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Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive

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Posted November 19, 2009 by Jake in Storage, HDs & SSDs

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by Jake
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SSD Technology

Let’s have a quick recap to briefly explain some of the SSD characteristics and benefits that differ from traditional mechanical hard drive counterparts, and how the Kingston SSD lineup affects your purchasing decisions.

First, it is important to note that SSDs are currently designed to meet connectivity standards of HDDs; they use the same SATA ports and power connectors, and may even fit the same drive bay racks and computer towers that we’re all accustomed to using. Many SSDs do, however, come in a smaller 2.5" form factor, same as notebook drives, which is a bit smaller than the traditional 3.5" size that most of us have. In short, SSDs can fit anywhere HDDs can, and in most cases the SSDs are even smaller. But most SSDs have mounting holes for adapters that can accommodate either a horizontal or vertical mounting position. Because the drive runs absolutely silent since there are no moving or mechanical parts, you can literally install the drive anywhere in your case with some double-sided tape or Velcro.  You won’t need to worry about any vibrations or even heat being produced, so you could even just tape it to the bottom of your case if you’re so inclined.

The other advantage of an SSD over a HDD is its durability; solid state drives are far more rugged, able to withstand considerable abuse, so you don’t really need to worry about dropping it. Lastly, SSDs have exceptionally fast response times which are almost instantaneous, while even the fastest hard disk drives on the market are downright glacial by comparison.

The internal structure of an SSD (which will void your warranty if you pull it apart, so think twice before doing it) you’ll see that SSDs contain NAND Flash chips that are used with a wear-leveling algorithm to ensure the erase and rewrite cycles are spread across all of the storage chips. Therefore, should you have the misfortune of having a sector become corrupted, your previous data won’t be lost; it simply means that data can’t be written over again there. Consequently, this means that there shouldn’t be degradation of data in a physical sense, and when the drive’s lifespan is reached then you should have all your data still fully intact before the drive finally just wears out.

There is one other area of SSDs that requires a special mention: performance degradation. After many reads and writes, SSD performance will degrade due to the way that cells in the flash memory are filled and erased. This is not a hardware issue in the sense that something is broke, it’s more of a "data allocation" issue. While Windows 7 supports TRIM, a feature that helps restore SSD performance, not all SSDs support TRIM. So we’re left with the "haves" and the "have nots" as far as SSDs go. Top-tier Indilinx-based SSDs (OCZ, SuperTalent) support TRIM, but interestingly Intel first-gen drives do not. However, second-gen Intel drives (of which this Kingston drive is identical) do support TRIM, but this Kingston drive does not yet at this time. The hardware supports TRIM but the Kingston firmware doesn’t, at least not yet.

Kingston is playing this one close to the chest, as they tend not to comment on specific future plans, but given their commitment to current technology and the fact that every other major manufacturer is working on TRIM support, you can bet there’s a good chance this SSD it will get TRIM support. Even though it’s a rebadged Intel drive, it has Kingston firmware, so you can’t flash it using Intel firmware. In the end, the bottom line here is that you’re taking a wee bit of a chance on the Kingston SSDNow V 40GB drive, but given the importance of TRIM and the fact this drive is only $130 ($110 after rebate), it’s really not much of a risk to be honest.

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