Kingston UV500 240GB (SATA) Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The Kingston's UV500 is powered by Marvell's 88SS1074 controller with a custom firmware, which is the same as the Kingston SSDNow UV400 I reviewed a couple of years ago. 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 UV500 240GB SSD is not about flashy looks or sharp appearance. Carrying its down-to-earth business appearance like its predecessors, 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 UV500 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 41g. As shown in our photo above, there is a warranty seal over one of the screws. Furthermore, instead of regular screws, Kingston used four security screws at the top. The Torx screws on the UV500 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 UV500 240GB 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 UV500 240GB, haha. Like many SSDs we have reviewed in the past, this Kingston drive is made in Taiwan.

Moving on, the Kingston UV500 240GB'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. With high-density TLC memory, most of it is empty space inside with the phenomenally compact PCB. The heart of Kingston's UV500 240GB is the Marvell 88SS1074 controller. The PCB itself is held secure to the shell by two of 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 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. 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 four NAND flash chips are found on the Kingston UV500 240GB solid state disk, with two of them on each side. The chips used are Kingston branded flash memory labeled FH64B08UCT1-31 with a capacity of 64GB per integrated circuit chip. 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 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 UV500 240GB (SATA)
- 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 (M2)
- 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