Kingston’s SSDs have been unable to surprise us in any way. Choosing the SF-2281 controller, Kingston has come up with typical solutions that are exactly like a number of similar products from other brands. The popularity of SandForce-based SSDs used to be justified by their high performance, but the situation has changed, now that there are new SSDs with fast flash memory and Marvell or Indilinx controllers available. Even the fastest of SandForce-based SSDs fail to compete and the recently released version 5.xx firmware doesn’t save the day. Although the latter has improved the speed of writing a little, it can’t change the general picture: the second-generation SandForce controller is not an outstanding solution anymore.
Talking about Kingston’s consumer SSD line-up, we can note that the HyperX and HyperX 3K series are in fact two identical implementations of the second-generation SandForce platform with 25nm flash memory with ONFI 2.2 interface. They are similar to such popular products as OCZ Vertex 3, Corsair Force GT, etc. In other words, the HyperX and the HyperX 3K are regular midrange SSDs with all the highs and lows of the SF-2281 controller. The Kingston SSDNow V+200, on its part, is an entry-level solution like OCZ Agility 3 or Corsair Force 3. It contains cheap asynchronous memory which makes it slow in performance benchmarks but also makes it attractively cheap, especially as even a slow SSD like that will be much faster than any conventional hard disk.
Kingston has tried to make its SandForce-based products special, though. The special feature is reliability here. And instead of a high quality of manufacture or immaculate technical support (although these are indisputable advantages of Kingston SSDs, too) it means specific measures the developer has taken to increase the product’s service life. Particularly, the Kingston HyperX features flash memory rated for 5000 rewrite cycles – more than in typical SandForce-based products of this class. The HyperX 3K and SSDNow V+200 have ordinary 25nm flash memory rated for 3000 rewrite cycles but feature adjusted garbage collection algorithms that lower the write amplification factor at the expense of a tiny reduction in the SSD’s steady-state performance.
Considering that the second-generation SandForce platform in general is a mature solution with advanced technologies for reducing flash memory wear, such as a 14% reserve pool, Kingston’s products claim to be among the most reliable of consumer-class SSDs. The HyperX series can be recommended for high-load applications whereas the HyperX 3K and SSDNow V+200 will be a perfect choice for reliability-conscious home users who don’t mind paying a little extra to enjoy an increased service life of their SSDs.