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Kingston KC2000 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Top Notch Components and Security

1TB Performance Results

Comparison Products

We put Kingston’s KC2000 up against a few well-known competitors that come armed with 3D flash. On the low-end, we have a SATA Crucial MX500, and as a step up the ladder, the entry-level NVMe Intel SSD 660p with QLC flash. We also included the value-centric MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro and Adata XPG SX8200 Pro. We also threw in the new WD Black SN750, Samsung 970 Pro, and the 970 EVO Plus, which also happens to have Samsung’s latest 9x-Layer flash.

Trace Testing – PCMark 8 Storage Test 2.0

PCMark 8 is a trace-based benchmark that uses Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, World of Warcraft, and Battlefield 3 to measure the performance of storage devices in real-world scenarios.

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The KC2000 did very well in PCMark 8, basically tying the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. The KC2000 ranked in fifth place overall.

Game Scene Loading - Final Fantasy XIV

The Final Fantasy XIV StormBlood benchmark is a free real-world game benchmark that easily and accurately compares game load times without the inaccuracy of using a stopwatch.

Kingston’s KC2000 also performed well in our game load benchmark. With a total load time of 19.73 seconds, it beat all the flash-based competitors on our chart. It even outmatched the ADATA SX8200 Pro SSD that was faster in PCMark 8.

Transfer Rates – DiskBench

We use the DiskBench storage benchmarking tool to test file transfer performance with our own custom 50GB block of data. Our data set includes 31,227 files of various types, like pictures, PDFs, and videos. We copy the files to a new folder and then follow up with a read test of a newly-written 6 GB file.

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The KC2000 ranked fifth during the transfer of our 50GB test folder. The drive averaged 368MB/s, which was just as fast as the ADATA SX8200 Pro and the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. It was a bit slower than the 970 EVO Plus and Intel 905P, however.

During the reading portion of the test, the KC2000 ranked a bit lower than the rest, but it was still faster than the Intel SSD 660p, MX500, and of course, a plain old HDD.

SYSmark 2014 SE

Like PCMark, SYSmark uses real applications to measure system performance. SYSmark takes things much further, however. It utilizes fourteen different applications to run real workloads with real data sets to measure how overall system performance impacts the user experience. BAPCo's SYSmark 2014 SE installs a full suite of applications for its tests, which includes Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, Corel WinZip, several Adobe software applications, and GIMP. That also makes it a great test to measure the amount of time it takes to install widely-used programs after you install a fresh operating system.

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While its overall stats weren’t as high as some of the other drives we've tested, Kingston’s KC2000 continued to impress. SYSmark installed to the KC2000 faster than the Intel Optane 905P and any other competitor. And, although the KC2000's final test score in SYSmark didn’t outrank all the drives, it did outperform the WD Black SN750, MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, and our low-end competitors.

ATTO

ATTO is a simple and free application that SSD vendors commonly use to assign sequential performance specifications to their products. It also gives us insight into how the device handles different file sizes.

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The Kingston KC2000’s peak read and write speeds were a bit behind its high-end competitors, but still very good. It outperformed the Crucial MX500 and Intel 660p with ease as it peaked at 3.2/2.2 GB/s of sequential read/write throughput.

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark (CDM) is a simple and easy to use file size benchmarking tool.

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Kingston’s KC2000 ranked seventh in sequential performance at a queue depth (QD) of 32. But, at a lower and much more realistic queue depth of 1, it beat the WD Black SN750. Still, it fell behind most of the other high-end competitors in sequential performance.

The KC2000's 4K random performance came in better than the official spec, but still fell behind the competition. At QD64, it provided 352,000/366,000 random read/write IOPS. The KC2000's high-performance Silicon Motion controller did better at QD1 with an average of ~15,000/43,000 read/write IOPS.

Sustained Sequential Write Performance

Official write specifications are only part of the performance picture. Most SSD makers implement an SLC cache buffer, which is a fast area of SLC-programmed flash that absorbs incoming data. Sustained write speeds can suffer tremendously once the workload spills outside of the SLC cache and into the "native" TLC or QLC flash. We hammer the SSDs with sequential writes for 15 minutes to measure both the size of the SLC buffer and performance after the buffer is saturated.

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The Kingston KC2000 delivered pretty impressive write performance as it wrote 157GB of data at 2.3 GB/s. Performance degraded to 1,440 MB/s, and then 1360 MB/s, during the next 500GB of the workload. Finally, in its last stage of degradation, the KC2000’s write performance fell to an average of 730 MB/s for the remainder of the test. This ranked just ahead of the SX8200 Pro and BPX Pro.

Power Consumption

We use the Quarch HD Programmable Power Module to gain a deeper understanding of power characteristics. Idle power consumption is a very important aspect to consider, especially if you're looking for a new drive for your laptop. Some SSDs can consume watts of power at idle while better-suited ones sip just milliwatts. Average workload power consumption and max consumption are two other aspects of power consumption, but performance-per-watt is more important. A drive might consume more power during any given workload, but accomplishing a task faster allows the drive to drop into an idle state faster, which ultimately saves power.

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The KC2000 had the second-worst idle power consumption when we disabled ASPM. However, it's 10mW of consumption tied for best when we enabled the feature.

During our file transfer, the Kingston KC2000 consumed about the same amount of power as the WD Black SN750 (2.5W) but didn't write our 50GB folder as quickly. Overall, WD’s Black SN750 was just a hair more efficient, but the Kingston KC2000 was still more efficient than the rest of the drives in our charts (other than the SX8200 Pro).

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