Roundup: The Best SSDs For Enthusiasts

Kingston SSDNow V (128 GB, Toshiba)

The SSDNow V (which implies value) is an affordable option for users who are looking to make the switch from HDD to SSD, but without high-end performance requirements. Kingston offers 30 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB capacities. The 128 GB model we tested sells for roughly $230. This is a decent deal, given that performance SSDs easily reach the $300 line. Enthusiasts will want the SSDNow V+, but mainstream consumers might prefer this more affordable model.

The SSDNow V doesn’t perform well on 4 KB random writes, and we found that write throughput can drop quite a bit, as well. The minimum write throughput measured with h2benchw was only 15 MB/s. However, this still wouldn’t hurt productivity or multimedia users much, since the throughput average of 138 MB/s is sufficient and read performance stays consistently above 200 MB/s. CrystalDiskMark 3.0 also proves that the drive can compete with similar products on throughput.

Application performance using PCMark Vantage is below average, and we also found that idle power is significantly higher than expected: 1.36 W, which is several times more than competing drives. This is obviously more important for runtime-hungry laptops than desktops. The same applies to power at high I/O activity or maximum throughoput.

In the end, the SSDNow V provides fast throughput numbers, but quickly falls behind other drives once high I/O activity or high application performance is required. Enthusiasts should look elsewhere because the overall performance lags behind the competition. For all other users, the low price should beckon.

Update: Just prior to this story going live, Kingston announced the V-series' successor called the V100. It employs the same JMicron-based controller, but employs Toshiba's 32 nm NAND flash, requiring a firmware update. We'll be including that drive in an upcoming comparison.