With SSD’s growing exponentially over the past few years, Kingston released the Kingston KC3000 near the end of 2021 as part of their move to introduce a new generation of super fast SSD’s built to be used on any motherboard that can support PCIe Gen 4.0. These SSD’s are capable to running at extremely fast speeds compared to previous Gen3.0 models.
But first – what is Gen 4.0?
PCIe Gen4.0 NVMe drives are the latest generation in SSD storage, capable of connecting to your motherboard’s PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express). This means that data transfers are effectively much faster compared to the usual SATA interface. Theoretically, it is capable of up to six times the usual speed of SATA drives.
This new PCIe 4.0 specification should be able to increase data transfer rates to 16 GT/s (2GB/s per lane) compared to the previous generation 8GT/s (PCIe 3.0). This effectively allows better I/O output, and allows lower power consumption and improved performance. It’s really, realllyyyyy fast.
However, to run on its full potential, PCIe 4.0 SSD’s should also be installed on Gen 4.0-compatible chipsets. For AMD, it’s currently compatible on Ryzen 5000/3000 processors and Ryzen Threadripper 3000-series CPU’s. For Intel platforms, PCIe 4.0 support is capable on 11th Gen Rocket Lake processors and 12th Gen Alder Lake processors, as long as the motherboard is also compatible with them.
On the other hand, PCIe 4.0 SSD’s will still be compatible with older boards with Gen 3.0 that do have the M.2 socket on them, but they will be limited by the slower interface of Gen 3.0.
Kingston KC3000: Turbocharged Gen 4.0 SSD
As one of the fastest SSD’s we’ve tested so far, Kingston’s KC3000 has quite a compelling formula for its speed due to its controller and NAND combination. Using the Phison PS5018-E18 PCIe 4.0×4 NVMe controller and Micron’s 176L TLC NAND (1,600 MTps), the Kingston KC3000 delivers top quality speed and great reliability.
It’s available in capacities up to a whopping 4TB, with the highest endurance rating on its 4TB variant (3,200 TB TBW) as well. Curiously, Kingston provided the KC3000 with a low-profile graphene heat spreader rather than those bulky metallic heatsinks that other brands opted for at this price segment.
To test the full potential of the Kingston KC3000 SSD 1TB, we used an AMD Ryzen 5950x CPU and an Aorus Master X570 board, which has three Gen 4.0 M.2 slots. All settings are on stock, with no overclocking on the CPU.
We mostly used synthetic benchmarks for testing this SSD (as well as other SSD’s we’ve done) because 1) file sizes can be very variable and might not give an accurate result and 2) other source/target storage devices during file transfers can also affect the overall transfer performances.
First, we tested the Kingston KC3000 using CrystalDiskMark 8.0.4, which is the usual test that most people use for benchmarking SSD’s.
For sequential read/writes, this typically means the capability of the storage drive to transfer larger files or contiguous blocks of data. This is also usually the measurement of manufacturers when describing the “best case scenario”, which is why it’s the speed advertised on the products. In this case, the Kingston KC3000 definitely performed similarly to its rated 7,000 MB/s advertised, with R/W speeds tested at 7,362 MB/s and 6,054 MB/s. (For all storage devices, write speeds are slower than read speeds, so this is normal.)
SEQ1M Q8T1 means that the SSD performed 8 1MB tasks in 1 thread, but since your device can usually use just one process at a time, the other tasks are in a queue. Essentially, while this is demanding, generally speaking most devices can process these tasks quite quickly even while on queue. Q1T1 test measures how fast the storage device using 1 1MB process/task per thread. Higher Q8T1 scores generally mean that the storage device can process more tasks within 1 second, since it processes more tasks per thread per second.
Both scores for the KC3000 are much higher of our Kingston A2000 in our previous benchmarking comparison for Gen 3 SSD’s, in which it scored 1,630 write on Q8T1 and 2,277 write on Q1T1. The Kingston KC3000 scored more than triple those scores for Q8T1 and double for Q1T1. This generally means that this SSD is much more efficient in handling multiple tasks on queue, with single tasks still performing double than the previous generation.
For random read/writes, RND4K measures the capability of the storage drive to transfer multiple small files, which is the most typical usage of storage drives for day to day to tasks. This is also usually slower than sequential R/W, because the blocks of data are written in different areas within the NAND flash module. Nevertheless, the Kingston KC3000 still performed adequately in this part of the test, with 706/357 for R/W results.
Similar to the CrystalDiskMark scores, the Anvil benchmarks showed fast performance from the Kingston KC3000 with an overall score of 23,389. The test results showed 4MB file sizes rather than CrystalDiskMark’s 1MB blocks, thus the results are not the same. However, it does show that with bigger blocks, the Kingston KC3000 still outperformed previous-generation SSD’s by a mile, scoring more than double the overall score of the Kingston A2000 at 10,792.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 4.01
ATTO storage benchmarks are a little bit more comprehensive than the previous tools, showcasing test results using multiple sizes of data blocks with a total file size of 256MB. On the average, even on 64MB, the Kingston KC3000 churned out 6.88GB/s write and 5.6 GB/s, which is a little below the 7,000 MB/s rated speed.
AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark results are also quite similar to the other tools, but surprisingly showed a lower score for the R/W speeds at 6,030 MB/s and 5,746 MB/s. Nonetheless, overall score of 10364 still fares higher than Kingston’s A2000 SSD which was 3382.
With the SSD market growing more competitive, and most brands aiming for faster speeds with upgraded controllers, PCIe Gen 4.0 might just be beginning to show up in stores. However, the Kingston KC3000 definitely takes up the top spot among any other SSD we’ve tested by far. It showed consistent speeds based on our tests, same as what they advertised (7,000/6,000Mbps R/W for 1TB model). While the pricing is much higher than existing Gen 3.0 SSD’s, it’s a great solution for end users who already are on the latest PC platforms and need that kind of speed for rigorous computing tasks.
The decision of Kingston to opt for a thinner graphene plate rather than a thick metal heatsink might prove to be an economically wise choice. A lot of motherboards at the high-end segment already include SSD heatsinks as part of their thermal packages. This move of Kingston might have also contributed to the slightly cheaper price compared to other PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD models. However, it might not be the same case for the PS5, which recommends a separate heatsink, (but we didn’t test it on a PS5 so can’t really conclude anything on its thermal performance for it.) Nonetheless, heatsinks can be purchased separately, so it should not be a major issue.
The Kingston KC3000 is a great product of Kingston for the high-end segment and proves to be one of the best possible PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD anyone can now buy.
Full Specifications and Prices
|Pricing||Php 8,500 to|
|Php 10,500 to|
|Php 23,500 to|
|Capacity (User / Raw)||512GB / 512GB||1024GB / 1024GB||2048GB / 2048GB||4096GB / 4096GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4||PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4||PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4||PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4|
|Controller||Phison PS5018-E18||Phison PS5018-E18||Phison PS5018-E18||Phison PS5018-E18|
|Memory||Micron 176L TLC||Micron 176L TLC||Micron 176L TLC||Micron 176L TLC|
|Sequential Read||7,000 MBps||7,000 MBps||7,000 MBps||7,000 MBps|
|Sequential Write||3,900 MBps||6,000 MBps||7,000 MBps||7,000 MBps|
|Random Read||450,000 IOPS||900,000 IOPS||1,000,000 IOPS||1,000,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||900,000 IOPS||1,000,000 IOPS||1,000,000 IOPS||1,000,000 IOPS|
|Endurance (TBW)||400 TB||800 TB||1,600 TB||3,200 TB|