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Preview: 120GB Kingston SSDNow V300 budget SSD

Last November, Kingston announced a new series of budget SSDs called SSDNow V300. Hardware.Info tested the 120GB model which is one of the most affordable SSDs currently on the market. The V300 may have a budget price, but that doesn’t mean that Kingston has skimped on the components.

The V300 SSDs employ the popular SandForce SF-2281 controller which has been used in a number of SSDs released over the past two years. It is highly likely that LSI is clearing remaining stocks at a reduced price ahead of the launch of new models.

The SF-2281 is paired with state-of-the-art 19nm Toggle-Mode flash chips from Toshiba. A smaller manufacturing process means that 19nm flash memory is cheaper to manufacture than 25nm chips. In addition, many manufacturers use Toshiba chips because they are faster. How Kingston managed to get them in their affordable models remains a mystery.

The model under scrutiny has a storage capacity of 120GB and, according to Kingston, it has a maximum read and write speed of 450 MB/s, a tad slower than other Kingston SSDs of similar capacities and based on the same SandForce SF-2281 controller. Note that in SandForce-powered SSDs, 8 GB is reserved for the RAISE feature that's supposed to protect against failing chips.

Whether there is a technical reason for the lower speed isn't entirely clear to us; could the hardware somehow have been bridled as it is the case for processors?

The 120 GB model costs around £74, which makes it one of the cheapest SSDs on the market. There are cheaper options but they both come with pitfalls.

The Crucial v4 isn't the fastest due to the Serial ATA 300 controller, and the Samsung 840 employs TLC memory that could potentially shorten the lifespan of the SSD, and also doesn't write data very fast. Kingston could therefore do quite well in the budget segment.

(ed: There’s also the rather cheap Sandisk Ultra for £60, the Sandisk Pulse for £63 and the OCZ Vertex Plus for £65)

The Kingston SSDNow V300 is also available in capacities of 60 GB and 240 GB, the latter being the most affordable per gigabyte. Kingston sells them as SSD-only, but also with desktop and notebook kits that include data-migration software and an external 2.5-inch case. The desktop kit also comes with a 3.5-inch installation bracket.

To find out how this affordable SSD compares to other budget SSDs in terms of performance, read the full review on Hardware.Info.