Kingston KC1000 960GB

Com­peti­tor up­dates leave this one with a tough ask.

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Straight up, Kingston’s KC1000 NVMe SSD is an older gen­er­a­tion unit that can­not match the per­for­mance of the lat­est 64-Layer NAND de­signs. The KC1000 was Kingston’s first NVMe drive - it’s been on the mar­ket for just over a year, but a year is a long time in the tech world and ev­ery other drive in this roundup was re­leased in 2018. That shouldn’t au­to­mat­i­cally mean the KC1000 is out of date, but it does leave it in a tricky po­si­tion.


Like the other drives in the test, the KC1000 960GB is a stan­dard form fac­tor NVMe M.2 2280 drive that makes use of a PCIe 3.0 x4 in­ter­face. Kingston of­fers an op­tional PCIe adapter that al­lows you to use the drive in a spare PCIe slot, though, which is a nice thing to con­sider if you’ve got no spare M.2 slots.

The KC1000 uses a Phi­son PS5007-E7 con­troller. This fam­ily of controllers has seen wide­spread use amongst many third party SSD mak­ers and has a strong track record. It sup­ports TRIM, garbage col­lec­tion and S.M.A.R.T. mon­i­tor­ing. The KC1000 doesn’t sup­port disk en­cryp­tion though. As we men­tion in the WD Black re­view, later, this is not a crit­i­cal omis­sion for reg­u­lar PC users, but is worth con­sid­er­ing if you are stor­ing sen­si­tive data. A re­ally pos­i­tive qual­ity of the 960GB KC1000 is its en­durance rat­ing of 1000 Ter­abytes Writ­ten. This in­di­cates it is a very reli­able drive. It also comes with a five year war­ranty. This kind of en­durance rat­ing is a re­sult of Kingston’s use of MLC NAND, sim­i­lar to the 970 Pro, rather than the cheaper but less durable TLC found in most con­sumer SSDs these days.

Kingston of­fers its SSD man­ager soft­ware, which sup­ports most of the key func­tions we ex­pect, in­clud­ing S.M.A.R.T. mon­i­tor­ing, firmware up­date sup­port and se­cure erase.

This fam­ily of controllers has seen wide­spread use amongst many third party SSD mak­ers.


Un­for­tu­nately the KC1000 was thor­oughly out­classed by its newer ri­vals. It’s com­pe­tent enough with se­quen­tial op­er­a­tions and ran­dom reads to make it a fast ‘feel­ing’ drive in real world use, but the bench­marks don’t lie. The newer and more ad­vanced drives make the KC1000 seem dated. If you com­pare it against a SATA SSD then its plenty fast, but with its steep price and per­for­mance deficit, the KC1000 needs to be re­placed if Kingston is to re­main com­pet­i­tive.

If you were to eval­u­ate the KC1000 against SATA SSDs, you’d say it’s an ab­so­lute mon­ster. It’s not a bad prod­uct but it has been left be­hind by cheaper and faster com­peti­tors such as the Adata Gam­mix S11. It does have an excellent en­durance rat­ing, which is great if you in­tend to do a lot of disk trans­fer­ring work. The PCIe op­tion is also noth­ing to sneeze at. Un­for­tu­nately though, the clock is tick­ing and the KC1000 needs to be re­placed or get a se­ri­ous price cut be­fore Kingston can re­sume the fight against the cur­rent NVMe top dogs. CHRIS SZEWCZYK

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