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Kingston KC2500 1TB NVMe Review

Kingston's Right Hook

Damien Gula Posted: May 21, 2020 4:00 PM
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contender. The arena? Your storage. This NVMe drive comes out with a mean right hook, aimed at the top tier competition. With advertised read and write speeds to rival some of the most beloved drives on the marker, can it stand up to the challenge? This is our review of the KC2500 NMVe drive from Kingston Technology.

Specifications

  • MSRP: $79.30 (250GB), $145.60 (500GB), $253.50 (1TB)
  • Controller: SiliconMotion SMI 2262EN
  • Storage Memory: 96-layer 3D TLC NAND
  • Bus: PCIe Gen 3.0 x4
  • Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Sequential Read: up to 3,500 MB/s
  • Sequential Write: up to 2,900 MB/s
  • Power Consumption: 7W (average - write), .2W (average - sleep)
  • MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
  • Available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
  • Warranty: Limited 5-years

When it comes to getting the highest performing storage solution for your PC, there is nothing quite like the jump between an HDD and an NVMe drive. By utilizing PCIe lanes and flash memory, these drives can get you into the action fast by improving boot speeds and reducing level load times.

If you have ever researched NVMe drives, there are a lot of options on the market to choose from. In the midst of this pack, Kingston Techology has been no stranger to the storage and memory markets. These guys have been in the game since the later ‘80s. While their name has been more associated with the enterprise market, Kingston is also the parent company for the HyperX brand.

Under the hood, the KC2500 uses 96-layer 3D TLC NAND memory with the SiliconMotion SMI 2262EN controller. Working in tandem together, the KC2500 is advertised to reach high speed of 3,500 MB/s Sequential Read and 2,900 MB/s Sequential Write. While the advertised write speeds are slightly more modest than the competition, seeing the KC2500 at work is a far different animal. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Synthetic Benchmarks

For our first battery of tests, we ran a series of synthetic benchmarks to give us base-line performance numbers for the Kingston KC2500. To collect these, we ran AS SSD Benchmark, CrystalDiskMark64, and ATTO Disk Benchmark. Before we get into the data, here are the system specifications for our test bench:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
  • Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE (Closed loop cooler)
  • RAM: 32GB ZADAK Spark RGB DDR4-3200
  • Motherboard: ASUS Prime X570-PRO
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
  • Storage: 1TB WD_Black SN750, 1TB Kingston KC2500, 2 TB Seagate FireCuda
  • PSU: NZXT E850
  • Case: NZXT H510 Elite

Within the test results you will find the 1TB WD_Black SN750, 250GB WD Blue SN500, 250GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus, and 256GB Patriot Scorch NVMe drives referenced. We will also be showing numbers from one of the strongest SATA III SSD offerings, the SK hynix Gold S31, to show the performance delta between NMVe and SATA III. Much of our focused comparison will center around the WD_Black SN750. While it isn’t an exact match, it is the closest proxy to the KC2500 in both storage size and advertised speeds to the drives listed above.  

On to the data!

In ATTO Disk, the KC2500 tested at 3.14 GB/s (read) and 2.72 MB/s (write). It does fall a little bit behind where the top end of the advertised read/write speeds land, but that is not uncommon during these tests. If you aren’t familiar with how the ATTO Disk Benchmark collects its data, here is a quick run down: the test will queue up chunks of data, all varying in size. Then, it provides a breakdown on how the drive handles the reading and writing of these data packets onto the drive. 

Moving on, in AS SSD the KC2500 showed sequential speeds of 3024 MB/s (read) and 2591 MB/s (write). Comparatively, the WD_Black SN750 topped out at 2796 MB/s while reading, but matched at 2591 MB/s while writing. Both pulled slightly ahead of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus at 2683 MB/s (read) and 2244 MB/s (write), but this is not uncommon to see when comparing NVMe drives with smaller storage capacity.

The final piece of data for our synthetic tests will come from CrystalDiskMark. If you look at the charts, the Kingston KC2500 is holding its own amongst highest performing NVMe drives. But more specifically, it can go toe-to-toe with the WD_Black SN750 in performance. This is a pretty big deal for a PCIe 3.0 NMVe drive. 

Real World Performance

To give us a better picture of the KC2500 out in the wild, we ran a series of gaming tests to collect information on load times between scenes and into specific portions of a few games. We also recorded cold boot times to give a picture of how fast an NVMe drive will get to your login screen.

For the Kingston KC2500, we had a boot time of 23 seconds. In the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadow Bringers benchmark at maximum settings in 1440p, we saw a total scene loading time of 9.376 between. The five scenes that make up this test had an average load time of 1.875 seconds between scenes. Keeping it in the Final Fantasy family, the front end loading of the Final Fantasy XV benchmark took 24 seconds. We saw transitions in between scenes take under 3 second to load. Finally, loading from the director into Destiny 2’s Tangled Shore took 29 seconds.

Final Thoughts

Kingston has released a solid contender into the NMVe market with the KC2500. It can go toe-to-toe with some giants and hold its own when it comes to performance. Even though our tests showed it performing slightly below other major names in the market, it positions itself near the top as a viable option for your storage needs. 

However, it does have some interesting obstacles to deal with along the road. For starters, this is a PCIe 3.0 x4 NMVe drive. While Intel has not quite jumped onto the PCIe 4.0 train just yet, AMD is there and they are pulling in more user thanks to the accessibility of the Ryzen platform. This means that a growing segment of the PC market will likely overlook the KC2500 in favor of a faster (or more bleeding-edge) and, potentially, more affordable drive… which is its second obstacle. Looking across the market, the price point of the KC2500 to comparable drives is noticeably higher. 

That being said, the KC2500 performs at a high level and has built-in hardware encryption. That is nothing to scoff at in world where cyber security is a growing concern. The value proposition of this drive really comes down to what is the most important to you as the end user.  

At the end of the day, Kingston Technology has released an NVMe drive that can step into the ring and stand tall. While it may not hook an all around win, it just might be the right NVMe drive to suit your needs. The KC2500 delivers high speed performance and the security to match it. If you have the extra budget and you are upgrading from an older drive or building a system with data to protect, Kingston might just have you covered. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

7.0Good
Pros
  • Hardware-based encryption
  • Performance comparable to mainstream NVMe drive
Cons
  • Pricing may outweigh value, dependent on the consumer
  • Lacks PCIe 4.0 support


Pastor_Dame

Damien Gula

Born in the heyday of mullets and the El Camino to a tech-foward family, Damien joined the MMORPG.com team back in 2017 to review hardware and games as well as provide coverage for press preview events. He has participated in a number of MMOs over the years, including World of Warcraft, RIFT, Guild Wars 2, and the Destiny series. When he isn't writing for MMORPG.com, Damien is a pastor by trade who loves talking with anyone interested about life, God, and video games (in no particular order). He also co-hosts a podcast dedicated to these conversation with fellow MMORPG writer Matt Keith called Roll The Level.