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Kingston A2000 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Security, Endurance, and Low Pricing

Kingston's A2000 may not be the fastest, but it offsets that with enhanced security and low pricing.

(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Looking to outfit your Ultrabook or new build with a fast and secure NVMe SSD? Kingston’s A2000 is a top pick with hardware encryption, competitive performance, and great pricing too.

For

  • Competitive price and performance
  • Secure
  • Software package support
  • Respectable endurance
  • Five-year warranty

Against

  • Unattractive

Like its bigger brother the KC2000, Kingston's new A2000 uses a Silicon Motion controller and Micron’s 96L TLC flash. However, the SSDs' controller limits performance to about 2.2/2.0 GBps read/write, which results in lower pricing. The drive still performs well, has a long warranty, and also features heavy-duty hardware encryption options that also offset the more conservative performance specifications.

The combination of features makes Kingston’s A2000 a formidable entry-level M.2 NVMe SSD. With a four-channel Silicon Motion SM2263EN PCIe NVMe controller and Micron’s latest 96L TLC powering it, it has got a lot of fight in it. Need to load up your favorite games fast? Easy. Want to host multiple virtual machines? Not a problem. Edit high bit-rate video? It should be a piece of cake with the A2000.

The A2000 is also a great pick if you have sensitive data and want to upgrade your business laptop. The self-encrypting drive supports 256-bit XTS-AES hardware-based encryption at the controller level, so you can password-protect your data with no performance loss. And, with TCG Opal 2.0 support, you can manage the security with Symantec, McAfee, WinMagic, and other business-class security software. As a byproduct of its eDrive support, it also supports BitLocker.

Specifications

ProductKingston A2000 250GBKingston A2000 500GBKingston A2000 1TB
Pricing$39.99$59.9999.99
Capacity (User / Raw)250GB / 256GB500GB / 512GB1000GB / 1024GB
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
ControllerSMI SM2263ENSMI SM2263ENSMI SM2263EN
DRAMDDR4DDR4DDR4
MemoryMicron 96L TLCMicron 96L TLCMicron 96L TLC
Sequential Read2,100 MBps2,200 MBps2,200 MBps
Sequential Write1,100 MBps2,000 MBps2,000 MBps
Random Read150,000 IOPS180,000 IOPS250,000 IOPS
Random Write180,000 IOPS200,000 IOPS220,000 IOPS
EncryptionTCG Opal, AES 256-bit, eDriveTCG Opal, AES 256-bit, eDriveTCG Opal, AES 256-bit, eDrive
Endurance150 TBW350 TBW600 TBW
Part NumberSA2000M8/250GSA2000M8/500GSA2000M8/1000G
Warranty5-Years5-Years5-Years

Kingston’s A2000 is available in mainstream capacities that stretch from 250GB up to 1TB. MSRPs come in at $39.99, $59.99, and $99.99, respectfully. If you need a larger drive, you should look into the KC2000 as an alternative. 

Kingston rates the A2000 for up to 2.2/2.0 GBps of read/write throughput, and it can dish out 250,000 / 220,000 of random read/write IOPS, too. It comes with high-end endurance ratings that match both the Samsung 970 EVO Plus and WD Black SN750. And, like them, it comes with a 5-year warranty.

Feature-wise, other than the AES 256-bit encryption, the drive has a pseudo-SLC write cache that absorbs inbound writes. It supports TRIM, S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, and you can secure erase it (Format NVM) to ensure your data is completely gone when you sell it, or to restore performance if the drive gets into a degraded state.

Software and Accessories

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Except for a serial key for Acronis True Image HD, Kingston doesn’t include any accessories in the package. You can use True Image to easily migrate your existing data from your old drive to your new one. Kingston's SSD Manager toolbox also comes with your purchase. It allows you to manage the security features, adjust overprovisioning, update firmware, secure erase, or just monitor your drive.

A Closer Look

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Kingston’s A2000 is an M.2 2280, single-sided form factor SSD. This makes upgrading almost any M.2-based system an easy task without any clearance issues.

Unlike classier M.2 drives, the A2000 lacks a black PCB. Instead, it is a dull blue. Like the KC2000, the white sticker over top of the drive detracts even more from the aesthetics, as it is just plain ugly.

However, the underlying components are anything but. Kingston outfitted the A2000 with Silicon Motion’s SM2263EN, a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 controller, and the company paired it with four packages of Micron’s 96L TLC flash. The SM2263EN supports a DRAM cache for more consistent performance over its DRAMless counterpart (SM2263XT). Kingston slapped on one of its own branded DDR4 NAND ICs for the task.

