Kingston UV400 480GB

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The Kingston SSDNow UV400 is a cou­ple of years old now, but it re­mains the com­pany’s lat­est main­stream SSD op­tion – Kingston’s per­for­mance drive is the HyperX Sav­age. Un­like all the other drives in this test, it’s based on pla­nar TLC NAND rather than a form of 3D NAND, which you might think would sug­gest it’s at a dis­ad­van­tage, given that 3D NAND is the newer tech­nol­ogy.

How­ever, if it’s used in the right way, pla­nar NAND can still pro­duce good per­for­mance, so there’s cer­tainly no rea­son to dis­miss it im­me­di­ately. That said, the UV400 is a val­ue­ori­en­tated drive and its per­for­mance fig­ures sup­port that de­scrip­tion. Avail­able in ca­pac­i­ties from 120GB up to 960GB, it’s one of the few drives in this test where per­for­mance does vary de­pend­ing on ca­pac­ity, and at the lower end it’s very slow. The 120GB drive can de­liver a 550MB/sec read speed but just a 350MB/sec write speed in se­quen­tial tests, while for ran­dom work­loads it can also pro­duce a de­cent 90,000 IOPS when read­ing, but a frankly dread­ful 15,000 IOPS when writ­ing.

In other words, the UV400 is a drive that’s very much meant for hav­ing data writ­ten to it once, and then just re­call­ing that data quickly for you. As such, it’s still po­ten­tially suited to work­ing as a boot drive – in ev­ery­day use, most users don’t write much data to their PC, and it would also be ideal for use as a sec­ondary drive for stor­ing your Steam li­brary.

How­ever, it would be less suited for use as a scratch disk for Adobe Pre­miere Pro, Pho­to­shop or any other ap­pli­ca­tion where large vol­umes of data are reg­u­larly writ­ten. All that said, once you move up to the 480GB drive, per­for­mance im­proves. The se­quen­tial write speed jumps to 500MB/sec, while ran­dom writes hit 35,000 IOPS. The per­for­mance still isn’t mar­ket-lead­ing, but it’s much more man­age­able.

Of course, that se­quen­tial write speed is only achieved thanks to SLC caching. Kingston hasn’t spec­i­fied the ex­act size of the cache, but fill­ing the drive with data showed a drop in write speed at around 40GB, and the drop-off in per­for­mance was big too – around 100MB/sec, in fact. How­ever, 40GB is still a large enough cache that you should very sel­dom hit the lower write speed fig­ure, at least while the drive still has a de­cent amount of spare ca­pac­ity.

It’s no sur­prise that this val­ue­ori­en­tated drive doesn’t of­fer the five-year war­ranty of some of the other drives on test ei­ther, with it mak­ing do with three years in­stead. To­tal writ­ten data is also lower, with this 480GB model rated to 200TB.

Com­ing to our bench­marks, the Kingston UV400 in­deed proved it­self to be no pow­er­house. That said, our tests largely prove the point that, for all read op­er­a­tions, this drive is as good as any other. It’s only re­ally in PCMark 8 where we see a dif­fer­ence, with the over­all band­width of 176MB/sec be­ing markedly be­low the other drives on test.

The other test that shows the lim­i­ta­tions of this drive is IOme­ter, where a read op­er­a­tions score of 79,994 IOPS is a lit­tle be­hind the rest of the pack. But much worse is the write op­er­a­tions. At peak, the drive can man­age

70,057 IOPS but it reg­u­larly drops to un­der

40,000 IOPS. That’s ac­tu­ally higher than its rated per­for­mance, but is still well down on most of the other drives on test.

Our tests largely prove that, for all read op­er­a­tions, this drive is as good as any other

Con­clu­sion

The Kingston UV400 is de­signed as a low­cost drive that’s sim­ply meant to de­liver the ba­sics of SSD per­for­mance, and sure enough, it lags be­hind the best in some ar­eas. That would be fine, ex­cept that right now the UV400 isn’t sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than some faster drives, with the Cru­cial MX500 now out­per­form­ing and un­der­cut­ting it, mak­ing the lat­ter drive the su­pe­rior choice.

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