200 is stable with the shipping firmware and you won't run into any BSOD issues that have been reported with other SSDs in the past.

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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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