Review: Another name for Intel's X25 SSD
Kingston is a company founded in 1987 and has since become famous for manufacturing and distribution of various kinds of memory, such as RAM chips, USB drives, memory cards, etc. These guys are quite good at what they do and their various distribution channels around the world have opened up a world of opportunities for the SSD market.
Since the beginning of 2009, Kinston’s offers SSDNOW E series of enterprise server SSDs as well as SSDNOW M series for enthusiasts who like their laptops and desktops to have that extra edge. These disks are characterized by high read and write speeds, and it’s no wonder since these are actually the old rebranded Intel X25 SSD disks.
Today we’ll see what one of the world’s fastest SATA II SSDs, the Kingston SNE125-S2/32GB has to offer.
If you haven’t experienced SSD (solid state drive) technology yet, it’s about time you have as its closer to end users’ homes than ever, and its roots are deep in the beginning of computer revolution. If you’re not keen on listening to a history lesson, you might want to skip the following passage.
The first ferrite memory SSD devices have appeared in the time of vacuum tube computers, and they were called auxiliary memory units. In 1978, StorageTek made the first modern type of SSD devices, but the high prices made it impossible to appeal to broader audiences. Not until 1995 did these drives start gaining popularity, when M-Systems announced its first Flash-memory based SSDs. These devices were soon used for military and aviation purposes, as well as mission-critical apps. However, the price has again been keeping this technology away from mass popularity, but the last couple of years have brought significant improvements on that field. Although they’re still expensive compared to traditional HDD prices, their speed and durability are worth the additional investment. As far as mass storage device, SSDs won’t take HDDs down anytime soon, as they’re well ahead in terms of capacity, but SSDs have proven to be great as primary disks, the ones that run your OS of choice.
Solid state basically means there are no movable components within this piece of equipment, and thus they’re shock resistant as well as quiet. Information is stored in flash memory chips, enabling these devices faster transfer speeds and lower consumption.
Kingston’s E series of SSDs uses Intel’s solid state drives X25-E, which are the fastest on the market. They contain SLC (Single Level Cell) flash chips which are faster and pricier than Multi Level Cell (MLC) chips, although the latter are used more often due to their low price. Kingston’s SSDNOW E series comes with high IOPS (input and output operations per second) performance, so Kingston's intended usage of these is in server environments.
SLC’s MTBF is about 2 million hours, whereas SSD devices with MLC memory have an MTBF of 1.2 million hours. This is one of the factors that make SSDNOW E series perfect for servers, and the M series for desktops. On the other hand, MLC devices are a godsend for mobile computers, as they consume less and offer higher capacity (0.15W TYP in active state, whereas SLC requires 2.4W TYP).
Considering the €390 price for 21GB and €750 for a 64GB E series drive, it’s not hard to see why desktop users are more likely to opt on a €350 80GB MLC M series device.
The performance difference between the two SSDNOW Kingston series is that the E series writes up to 170MB/s, and the M series offers write speeds of up to 70MB/s. In theory, both disks should be capable of 250MB/s read speeds.
SSDNOW uses standard SATA 2.5’’ HDD interface, meaning it has a standard SATA II and power port.
The finishing touches on this device are excellent – no rough edges, and the device feels sturdy. Good thing about SSDs is that you can move them around and position them as you please even while they’re running, and it will introduce no hiccups whatsoever.
The memory controller is Intel’s System On a Chip, a square chip on the picture above. Next to it is the smaller, Samsung’s memory chip that serves as a buffer. Kingston used Samsung SLC NAND flash memory, 10 banks per each side of the board.
Kingston’s E series includes two versions which are different only in terms of capacity – 32 and 64GB. We tested the 32GB version and its specs are as follows:
-Speed: 250MB/sec. Read, 170MB/sec. Write
-Optimized: server environments
-Interface: SATA 1.5Gb/sec. i 3.0Gb/sec.
- Storage temperatures: -55° C to 95° C
-Operation temperature: 0° C to 70° C
-Form factor: 2.5" (Dimenzije: 69.85mm x 100mm x 7mm)
-Weight: 80 grams (+/- 2 grams)
-IOPS (Input and Output Operations Per Second): Random 4K
read: 35K Random 4K write: 3.3K
-Operational vibration: 2.17 G (7–800Hz)
-Idle vibration: 3.13 G (10–500Hz)
-Operating shock: 1,000 G/0.5 msec in both active and idle mode
-Lifespan: 2 MTBF (million work-hours before potential errors)
-Power: Active: 2.4 W TYP, Sleep: 0.06 W TYP
Kingston’s SSDNOW comes in a simple and 100% recyclable cardboard box.
The SSD device itself is wrapped in antistatic bag and carefully placed in the protective foam. In the box you’ll also find a short user’s manual. All the SSDNOW drives come with a 3 year warranty, 24/7 technical support as well as KingstonCare package of tools and services which will decrease your server outage time in case you experience trouble with your SSDNOW device.