Introduction & Drive Details
Kingston has upped their game with its newest SSD, the KC2500. Kingston's KC2500 is built on the success of their KC2000 NVMe SSD, and in fact, both use basically the same hardware. Kingston is extracting even more performance than before by employing new firmware and more mature NAND. The maturation of 96-layer BiCS flash means it can be clocked higher via firmware than was previously feasible.
Higher clock speeds result in across the board performance increases for Kingston's new flagship consumer NVMe SSD. Compared with the KC2000, the KC2500 is serving up 300 MB/s faster sequential read speeds and a whopping 700 MB/s faster sequential write speeds according to factory specifications. Additionally, random performance has increased by 25,000 IOPS for both read and write.
One of the hallmarks of Kingston's previous flagship, the KC2000, is that it proved to be one of the best gaming SSDs ever made. This is due to its incredible QD1 random read performance. Now, it's even better. In fact, it is only the second flash-based SSD we've tested to date that can deliver sub-10-second game level loading performance.
The KC2500 may even be the best flash-based gaming SSD that you can buy because we are not certain of the availability of the flash-based SSD on our chart that is slightly faster for gaming. Kingston is really delivering the goods with their KC2500 in a way that hardcore enthusiasts/gamers will thoroughly appreciate. The KC2500 is premium in every sense of the word, now let's dive in and take a look at the numbers.
The KC2500 looks almost identical to its older sibling. It has an attractive black PCB and a nice factory label that compliments that black PCB. Kingston's KC2500 supports true hardware encryption making it an ideal storage solution for business. The drive is backed by a 5-year limited warranty and free technical support. Kingston also includes an Acronis imaging software key.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair Hero VIII Wi-Fi (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Swiftech H2O-320 Edge AIO
- Memory: ADATA XPG Z1 DDR4 3800MHz 16GB (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1000 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Kingston SSD Manager
The latest version of Kingston's SSD Manager software supports the KC2500. With it, you can monitor the health of your Kingston SSD, update firmware and enable the aforementioned hardware-level encryption. When you buy a KC2500, you get the complete package.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils
Right off the bat, we are treated to better performance than the already powerful KC2000 can deliver. Most impressive is the increased Q1T1 random read performance. This is a great indicator that the KC2500 will prove itself to be a superior gaming SSD.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
This is what we most want to see from any SSD, outstanding overall read performance. The KC2500 is serving up significantly better performance than its older sibling, the KC2000. The drive delivers close to 17K IOPS QD1 random read. Impressive.
We are meeting or exceeding factory max IOPS specs despite our more demanding user state.
Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO
In terms of the overall score, the KC2500, like its older sibling, delivers average performance. If we look at what matters most, QD1 random read performance, we see almost 16K IOPS. Excellent.
The KC2500 does what most cannot by delivering full speeds at 128 KB transfers. This is what we are looking for when evaluating ATTO data, and the KC2500 is serving it up.
Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates & Gaming
Our write transfer is 100GB in size and composed of more than 62,000 files. Not an easy transfer. The KC2500 delivers a bit more than its older sibling, but it's just an average performance overall.
The KC2500 serves data to the host at a rate that is well above average. It's all about read performance as our next benchmark will demonstrate.
Game Level Loading
BOOM! Kingston's KC2500 drops the hammer with the second-best flash-based game level loading performance we've witnessed to date. There are countless so-called "Gaming" SSDs on the market, the KC2500 actually is one, maybe even the best one all things considered. Outstanding.
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
If heavy consumer type workloads are what you run, you can't do much better than Kingston's powerful KC2500.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
Checking in on more typical consumer workloads, we find the KC2500 serving up performance that is well above average. We notice a nice improvement over the KC2000.
As we see it, Kingston's KC2500 is an SSD done right. Not only is it one of the best performing SSDs we've ever tested, but it is also the complete package. Premium hardware, class-leading warranty, free technical support, cloning software, and a top-notch SSD toolbox. Add to that genuine hardware-level encryption, and we have a real winner.
A quick look at TweakTown's exclusive user experience rating and we find the KC2500 to be the fourth-best performing 1TB-class flash-based SSD we've tested to date. Gen3, Gen4, sequential numbers, who cares? User experience is what matters, and Kingston's KC2500 is an absolute beast where it matters most.
Highlights? Well, the KC2500 provides us with plenty of those. 16K random read IOPS at QD1 is rare to see but, the KC2500 served that up like it was no big deal. Heavy consumer type workloads that typically crush lesser SSDs proved to be no match for the KC2500. But by far, the most impressive dish the KC2500 is serving up is undoubtedly gaming performance.
The KC2500 delivered the second-best flash-based game level loading performance we've ever seen. And because it is readily available and the one flash-based SSD that beat it is not, we are going to declare the KC2500 to be the best flash-based gaming SSD available. Because of this incredible feat, Kingston's KC2500 has earned TweakTown's highest award.
- Heavy Workloads
- 5-Year Warranty
The Bottom Line
Heavy workload master and a gaming juggernaught.