Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD Review

With up to 7,400 MB/s throughput, Kingston's KC3000 SSD stands ready to deliver the speed enthusiasts crave, PC or console.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Mon, Nov 1 2021 2:19 PM CDT
Rating: 99%Manufacturer: Kingston (SKC3000D/2048G)

Introduction & Drive Details

Unlike most SSD retailers, Kingston stood on the sidelines while practically everyone and their brother jumped on Phison's E18 with Micron 96Layer flash. This hardware combo quickly became the most prolific enthusiast Gen4 SSD on the planet, with nearly every SSD retailer having a version of their own. Phison makes it easy for SSD retailers. They just buy drives from Phison and customize them with various labels, heat sinks, packaging, and maybe a custom SSD toolbox.

Kingston is not like most SSD retailers; they are a huge memory company shipping the most DRAM and solid-state storage of any fabless memory company in the world. As such, Kingston is one of the few purveyors of memory products that build their own products. They stack and package their own flash at the wafer level. They don't buy ready-made SSDs they make their own.

With that said, Kingston chose to sit out the E18 plus 96L Micron proliferation across the globe and instead waited until now to start doing their own thing with Phison's potent E18 Gen4 x4 NVMe controller. Kingston was waiting for the good stuff. The good stuff we refer to is Micron's new 176Layer flash, and Kingston isn't buying it by the package. They are buying it by the wafer and packaging it themselves.

Now because Kingston is packaging its flash for the KC3000 and likely writing custom firmware, Kingston's E18 based flagship offering is a different animal than the rest of the Phison E18 based clones floating around out there. We have to say it's a bit refreshing to get something in the lab that we don't already know how it performs because we've tested it with different labels a hundred times before.

For the KC3000, Kingston is using premium 1600 MT speed Micron 176L dies, cut, stacked, and packaged in-house. This flash paired with Phison's E18 controller and running on an AMD Gen4 enabled system can deliver throughput well in excess of 7,400 MB/s, as demonstrated by the benchmark below:

Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD Review 33 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 33 IMAGES

There you have it, 7,461 MB/s sequential read throughput and just as impressive, 7,070 MB/s sequential write throughput. Kingston is known to be conservative, and that's exactly the case again with the KC3000 as they spec the 2 and 4TB drive's for up to 7,000/7,000 MB/s when in reality it can do better as we just demonstrated, and we are doing it on an OS volume with 150GB data. That's refreshing because we often see wildly overstated sequential numbers from lesser vendors.

Oddly enough, Kingston doesn't mention a word, at least that we've seen, about the implementation of the KC3000 as storage expansion for the PS5 console. Well, we will mention it. The KC3000 might be one of the best choices available for PS5 storage expansion, and we will bestow a TweakTown recommendation for PS5 usage on the KC3000 right here, right now.

Drive Details

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The KC3000 comes pre-fit with a rather effective graphene-coated aluminum thermal label. It's more effective than most other variants out there because it's at least twice as thick as others we've seen.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Kingston KC3000 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$446.19$461.16-
* Prices last scanned on 11/29/2021 at 2:44 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

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The first benchmark and two lab records for write performance fall to Kingston's 2TB KC3000. Wow. Even its sequential read performance is a lab record of sorts, being the fastest we've gotten from an E18 based SSD running on an Intel-based system.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD Review 12 | TweakTown.com
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Look at that; the KC3000 2TB again sets the pace for all E18 based SSDs with an outstanding score of 11K. Never before has an E18 based SSD hit 11K, and the KC3000 does it with ease. Impressive. Top of the food chain E18 numbers continue with the best max read IOPS performance we've extracted from an E18 based SSD to date. Kingston magic sauce? Maybe.

ATTO

Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD Review 16 | TweakTown.com
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Here we go again, another lab record for the KC3000. This time for 128K sequential write at QD4. This thing is shaping up to be a beast.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10

Transfer Rates

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Another powerful performance.

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At the risk of sounding redundant, well, you know you know the thing.

Game Level Loading

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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. The KC3000 again sets the bar for E18 based SSDs, and in fact, sets the bar for any 176L arrayed SSD we've tested to date. As a matter of fact, we will go ahead and give it our gaming crown because the Plextor M10P hasn't landed in America yet, and it's questionable if it will ever be sold here.

PCM10 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 mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

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This particular test writes over 204GB data. It covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

We want to see a storage bandwidth of 500 MB/s or better here, and the KC3000 proves it's up to the task. This time, as E18 based SSDs go, it takes a back seat to Seagate's FireCuda 530 but beats Corsair's MP600 Pro XT.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD Review 28 | TweakTown.com
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We are looking for a storage bandwidth of 450 MB/s or better here, and we get that, albeit with very little room to spare. E18 SSDs have never been able to do this benchmark at an exceptional level, and the KC3000 is no different. Oh well, we are good with 450 MB/s as it's what Samsung's highly rated 980 Pro can do.

Final Thoughts

Even though the KC3000 didn't win out over its E18 competition in every single benchmark, it did win enough times. It set enough lab records along the way that we feel comfortable in saying that it is overall the best-performing E18 based SSD we've tested to date. Additionally, we are giving it our gaming SSD crown because it is, in our opinion, the best performing flash-based gaming SSD that can be purchased in the Americas.

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We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. We consider a user experience score of over 7K to verify an SSD as TweakTown Elite. The KC3000 comes in at 7,181 proving it is TweakTown Elite.

Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD Review 32 | TweakTown.com

We love what Kingston has done with the KC3000. Everything about the drive is top-notch, well, maybe not the blister packaging, but everywhere it matters, the KC3000 is as good as it gets. Lab records fell, crowns were given, the 2TB KC3000 earned its stripes as TweakTown Elite and our highest award. Wow, Kingston, good to have you back in the enthusiast SSD realm again.

PS... PlayStation enthusiasts, pay attention.

Pros

  • User Experience
  • Gaming
  • Throughput

Cons

  • None
Buy at Amazon

Performance

99%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

95%

Overall

99%

The Bottom Line

Gaming juggernaut, certified TweakTown Elite, and ideal for PS5. You need this.

TweakTown award
99%

Kingston KC3000 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$446.19$461.16-
* Prices last scanned on 11/29/2021 at 2:44 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. 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.

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