Kingston KC1000 960GB
Competitor updates leave this one with a tough ask.
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 That shouldn’t automatically mean the KC1000 is out of date, but it does leave it in a tricky position.
SOME STRONG POINTS
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.
THE COMPETITION IS RELENTLESS
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