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Kingston KC2000 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD Review

Kingston KC2000 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD Review

Hardware-level encryption, premium TLC flash, and a blazing-fast SMI controller make Kingston's KC2000 one of the most desirable NVMe SSDs available.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Fri, Apr 24 2020 10:39 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Kingston (SKC2000M8/1000G)

Introduction & Drive Details

Kingston's KC2000 is a premium performance-oriented SSD that has been around for a while. Kingston's KC2000 is based on Silicon Motion's powerful SM2262EN 8-channel controller and BiCS4 96-layer TLC flash. This is not an uncommon configuration by any means; however, in the case of Kingston, theirs is unique, because Kingston is one of the few retailers that manufacture the SSDs they sell.

One thing we've noticed as of late is that many SSDs are faster when they first hit the market than they are when you buy them after they've been on the market for some time. This performance drop is usually attributable to cost mitigation. We often see production cost-reducing strategies in play that include a reduction in the amount of on SSD DRAM and lower performance flash.

We are mentioning this because Kingston's KC2000 is one of the few that we see doing the opposite - getting faster the longer it is on the market. The KC2000 1TB we have on our test bench today is notably faster than factory specs at launch. We like this because it indicates to us that Kingston is not implementing performance reducing cost mitigation strategies that we see others doing.

Kingston is one of the biggest retailers of memory products in the world, and one of the most trusted. The KC2000 is a testament to the fact that Kingston is committed to delivering as good as or even better than advertised performance over the life of the product.

Drive Details

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The KC2000 is a visually appealing piece of hardware due to the drive's black PCB.

Although not advertised on the packaging, the KC2000 does come with a free copy of Acronis imaging (cloning) software. This makes it a snap to clone your OS onto your new KC2000 SSD. The KC2000 supports true hardware encryption, as evidenced by its PSID key.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Kingston KC2000 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$191.24$191.24$191.24
* Prices last scanned on 9/22/2020 at 10:03 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

SSD Toolbox

Kingston SSD Manager

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Kingston provides an excellent SSD management software suite to complement your Kingston SSD. The Kingston SSD Manager is a full feature SSD toolbox available free via download. Among the myriad of tasks that can be performed with Kingston's SSD Manager is activating the drives built-in hardware encryption.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils

CrystalDiskMark

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The numbers look very good, especially the drives sequential write performance where it is delivering almost 700 MB/s more than factory specs. This is not totally uncommon, but we rarely see this from a drive that has been on the market for a while.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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We are mainly focused on read performance when evaluating Anvil's scoring. The KC2000 gives us two things we are looking for, a read score of over 6,000 and 4K QD1 read performance of over 15K IOPS.

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We are meeting or exceeding factory max IOPS specs despite our more demanding user state.

Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO

AS SSD

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Overall, we are getting a solid score, but because so much of the score is determined by high random IOPS, it is a bit lower than expected. However, we are getting excellent results where it matters to the end-user, 4K QD1 read, where the KC2000 is serving up over 15K IOPS.

ATTO

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The KC2000 can hit full speed at 128K transfers, which is outstanding. Again, we see sequential write speeds that greatly exceed factory specs of 2,200 MB/s.

Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates & Gaming

Transfer Rates

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Our write transfer is 100GB in size and composed of more than 62,000 files. Not an easy transfer. The KC2000 delivers a bit more than our 500 MB/s minimum, but nothing to write home about.

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Reading back our data block, the KC2000 delivers over 2,000 MB/s, which lands it exactly in the middle of our chart.

Game Level Loading

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This is where the KC2000 really shines. Game level loading. Kingston's high-performance consumer NVMe SSD delivers the third-best loading times we've seen from a 1TB flash-based SSD. If you are looking for a gaming SSD, you can't do much better than Kingston's KC2000.

Real-World Testing: PCMark 10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them. The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test.

The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with user experience. Of the two tests, we feel that the Quick System Drive Test most accurately replicates a typical user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

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As evidenced by the above chart, the KC2000 is especially well suited for heavy-duty consumer workloads.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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Checking in on more typical consumer workloads, we find the KC2000 delivering better than average performance, and in fact, outperforming some of the biggest names in the industry.

Final Thoughts

Kingston's KC2000 has a lot to offer. Premium TLC flash, an industry-leading 5-year warranty, hardware encryption, cloning software, SSD toolbox, and an excellent endurance rating. As we mentioned earlier, the KC2000 appears to be one of the few SSD series that is not suffering cost mitigation changes that result in lower than expected performance.

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Looking at our user experience rating, we find the KC2000 will deliver an overall user experience that is far better than some of the biggest names in the business. Whenever a drive scores 4,500 or more, we take notice, and the KC2000 has our attention.

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Looking back at our testing results, we can find several areas where the KC2000 stands out as a Tier-1 performing SSD. Right out of the gate, we witnessed 4K QD1 random read performance that is well over 15K IOPS. Throughout our synthetic testing, we observed the KC2000 delivering sequential read performance that is much higher than factory specifications.

Additionally, we found the Kingston KC2000 is a true gaming SSD. The KC2000 delivered the third-fastest game level loading results we've seen from a 1TB class flash-based NVMe SSD. Kingston's KC2000 is the complete package and worthy of a TweakTown award.

Pros

  • User Experience
  • Gaming SSD
  • 5-Year Warranty

Cons

  • None
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Performance

90%

Quality

95%

Features

95%

Value

85%

Overall

91%

The Bottom Line

Kingston's KC2000 is a premium NVMe SSD that excels at gaming.

TweakTown award
91%

Kingston KC2000 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$191.24$191.24$191.24
* Prices last scanned on 9/22/2020 at 10:03 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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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