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

  • nofanneeded
    Sorry but 600TBW for 1TB is not respectable endurance.

    1-Corsar MP510 960GB , TBW : 1700
    2-PNY XLR8 CS3030 , 1TB , TBW : 1665
    3-Gigabyte NVME SSD , 1TB , TBW : 1600
    4-Patriot Viper VPN100 , 1TB , TBW : 1670

    600 TBW for 1TB SSD is nothing by today standards.
    Reply
  • tomspown
    The ssd is not that great Atto results are all over the place, my sansung 850 evo is faster in scanning with antivirus and malwarebytes than a2000, this was a bad buy but my return window is gone so stuck with it. Cant post screanshot this site doesnt seem to allow.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    nofanneeded said:
    Sorry but 600TBW for 1TB is not respectable endurance.

    1-Corsar MP510 960GB , TBW : 1700
    2-PNY XLR8 CS3030 , 1TB , TBW : 1665
    3-Gigabyte NVME SSD , 1TB , TBW : 1600
    4-Patriot Viper VPN100 , 1TB , TBW : 1670

    600 TBW for 1TB SSD is nothing by today standards.
    The thing is, these are warranted endurance ratings. They don't necessarily correspond to actual product endurance. And, they match high-end drives like the Samsung 970 EVO Plus and WD Black SN750.

    As well, how much endurance actually matters? What is your workload? Do you know how much PC users write to their drives on average? It's 5-10TB a year, at most 20TB, usually with write amplification from what I've gathered.

    Considering 600TB is 6x more than a high-average (100TB) of writes over 5-years, I'd say its respectable. That gives it about a 30-year life span when it comes to writing endurance alone if the real-world endurance result actually matches the rating.

    tomspown said:
    The ssd is not that great Atto results are all over the place, my sansung 850 evo is faster in scanning with antivirus and malwarebytes than a2000, this was a bad buy but my return window is gone so stuck with it. Cant post screanshot this site doesnt seem to allow.
    Hmm, could have some configuration issues. Does Crystal Disk Info report full link speed? Got enough free space? Did you just clone or migrate all your data to the drive? if so, you may just need to envoke Windows Optimize/Trim and let it have some idle time, maybe leave it on overnight, to recover.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    nofanneeded said:
    Sorry but 600TBW for 1TB is not respectable endurance.

    1-Corsar MP510 960GB , TBW : 1700
    2-PNY XLR8 CS3030 , 1TB , TBW : 1665
    3-Gigabyte NVME SSD , 1TB , TBW : 1600
    4-Patriot Viper VPN100 , 1TB , TBW : 1670

    600 TBW for 1TB SSD is nothing by today standards.
    In your experience, what is the most TBW you've personally put on a consumer level drive?
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    USAFRet said:
    In your experience, what is the most TBW you've personally put on a consumer level drive?

    My use is not "delete" intensive , so I never had an SSD die from TBW limit.

    I get your point , but when the market already has 1600+ TBW on cheap NVME drive , for the sake of choosing the better , the Pro cant be "respectable" for a 600TBW , this is not fair for other products at the same price and size.
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    seanwebster said:
    The thing is, these are warranted endurance ratings. They don't necessarily correspond to actual product endurance. And, they match high-end drives like the Samsung 970 EVO Plus and WD Black SN750.

    As well, how much endurance actually matters? What is your workload? Do you know how much PC users write to their drives on average? It's 5-10TB a year, at most 20TB, usually with write amplification from what I've gathered.

    Considering 600TB is 6x more than a high-average (100TB) of writes over 5-years, I'd say its respectable. That gives it about a 30-year life span when it comes to writing endurance alone if the real-world endurance result actually matches the rating.

    Hmm, could have some configuration issues. Does Crystal Disk Info report full link speed? Got enough free space? Did you just clone or migrate all your data to the drive? if so, you may just need to envoke Windows Optimize/Trim and let it have some idle time, maybe leave it on overnight, to recover.


    it is not about me , it is about the review itself , the NVME SSD I put there are at the same price range and it is not fair for them that you put on inferior TBW product a Pro .. that pro is not right. if this 600TBW is respectable then what will you call 1600TBW and the same price and speed ? it is almost 3X ...

