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Kingston KC3000 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD (2TB) Review: A New Breed of Speed

How fast do you need your SSD to be? Is there a point beyond which speed won’t matter, and should you really be chasing every last drop of performance? In a short time, we’ve jumped from spinning hard drives to SATA SSDs to the NVMe protocol, and each of these standards has reached a saturation point, beyond which any drive will be bottlenecked. Now, a relatively new breed of SSDs is doubling the potential speed of NVMe thanks to the PCIe 4.0 standard.

In stark contrast to its other entry-level offerings, Kingston’s new KC3000 SSD is aiming to deliver the absolute highest speeds possible for data transfers. If you regularly load huge game textures, or work with giant video files or 3D models, this might just be the right SSD for you. Of course, this kind of performance comes at a price.

Kingston KC3000 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD price in India

Kingston has only recently started selling the KC3000 SSD in India following its global launch last year, and it comes in four capacity options. Street prices do fluctuate, and these figures are accurate at the time of publishing. As explained below, performance varies between capacity options.

The lowest capacity you can get is 512GB, which tells you something about the KC3000’s target audience. This version is priced at Rs. 9,400 in India. The 1TB version will cost Rs. 15,200, while the 2TB version that I have for review is selling for Rs. 33,900 online. There’s also a flagship 4TB version, but it’s priced at a rather unreasonable Rs. 86,800 which is well over double the money. 4TB NVMe SSDs in the M.2 form factor are rare, and it’s unlikely that prices will go down for such a niche offering anytime soon.

This SSD will compete with the likes of the WD Black SN850, Seagate Firecuda 530, and Samsung SSD 980 Pro. Prices are competitive by that standard, but still around twice as much as what you’d pay for a mainstream PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD such as the WD Blue SN570, which I also reviewed recently.

Kingston KC3000 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD specifications and features

The main appeal of a PCIe 4.0 SSD is speed, and Kingston promises sequential reads and writes of 7000MBps – about twice as fast as today’s best performing PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs. However, these speeds apply only to the 2TB and 4TB variants; the rated sequential read speed remains constant but sequential write targets drop to 6000MBps for the 1TB version and just 3900MBps for the 512GB version. The M.2 slot standard is unchanged gen-on-gen so you can use this SSD with older motherboards; it will simply function at the lower PCIe standard’s performance level.

Kingston has chosen the fairly new Phison PS5018-E18 controller and Micron’s 176-layer TLC NAND flash for the KC3000. High-end SSDs have their own DRAM for caching, and that capacity ranges from 512MB on the 512GB variant to 4GB on the 4TB variant. Kingston also lists SLC caching on the spec sheet. This means that only one bit is written to each cell of the TLC NAND rather than the usual three bits per cell, to speed up operations when possible, after which the data is consolidated. There’s no mention of hardware encryption.

Endurance is rated between 400TBW (Terabytes written) for the 512GB version and 3.2PBW (Petabytes written) at 4TB, which scales proportionately to capacity. That works out to between 219GB and 876GB of writes per day for these capacities during the five-year warranty period.

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