This has been going around for a few months now. In case you haven't heard already, certain SSD companies have been accused of swapping in cheaper components after getting some positive reviews from the different hardware sites around the web. This is naturally unsettling for the consumer, because they expect that the product they see in a review is the same as they one they pick up in a store. One of the companies caught up in this controversy is Kingston, so we reached out to them to get an official comment on the matter.
In this context, the particular product of interest is the Kingston V300 SSD, which our very own Eric Garay reviewed last year. He recommended the product and gave it an impressive 9.0/10 rating. However, the accusation is that the budget-minded V300 SSD went from having synchronous to asynchronous NAND flash under the hood and this had a negative impact on performance.
Kingston says that they source NAND from different manufacturers, but they ensured that "all builds of our V300 meet our published ATTO and IOmeter specifications." They have also published additional benchmarks to illustrate the minimum performance on this product range and they "believe that the best metric of all is your day-to-day use especially when it comes to booting up, shutting down, opening and closing programs and other common everyday tasks." And that's true. Benchmarks are benchmarks, but they're mostly synthetic. If you still get to experience some real world improvements, then the SSD is still doing its job.
Now, it is important to note that Kingston is not the only company being accused of this practice, but they were kind enough to provide us with this official response. Read their statement below and come to your own conclusion. Make sure you check out our video coverage from COMPUTEX Taipei where we visit with Kingston as well.
[hide-this-part morelink="Kingston Official Statement"]
Our strategy for the V300 has always been, and will continue to be, focused on using NAND from various manufacturers in an effort to ensure a good user experience at a great price. Internally, we focused on performance features such as quick boot, application opening and the industry standard ATTO and IOmeter benchmarks. As a result, all builds of our V300 meet our published ATTO and IOmeter specifications. We realize that we underestimated the importance of other benchmarks that the more technical segment of our customers use when testing the performance of their SSDs.
To ensure that customers have a complete understanding of what the minimum performance will be with the benchmarks in question, we have included additional benchmarks on our datasheet available here: http://www.kingston.com/datasheets/sv300s3_us.pdf. A brief that includes a wider range of benchmarks was also published in March. That is available here: http://media.kingston.com/support/downloads/V300_Benchmark_Brief_MKF_586.pdf
These benchmarks are among the most extensive information available for any entry-level SSD in today's market. In addition to benchmark utilities, a regular part of Kingston’s overall SSD testing is putting the drive through common everyday tasks to best replicate real-world use. These include word processing, Internet surfing, email, gaming and multimedia such as streaming music and video playback. With both benchmarks and real world applications, our testing focuses on providing an exceptional user experience. We believe that the best metric of all is your day-to-day use especially when it comes to booting up, shutting down, opening and closing programs and other common everyday tasks. Armed with these figures and the real-life benefits of our SSD over HDD technology coupled with our aggressive price points, we believe that the V300 will continue to be the most popular entry-level SSD in the marketplace.
For our customers, we are here to help and can always troubleshoot with you when and if one of our products is not working as expected. For further assistance, please call our tech support at 1-800-435-0640 (USA and Canada only) M - F 6am - 6pm PT.