    Not fair for ther product and not fair for the other products.

    as for some mnufacturer cheat in the TBW numbers , well this can be said for the Reviewd 600TBW SSD as well .. because you never tested any TBW to be sure who is lying and who is not.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    nofanneeded said:
    it is not about me , it is about the review itself , the NVME SSD I put there are at the same price range and it is not fair for them that you put on inferior TBW product a Pro .. that pro is not right. if this 600TBW is respectable then what will you call 1600TBW and the same price and speed ? it is almost 3X ...

    Not fair for ther product and not fair for the other products.
    Sure, Phison E12 and E16 based SSDs have 3x the rated endurance, of this, but who knows, will they all actually last as long as stated? Will they last longer? Matching the Samsung 970 EVO and WD Black SN750's endurance values as an entry-level NVMe SSD at a fraction of the price, I'd say that's a Pro for the drive. It's not class-leading, but it's respectable none the less.

    Unless it is going to be used in a professional workflow, I fail to see where 600 TB of write endurance is less than adequate for most consumers. Much higher than the QLC SSDs hitting the market too. If one is planning on bombarding their drives with writes, then, of course, one would turn to purchase a product of higher endurance. But, for the average user, it's much more than enough.
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    seanwebster said:
    Sure, Phison E12 and E16 based SSDs have 3x the rated endurance, of this, but who knows, will they all actually last as long as stated? Will they last longer? Matching the Samsung 970 EVO and WD Black SN750's endurance values as an entry-level NVMe SSD at a fraction of the price, I'd say that's a Pro for the drive. It's not class-leading, but it's respectable none the less.

    Unless it is going to be used in a professional workflow, I fail to see where 600 TB of write endurance is less than adequate for most consumers. Much higher than the QLC SSDs hitting the market too. If one is planning on bombarding their drives with writes, then, of course, one would turn to purchase a product of higher endurance. But, for the average user, it's much more than enough.

    What you said about the Phison mite not last 1600 TBW as the say CAN BE ALSO SAID ABOUT the Kingston a2000 , who knows that it will even last 600TBS ??? you can only say that when you test the TBW (which is almost impossible at Tomshardware)

    Matching Samsung has nothing to do with it , Samsung are not known for good endurance. you ae mixing potatoes with apples here ..

    Yes Samsung is super fast , but one of Samsung cons is low TBW .. so you cant give a "pro" comapred to a "con" just because Samsung is faster.

    and again , I dont care anout averag use of TBW , when the technology reaches 3X the TBW , you cant give a pro for 1X ...

    and again this is not fair fr readers who dont know about the 3X TBW drives and trust your review .. personally I would never get the A2000 , because here is no gain over similar products , the speed is not that super to sacrifice the TBW for it
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    nofanneeded said:
    Matching Samsung has nothing to do with it , Samsung are not known for good endurance. you ae mixing potatoes with apples here ..
    Even as far back as the 840 EVO, TBW on Samsung's was not an issue.
    (and this is on small drives of 120-250GB. Larger drives scale linearly)

    https://techreport.com/review/26058/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-data-retention-after-600tb/"By far the most telling takeaway thus far is the fact that all the drives have endured 600TB of writes without dying. That’s an awful lot of data—well over 300GB per day for five years—and far more than typical PC users are ever likely to write to their drives. "
    "At this rate, even the 840 Series may reach a petabyte of writes before burning out. "

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/7173/samsung-ssd-840-evo-review-120gb-250gb-500gb-750gb-1tb-models-tested/3"Endurance isn't a concern for client systems using the 840 EVO. "
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    nofanneeded said:
    What you said about the Phison mite not last 1600 TBW as the say CAN BE ALSO SAID ABOUT the Kingston a2000 , who knows that it will even last 600TBS ??? you can only say that when you test the TBW (which is almost impossible at Tomshardware)

    Matching Samsung has nothing to do with it , Samsung are not known for good endurance. you ae mixing potatoes with apples here ..

    Yes Samsung is super fast , but one of Samsung cons is low TBW .. so you cant give a "pro" comapred to a "con" just because Samsung is faster.

    and again , I dont care anout averag use of TBW , when the technology reaches 3X the TBW , you cant give a pro for 1X ...

    and again this is not fair fr readers who dont know about the 3X TBW drives and trust your review .. personally I would never get the A2000 , because here is no gain over similar products , the speed is not that super to sacrifice the TBW for it
    Of course the A2000 could fail before, but then again, does that matter? Again, this is just warranted endurance we’re talking about. Something we can’t necessarily test within the week of getting a drive to review. But, impossible to test? No.

    Having Samsung endurance as an entry level drive, for half the price, it’s a pro. The Samsung is twice the price per GB... Both are NVMe SSDs, completely apples to apples.
    Reply