Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The Kingston SSDNow UV400 is based on Marvell's 88SS1074 controller with a custom firmware, which is the same as the Crucial MX300 750GB I recently reviewed. But before we dig down into the ever so important technical details, let us briefly discuss the physical attributes of the SSD first. The Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB SSD is not about flashy looks or sharp appearance. Carrying its down-to-earth business appearance like the rest of the SSDNow line, this solid state drive features an aluminum housing to enhance heat dissipation, with a side benefit of being relatively lightweight for what you get. The SSDNow UV400 is composed nothing more than a silver-grey metal shell and Kingston's branding all across the front, as shown in our photo above. Personally, I would consider that a good thing. Measuring in at about 100 mm x 70 mm x 7.0 mm, its thickness -- or lack thereof -- will ensure wide compatibility in modern day systems. It tips the scales at 57g. As shown in our photo above, there is a warranty seal over one of the screws. Furthermore, instead of regular screws, Kingston actually used four security screws at the top. The Torx screws on the SSDNow have a protruding obstacle in the middle. Unless you have the tools at hand, it is not possible to disassemble the drive for a better look inside. There are no user serviceable parts inside, but if you ever want to take a peek inside the SSD, you will have to inevitably void your warranty, even if you have the right equipment.

Turning the SSD around reveals more of its metal housing. This is something users will come to expect from a solid state drive, as there are no exposed printed circuit boards like you would normally see with a traditional hard disk. The only thing that is common between the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB SSD and a traditional hard disk drive is its SATA 6Gb/s and corresponding power connector at the end. As shown in our photo above, you will find a large label with the usual series of certification logos, along with information such as the brand, capacity, and serial number. In case you missed it, our particular unit is the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB, haha. Like many SSDs we have reviewed in the past, this Kingston drive is made in Taiwan.

Moving on, the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB's shell is attached to the aluminum backplate four security screws. As aforementioned, you will need special equipment to do this, and thankfully, we here at APH Networks are armed and ready. In case you are uncomfortable with taking apart your brand new SSD, to save you some trouble, I cracked mine open to take some photos of its internals for you to see. Judging by dozens of SSDs we have opened up in the past, we have exactly what the doctor ordered once again: A full sized PCB inside. The heart of Kingston's SSDNow UV400 480GB is the Marvell 88SS1074 controller, with a piece of thermally conductive tape between it and the enclosure. The PCB itself is held secure to the shell by the four main screws. As the drive controller is fundamentally very important to any SSD, let us dig more into the details of its brain.

As I have mentioned in the beginning of this page, the four channel 28nm Marvell 88SS1074 is a fifth generation SATA controller designed for use with TLC flash memory. There is not a whole lot of information on this controller floating around; furthermore, different manufacturers choose different features to enable with their custom firmware. What we do know is it comes with all the usual features like DevSLP support and SLC caching. Basically, entire blocks of flash can be switched between SLC mode and MLC mode. Due to the simplicity of a pseudo-SLC configuration, write operation performance can be significantly increased. In its downtime, the data 'cached' in SLC mode will be permanently moved to MLC blocks. Obviously, if writing becomes a continuous operation, previously cached data will be moved into SLC blocks at the same time as incoming data. To protect against physical flash failure, an internal redundant parity scheme called RAIN, or redundant array of independent NAND, is implemented. As with many SSDs on the market today, the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB has built in 256-bit hardware encryption that meets IEEE-1667 and TCG Opal 2.0 standards.

Rated at 550MB/s read, 500MB/s write, up to 90,000 IOPS over SATA 6Gb/s, these figures are about right for a budget SATA SSD. To see how it translates to numbers in our benchmarks, we will pit them against all the drives we have tested in the past to see how this new mainstream drive from Kingston steps up against SandForce, Indilinx, Phison, Silicon Motion, and other Marvell based drives in the next eight pages or so.The rated power consumption of Kingston's SSDNow UV400 is 672mW idle, 693mW average, 0.59W read, and 2.515W write.

A total of sixteen NAND flash chips are found on the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB solid state disk, with eight of them on each side. The chips used are Kingston branded flash memory labeled FD32B08UCT1-10, with a capacity of 32GB per integrated circuit chip. These are the same as Toshiba's TH58TEG8THLTA20, which are triple-level cells manufactured on the 15nm fabrication process also found in the OCZ Trion 150 480GB. Its rated write endurance is 200TB, which equates to about 110GB per day for five years. This is actually really good, considering it is more than some high end drives out there. 32GB out of the 512GB total capacity (Just under 7%) is provisioned for the drive controller for overhead, so the actual usable space is 480GB, as advertised. You will see 447GB in Windows. One Nanya NT5CC256M16CP-D1 512MB DDR3L-1600 chip is present; used with the Marvell 88SS1074 controller to ensure smooth operation.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15S
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
RAM: Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: Fractal Design Define R5
Storage: OCZ Vector 180 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB
- Crucial BX100 500GB
- Crucial MX100 256GB
- Crucial MX200 500GB
- Crucial MX300 750GB
- G.Skill Phoenix EVO 115GB
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB
- Kingston HyperX 120GB
- Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB
- Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB
- Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB
- 2x Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB RAID 0
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB
- OCZ Agility 3 240GB
- OCZ Agility 4 256GB
- OCZ Octane 512GB
- OCZ RD400A 512GB
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB
- OCZ Trion 100 480GB
- OCZ Trion 150 480GB
- OCZ Vector 150 240GB
- OCZ Vector 180 240GB
- OCZ Vector 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 160GB 25nm
- OCZ Vertex 2 60GB 34nm
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 4 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
- Patriot Blaze 240GB
- Patriot Ignite 480GB
- Patriot Pyro 120GB
- Patriot Pyro SE 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme II 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB
- SanDisk Ultra II 240GB
- Silicon Power Slim S80 240GB

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
10. Benchmark: PCMark 8
11. Conclusion