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Solid state drives offer much better performance than traditional mechanical hard drives, so they are ideal for those who want the best possible performance from their system. Today we are going to look at two 60 GB SSDs, the Kingston SSDNow V+200 and the Zalman F-Series. Which one should you buy? Read on.
Those who want to enjoy the performance benefits at the lowest possible cost will usually combine a low capacity 60 GB SSD for speed and a mechanical hard drive for storage. We wouldn’t recommend using a 60 GB unit in a laptop or desktop without a secondary storage, as it would have very little capacity left after the operating system and programs are installed.
Before proceeding, we highly suggest that you read our “Anatomy of SSD Units” tutorial, which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs. Both of the SSDs featured in this review use MLC memory chips.
In the table below, we are comparing the Kingston SSDNow V+200 with the Zalman F-Series 60 GB.Both units use a SATA-600 interface and occupy the standard 2.5” form factor.
|Kingston||SSDNow V+200||SVP200S3/60G||60 GB||USD 90|
|Zalman||F-Series||SSD0060F1||60 GB||GBP 90 (about USD 140)|
We researched the prices on the day that we published this review and observed the following:
- Our sample of the Kingston SSDNow V+200 is the “Upgrade Bundle Kit” version. The standalone drive is also available for the same price at Newegg.com should you not require the upgrade accessories.
- The Zalman F-Series isn’t yet available for sale in the U.S. The price was taken from QuietPC.com and converted directly to USD.
In the table below, we provide a more in-depth technical comparison between the two drives. Most chip manufacturers don’t detail the specifics of their chips on their websites, so we are only linking to what we found.
|Kingston SSDNow V+200||Sandforce SF-2281||NA||Intel 29F64G08ACME3|
|Zalman F-Series||Sandforce SF-2281||NA||Intel 29F64G08ACME3|
[nextpage title=”A Closer Look”]
Kingston uses a solid metal casing for the SSDNow V+200, which is very durable and should provide a good level of protection for the PCB inside. It’s quite heavy compared to equivalent drives on the market, so it isn’t ideal for use in a laptop.
All eight of the 8 GB Intel 29F64G08ACME3 memory chips are located on the top side of the printed circuit board. These contain asynchronous NAND, which doesn’t deal as well with compressible data as the synchronous NAND used in more expensive drives like the Kingston HyperX series. The Sandforce SF-2281 controller is located on the underside of the PCB.
Zalman has constructed the drive casing of the F-Series from black anodized aluminum, which gives it a very attractive appearance.It’s also much lighter than the Kingston drive so is better suited for use in a laptop. It should also provide a good level of protection for the PCB inside.
The only significant item located on the top of the PCB is the Sandforce SF-2281 controller. We found the eight Intel 29F64G08ACME3 memory chips located on the underside of the PCB. As the model numbers of the memory chips are identical to those of the Kingston drive, we expect the performance differences between these drives to be dependent only on the firmware.
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below.The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the solid state drive being tested.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K
- Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6
- Memory: Two 2 GB Kingston HyperX Genesis (DDR3-2133, CL9, 1.5V, 9-9-9-27)
- Video Card: AMD Radeon HD 6950
- Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Video Monitor: Viewsonic VX2260WM
- Power Supply: Corsair HX850W
- CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2
- Boot Drive: Intel 520 Series 240 GB
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit using NTFS file system
- Intel INF Driver Version 126.96.36.1996
- AMD Driver Version: AMD Catalyst 12.3
We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% can’t be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”Compressible Data Test”]
As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using two different programs: CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD. We will be looking at the test results from each program int he order they appear in the list above.
It is important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port, which could cause performance limitations.
We set CrystalDiskMark to “All 0x00 Fill mode” to evaluate the performance of the SSD when dealing with compressible data.
On both the sequential read and write tests, the two drives exhibited a similar level of performance.
As you can see, the two drives once again exhibited a similar level of performance in both the random read and random write tests using 512 KB blocks.
On the random read test using 4 KB blocks, the Zalman F-Series exhibited 6% better performance than the Kingston SSDNow V+200. However, on the random write test using 4 KB blocks, the two drives exhibited a similar level of performance.
[nextpage title=”Incompressible Data Tests”]
For this test, we set CrystalDiskMark to the default mode, which uses incompressible data.
On the sequential read test, the Zalman F-Series outperformed the Kingston SSDNow V+200 by an impressive 120 percent. The Zalman drive also outperformed the Kingston drive in the sequential write test by a margin of 13 percent.
The Zalman F-Series achieved the best level of performance on the random read test using 512 KB blocks, beating the Kingston SSDNow V+200 by 108 percent. On the random write test using 512 KB blocks, the Zalman drive also came out on top, achieving 14% better performance than the Kingston SSDNow V+200.
As you can see, the Zalman F-Series also outperformed the Kingston SSDNow V+200 on the random read test using 4 KB blocks. However, on the random write test, the two drives achieved a similar level of performance.
[nextpage title=”Access Time”]
We then used AS SSD to test the access time of the two SSDs.
The Kingston SSDNow V+200 achieved the best level of performance on the read test, beating the Zalman F-Series by a margin of 206 percent. However, on the write test, the Zalman F-Series outperformed the Kingston SSDNow V+200 by a margin of 16 percent.
We can see from our tests that the Zalman F-Series offers a slightly better level of performance than the Kingston SSDNow V+200 in most cases.
Despite the two drives having almost identical hardware inside, we found the Zalman F-Series to perform better when dealing with incompressible data than the Kingston V+200. On all of the incompressible data tests in CrystalDiskMark, the Zalman F-Series showed significant performance advantages over the Kingston V+200. However, on the compressible data tests, the two drives exhibited a very similar level of performance.
We still have to take into account the price of the drives, though, as this is one of the most important factors for buyers to consider before purchasing an SSD. As we mentioned earlier in the review, the Zalman F-Series isn’t yet available in the U.S., but in the UK, it retails for GBP 90, which converts to about USD 140 at the time of writing this review.
Considering the vast expense of the Zalman F-Series, we would definitely recommend the Kingston SSDNow V+200 over the Zalman. The performance advantages aren’t nearly large enough to justify spending an extra USD 50. In fact, unless the Zalman F-Series is released into the market at a very similar price to the Kingston SSDNow V+200, the Kingston drive would be a better buy, because in terms of real world performance, the differences would be very small.
Kingston also includes the upgrade bundle for no extra cost, which helps to sweeten the deal. Zalman does include a CD key for some imaging software and a 3.5” drive adapter, but this isn’t quite as good a package as what Kingston offers. As as result of its reasonable price and good level of performance, we are giving the Kingston SSDNow V+200 our Silver Award.