It’s hard to believe that over a period of a year and a half the price of solid state drives (SSD) went from being an expensive accessory meant for Ultrabooks to a relatively affordable storage option. Previously the idea of having a SSD was more of a luxury thanks to noticeably limited storage sizes (many models averaged between 40GB, 64GB, or 80GB of theoretical space) and inconsistent efficiency across the board.
However, things have quickly changed for the better as Kingston’s SSDNow V300 Series internal drive proves, with value and recent enthusiast-grade performance there’s finally a SSD for the people.
Depending on your needs the 2.5″ 19nm NAND-flash SSDNow models comes in three capacity flavors (60GB, 120GB, 240GB) and three configurations ranging from a standalone unit (SV300S37A) or upgrade bundles for either desktop (SV300S3D7A) or laptop (SV300S3N7A) solutions. These packages include fitting components and transfer software for your existing computer. For your consideration, our review unit was the 120GB SSD Upgrade Kit for Notebooks.
To keep things interesting our transplant subject was an aging Sony VAIO SZ Series business notebook (VGN-SZ430N) with 4GB of DDR2 memory, sporting an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 processor. When new it was super expensive and a fully optioned ultraportable that serves as my current workstation, and while it’s been capable enough there’s no question that it’s pretty ancient by any standard. A Windows 8 upgrade last year helped somewhat, but the meager hard drive (the original) needed changing badly.
Instead of formatting we chose to upgrade route and beyond the annoyance of opening up a laptop the process is simple; just remove your old HDD and place it the external enclosure that came with the kit, install the SSD and run the CD software. When all is said and done the file migration took around 20 minutes to complete and worked without a hitch.
For any modern computer most solid state drives will be a marked improvement over any traditional hard drive but our situation was more unique as we intended to revive a dated laptop. To test we used the SiSoft Sandra Software to benchmark a old internal 160GB Seagate HDD (ST9160821AS) in comparison to the 120GB Kingston SSDNow with absolute speed justifying the minor downsize in storage capacity. For those who enjoy specification numbers the random read (32.80MB/s vs. 441MB/s) and access times (16.3ms vs. 0.12ms) were impressive, with write speeds being equally staggering (9.5MB/s vs. 163MB/s).
Despite not being the at top of the scale (OCZ and Plextor SSDs take those honors) these are great figures not only for dedicated users who don’t want to break the bank, but just as great for everybody who appreciates a quieter and efficient system overall. During our test the results were a lot more dynamic and we noticed a huge increase in startup and general performance.
Unless you’re in the minority of being a hardcore power user Kingston’s SSDNow V300 Series is a choice SSD drive solution that the average consumer can attain at a reasonable dollar-to-gigabyte value and still own a reliable and now-proven piece of technology. This is especially relevant for those intending on breathing new life into a last-generation AMD or Intel Core 2 Duo machine whose drive is giving up the fight. The included software makes OS migration – especially for Windows 8 – incredibly simple and painless. The V300 may not boast the best benchmarking results out there, but for most users the added speed and performance will be immediately noticeable and a significant improvement over previous spinning disk drives. It should go without saying that I wholeheartedly recommend this drive as the best bang for the conservative buck.