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Friday, 11 November 2016

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Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB SSD Review


Kingston is brand that needs no introduction when it comes to storage devices or RAM modules. Known for its high price to performance ratio the brand specializes in budget oriented devices. One such was the Kingston UV300 which they launched last year aimed specifically at emerging markets like India and Mexico which also happens to house a large chunk of budget users. The SSD was great with the only drawback of limited availability especially in India and hence it didn't reach to all the potential customers.
Solving this issue Kingston recently launched their SSDNow UV400 a new & improved successor to the UV300 and hence their new budget SSD for the markets! We are thankful that Kingston India was generous enough to send us a sample of the same and today we bring you the review of the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB SSD

The UV400 is a SATA 6Gb/s drive coming in with storage capacities ranging from 120GB to 960GB. Form factor is a standard 2.5" drive with 7mm thickness with sequential speeds rated for up to 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write.
The SSD comes with a 3-year warranty that Kingston limits by the amount of data you write to the drive. The total bytes written (TBW) rating is a guideline of how much data you can write and still be within the warranty, and it starts at 50TB for the 120GB model and ends at 200TB for the 480GB we're testing. Our 480GB SSD comes with a price tag of $116 or Rs 9500 in India.

Packing and Closer Look


Kingston brings the UV400 in a clear blister pack with the capacity and 3 Years Warranty support clearly listed and boldly printed for the buyers to know.

Looking at the SSD itself we see that its a clean silver colored device with a crisp and embossed Kingston branding. The drive is 7mm thick and weighs in at ~57g

The back is clean with a sticker enlisting the serial number, model number, capacity and the various quality check logos.

A thing worth mentioning is that the UV400 is made out of a textured aluminum casing with slight roughness to it. Probably this is the best looking and rather most elegant SSD we've come across so far. Its simple & sophisticated all over.

Open the case, it'll void the warranty, to see the full size PCB housing 16 NAND chips, a controller and a DRAM chip. Kingston has used 15nm TLC NAND chips from Toshiba which are 32GB each in capacity while the controller is a four channel Marvell 88SS1074 working along with a 512MB DDR3 cache by Nanya working at 1600Mhz.

Test Setup and Benchmarks 

We used our usual testbench to benchmark the Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB SATA SSD.

CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K OC at 4.5Ghz on all six cores
Motherboard: Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5P
RAM: Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB DDR4 (4x4) 3000Mhz Memory Kit
Cooler: Corsair H100i GTX
Graphics Card: Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 4GB OC
Storage: Kingston UV400 480GB
Power Supply: Corsair AX860i 860W 80+ Platinum
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

The drive was easy to fit in and installed without a problem. Following our usual SSD testing methods we formatted the drive and put it as a secondary drive with our main SSD loaded with Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit. The entire test suite was run twice to obtain the best possible reading, each session performed after a fresh system restart. Out of the 480GB promised only 447GB on this drive is usable so around 6.8% of the total space is reserved for memory buffer.

TRIM Check

Since this is a very new SSD for us so it called for some new testing suits aswell, one such tool is TrimCheck which verifies if TRIM function on the drive is working perfectly or not.

The test shows that TRIM is perfectly working on the Intel SSD. 

ATTO Disk

ATTO Disk Benchmark measures transfer rates across specific lengths for any storage system. ATTO uses RAW data, I set my transfer size from 0.5 to 8192kb. This is generally the most reliable benchmarks for today's SSDs.

As we can see the drive is hitting the exact advertised speed over here with 559MB/s read and 526MB/s write speed!

CrystalDiskMark 5.0.2

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that analyses different types of hard drive. Giving sequential benchmark write and read statistics in MB/s. A simple program that is very useful.

The read/write speed again can be seen in almost coherence with the specifications.

Anvil Storage Utility

The next test is Anvil Storage Utilities, which is a really great piece of software. The SSD benchmark gives you scores for both read and write as well as a combined score.

Anvil also includes Threaded IO tests, which test IOPS. We ran both the random read and random write tests. The results are below.



AS SSD

The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively.


From the images its clear that the SSD not only hits great speeds in the benchmark but also the copy benchmark shows respectable speeds which is something most consumers will be interested in.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition v5.60

AIDA64 is one of the best tools out there to check the system stability, error diagnostics and even to validate overclocking.
It has a set of suites for almost every hardware out there including SSD/HDD. So we started of with AIDA64 disk suites.



As we can see that the drive is hitting the advertised speeds and is quite consistent in read and write activities.

HD Tune Pro

HD Tune Pro is one of the most popular hard drive software suites available. It has many different benchmarks and tests built into it. Our first test is the read benchmark, which tests the average read speed and access time of the drive.
It was necessary to use it even after so many tests just to give all of you a graph of how constant the speed is on this SSD as many SSDs tend to fluctuate on the read/write speed which ultimately gives you unstable performance.

At 398.9Mb/s average read speed and a very consistent graph the drive is definitely performing well.

PCMark Vantage

We used the PCMark Vantage HDD test which is one of the best range of test suits out there for measuring the performance of any HDD/SSD. Tests are conducted by simulating real life tasks such as Windows Start up, Gaming etc.

With 77690 as the total score and minimum speed at 257.60MB/s in the 'application loading' test the drive comes up with some very impressive stats. This is important since these are emulation of real life usage!

PCMark 8 Professional Edition

PCMark 8 Storage Test unlike PCMark Vantage scores and records the SSD performance through a set of application execution and related tasks such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and even through games like Battlefield 3.

The test ran for over an hour and we were presented with impressive scores of 4886 and all applications were executed in respectable time frames.

My Verdict

Kingston yet again brought in an impressive SSD in the budget segment and this time its in the form of the UV400 480GB SSD. The performance it put forth has been the best we've come across any SSD we've tested so far from the budget segment.
But but but the speed does slow down once you exceed the cache capacity and it starts behaving.like a SLC based drive. Also with no support for DevSLP its just not meant for a mobile device like a laptop as it'll drain out a lot of your battery juice! The packing is bare-bone and lacks some basic essentials like a Z-height bracket which one expects to get right out of the box. On the pricing side, which also happens to be the brightest side, the UV400 is unmatched atleast in the Indian market & the better performing Samsung 850 Evo is significantly higher on the price tag which for an average user matters a lot.
So if you are a budget conscious user and upgrading from a conventional mechanical drive is your prime motive specifically to swiftly load your OS, games or even doing mild graphic editing tasks the Kingston UV400 might be the right pick for you.
I give a 7/10 and it earns our silver award.

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