Kingston has a long history in the flash memory and storage markets. When it comes to SSDs, we’ve seen quite a few entry-level models recently, and these tend to be very popular thanks to the good prices. However, if you want to take a step further, there’s the recently released Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD, aimed at the high-performance enthusiast market. It promises safety as well as speed, but it goes beyond the sleek designs and attention-grabbing heat dispersers that its competitors offer. With attractive retail prices, it ranks higher than the more affordable Kingston A2000 series. Could this be the perfect SSD for a new build or a worthwhile upgrade for your PC? Read on to find out.
Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD features and specifications
NVMe SSDs in the M.2 form factor are very common today, and most PC motherboards shipped in recent years will have at least one M.2 slot. The main advantages, of course, are speed, since it is connected directly to the system’s PCIe bus, and also the fact that no separate power and data cables are necessary.
Kingston hasn’t given much thought to the design, although M.2 SSDs are generally hidden – we see a simple poster with manufacturer information and a bunch of regulatory logos, while other companies like WD and Samsung are now popping up some of the design from aesthetic here. There is also no heat splitter, which is not a big deal since many motherboards have their own motherboards.
The KC2500 has components welded to the sides of the unit, which means it’s a bit thicker than usual. This shouldn’t be a problem for most desktop computers, but it is worth noting if you plan on upgrading a laptop. Ultra-thin models may only be designed for one-sided M.2 units.
You can choose between 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB models. The sequential read speed is the same, rated at 3,500MB / s per four, but the sequential write speed is from 1,200MB / s to 2,900MB / s. Today I am reviewing a 500GB drive, which has a 2,500MBps sequential write capacity.
Resistance is proportional to capacity, starting at 150 terabytes (terabytes written) at the bottom end and works up to 1.2 mbw at the top. The MTBF (average time between failures) is claimed to be 2,000,000 hours. Five years warranty.
Kingston reveals specifications in more detail than usual for most other companies. I used the Silicon Motion SMI2262EN controller and 96 layer TLC flash memory, which is pretty much the standard these days. The KC2500 is a PCIe Gen3 SSD, so again, there’s nothing new here. It gets 256-bit AES standard encryption, plus compliance with the Trusted Computing Group OPAL 2.0 standard for self-encrypting drives. This can be useful if you deploy multiple computers in a corporate environment and want interoperability between security software vendors.
The Kingston KC2500 package is a very simple cardboard banner, as you would expect with some inexpensive accessories; There is no box or even bubble plastic packaging. This means the unit itself may not be well protected during shipping, unless the seller wraps it well. There is a small coupon with a code for Acronis True Image HD copy that allows you to clone old disk to SSD for easy on-site upgrade. Interestingly, the presence of Kingston’s SSD Manager is not mentioned anywhere in the package or on this product’s webpage. By finding and downloading it yourself, you will be able to check the health and condition of the drive, update its firmware, and wipe its contents safely.
Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD performance
Installation is as simple as placing the M.2 drive in its slot and tightening a screw. You may need to unplug other components or deal with an integrated heat sink if your motherboard has one. It would also be a good idea to pass some airflow through the M.2 vents.
Tried Kingston KC2500 CPU and AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Wifi motherboard, 2 x 8GB G.skill DDR4 RAM, 1TB Samsung SSD 860 Evo boot drive, Sapphire Nitro + Radeon RX graphics card 590 and Corsair RM650 power supply. Windows 10 has been updated and the latest system drivers have been installed. The formatted capacity of my 500 GB review unit is reported as 465.76 GB.
As of CrystalDiskMark 6, serial read and write speeds were measured at 3,517.2 MB / s and 2,568.7 MB / s respectively, which are by a small margin higher than Kingston claims. The random reads and writes at a depth of 8 queues were also a pleasant surprise, reaching 1252.3 Mbps and 1382 Mbps respectively. These are very good results in the prevailing NVMe SSD benchmarks. Next, the Anvil storage standard scored 6,268.51 for reads and 7,696.09 for write, for a total of 13,964.60.
The Kingston KC2500 is the successor to the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro with a slightly smaller 512GB capacity, and it should be noted that Adata has equipped this unit with a simple heat spreader, which may have some effect. The two models use the same type of 3D TLC flash, feature the exact same driver, and have comparable tolerance ratings, which together lead to an interesting comparison. At the moment, the price of the SX8200 Pro is much lower.