Kingston UV500 240GB (M.2) Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The Kingston UV500 240GB (M.2) looks nothing like your traditional Serial ATA solid state drive, and this is because it is not your traditional solid state drive. If you are looking for one in traditional 2.5" form factor, please read our Kingston UV500 240GB (SATA) review. This version of the Kingston UV500 240GB we are reviewing is an M.2 2280 format SSD. It still works on the SATA interface interfaced through an AHCI driver, and plugs into compatible motherboards directly. If you are not familiar with the M.2 physical standard, M.2 2280 means it the size of the drive is 22mm by 80mm, hence its numerical designation. A label on the UV500 SSD itself carries miscellaneous information such as its certification logos, brand, capacity, and serial number. Like many flash storage solutions we have reviewed in the past, this Kingston drive is made in Taiwan. Removing the label in question will void your five-year warranty, but there is no real reason why you need to do that, haha.

Flipping the Kingston UV500 240GB around, and you will find no components of interest. In fact, it is completely blank, as all the components are located on the other side shown in our photo above. The layout is fairly simple upon closer inspection of the blue printed circuit board. The specified weight is a paltry 6.7g for the Kingston UV500 240GB.

Peeling the sticker back, and you can see what the Kingston UV500 240GB (M.2) is made out of. There are few components on the side where there are components thanks to the use of high-density TLC memory. The heart of Kingston's UV500 240GB is the Marvell 88SS1074 controller. As the drive controller is fundamentally very important to any SSD, let us dig more into the details of its brain.

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 UV500 240GB has built in 256-bit hardware encryption that meets IEEE-1667 and TCG Opal 2.0 standards.

Rated at 520MB/s read, 500MB/s write, up to 79,000 IOPS over SATA 6Gb/s, these figures are about right for a budget SATA SSD and are identical to all the other UV500 variants. Surprisingly, it slots a little bit below its predecessor, the UV400. To see how it translates to numbers in our benchmarks, we will pit it against all the drives we have tested in the past to see how this new budget drive from Kingston steps up against budget and mainstream drives in the next eight pages or so. The rated power consumption of Kingston's UV500 240GB is 195mW idle, 500mW average, 1.17W read, and 2.32W write, which, for the most part, is an improvement over the UV400.

A total of two NAND flash chips are found on the Kingston UV500 240GB solid state disk, with all of them on one side. The chips used are Kingston branded flash memory labeled FB12808UCT1-32 with a capacity of 128GB per integrated circuit chip, making them twice as dense as the ones found in the 2.5" SATA version. These are triple-level cells manufactured on 15nm fabrication process. Its rated write endurance is 100TB, which equates to about 55GB per day for five years. This is pretty good, considering it is more than some high end drives out there. 16GB out of the 256GB total capacity (Just under 7%) is provisioned for the drive controller for overhead, so the actual usable space is 240GB, as advertised. You will see 223GB in Windows. One Kingston D1216MCABXGGBS memory 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 R6 Blackout TG
Storage: OCZ Vector 180 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: Seasonic PRIME Ultra Titanium 850W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Kingston UV500 240GB (M.2)
- Crucial BX100 500GB
- Crucial BX300 240GB
- Crucial MX100 256GB
- Crucial MX200 500GB
- Crucial MX300 750GB
- Crucial MX500 500GB
- Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB
- Kingston UV500 240GB (SATA)
- OCZ Trion 100 480GB
- OCZ Trion 150 480GB
- Toshiba OCZ TL100 240GB
- Toshiba OCZ TR200 480GB

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