Kingston SSDNow M.2 240GB

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Custom PC - - LABS TEST / SOLID STATE DRIVES -

The 2.5in ver­sions of Kingston’s SSDNow drives have been around for quite some time, aimed squarely at the en­try-level end of the mar­ket. The drives orig­i­nally launched back in 2009, when the SSD mar­ket was in a nascent stage and the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple’s com­put­ers still re­lied on a me­chan­i­cal hard disk for their op­er­at­ing sys­tem files, and an SSD was an ex­pen­sive ex­trav­a­gance. It comes as no sur­prise, then, that the SSDNow M.2 bears lit­tle sim­i­lar­ity to the older 2.5in drives, aside from its brand­ing and the con­tin­ued fo­cus on the en­try-level end of the mar­ket.

Also known as the SM2280S3, the Kingston SSDNow M.2 240GB is a dou­blesided 2280 M.2 SATA drive, and it uses the AHCI bus pro­to­col rather than NVMe. Be­ing a SATA drive, it’s aimed at the op­po­site end of the mar­ket from the high-end Preda­tor M.2 SSD, which has a PCI-E in­ter­face for faster speeds, but also a much higher price.

The SSDNow’s 8-chan­nel con­troller is called the PS3108-S8, and it comes from Tai­wanese firm Phi­son. We’ve tested the 240GB flavour of the drive, but there are also 120GB and 480GB ver­sions avail­able. In the case of the 240GB drive, four re­branded 64GB Toshiba A19nm chips make up the stor­age, which to­tals 224GB af­ter for­mat­ting.

Like all SSD man­u­fac­tur­ers, Kingston also of­fers its own Tool­box SSD main­te­nance soft­ware for down­load on its web­site. It’s fairly rudi­men­tary, but it cov­ers all the es­sen­tials. Firmware up­dates, SMART mon­i­tor­ing and di­ag­nos­tic scans are part of the show, with a se­cure erase func­tion added as well.

As an en­try-level SATA drive, the SSDNow M.2 goes up against the Cru­cial MX200, Tran­scend MTS800 M.2 and Sam­sung 850 Evo M.2, but it’s out­per­formed by all th­ese

Se­quen­tial read speed

is a rel­a­tively strong point, with a solid re­sult

of 531MB/sec

drives in most of our per­for­mance tests.

While the se­quen­tial read speed is a rel­a­tively strong point, with the SSDNow M.2 achiev­ing a solid re­sult of 531MB/sec, it drops down fast in se­quen­tial write tests to just 355MB/sec, while other SATA M.2 de­vices can meet 500MB/sec. There are plenty of 2.5in SATA drives that of­fer faster write speeds.

Mean­while, its re­sult in Iome­ter came to just 23,512 IOPS, which is less than half the speed of even the slow­est PCI-E M.2 drives on test, and slower than any of the other SATA drives too, with a gap of at least 10,000 Al­though the SSDNow M.2 has a deceptively low price per gi­ga­byte, it’s matched or beaten by cheaper al­ter­na­tives that per­form far bet­ter. The Cru­cial MX200 250GB is £10 cheaper, but out­per­forms the SSDNow M.2 in ev­ery test, as does Sam­sung’s SSD 850 Evo, for the same money.

The good value in terms of ca­pac­ity is ba­si­cally off­set by a rel­a­tively un­com­pet­i­tive bang per buck. If you’re look­ing for a cheap M.2 drive, the cheaper and faster Cru­cial MX200 250GB is a bet­ter buy.

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