KingFast F8 Plus C-Drive 240GB KF2510MCJ09 2.5" SATA 3 MLC SSD Review @ ModSynergy.com
The Solid State Drive (SSD) has seen leaps and bounds over the years of advancement in drive controller and memory technology and it seems to have found its footing in the tech marketplace for the common consumer seeking to speed up their computer system like never before. The acceptance is shown through increasingly rising sales and the fact that main conventional spinning hard disk manufacturers are now integrating SSD technology as part of their future.
The SSD has had staying power through 2013 and is now looking forward with even more in 2014 with new SSD products, interfaces, types and variations of SSD than ever before. Their capacity keeps increasing and their performance keeps getting faster. Oh yes, their prices also continue to decrease, helping the casual customer be able to afford one. More needs to be done in order to get the word out about SSDs to the everyday Joe, as some don't know what they are, but hopefully that will continue to improve with time.
A good chunk of SSDs on the market utilize LSI SandForce drive controllers, they are usually the norm. SSD controllers are essentially the brains of an SSD, it's what is in control of all functions. However, we've seen other SSD controllers before ranging from those of Phison, Silicon Motion, Indilinx, Marvell, and JMicron for different budget/performance reasons. Usually the Marvell, JMicron and in previous years Indilinx controllers, were used when a SandForce controller were not used. Before it could be said that SandForce controllers were ahead of the pack. However, that is now changing more than ever as there are several high performance Marvell and JMicron SSD variants out there, like were about to see today.
Another reason why SSD manufactures are choosing to utilize a controller from Marvell or JMicron is because they are able to modify the firmware as opposed to SandForce controllers where one 'stock' firmware is used for any particular brand SSD that uses a SandForce controller. There's an advantage to having flexibility and being able to conduct modifications of firmware in-house, it'll separate your SSD from another brand's. That's just one of the reasons how controller A is different from controller B, and so forth. Another example, in my past reviews I've noticed that SandForce controllers perform better with compressed data, and tend to struggle more with incompressible data. Certain SSD controllers perform better at different things, each has advantages and disadvantages, that's why when tested in a review, you could see those differences.
Today I get to try out one of these new JMicron based SSD controller offerings from New Shenzhen Kingfast Storage Technology Co., Ltd. This SSD is marketed in the company's 'C-Drive' product lineup meant for Consumers, the F8 Plus Series. My last KingFast SSD review was on their E-Drive, meant for Enterprise use.
Please note that KingFast has two different F8 models, the higher end solution of F8 Plus (as we are reviewing today), and a lower end solution simply called F8 Series. Both come in either 9mm (KF2510MCJ09) or 7mm (KF2710MCJ09) enclosure depths with the numbering different for each.
This new KingFast SSD is called the C-Drive KF2510MCJ09. This one comes with MLC flash NAND memory, with the 240GB model being reviewed today, sporting a JMicron JMF667H 6.0Gbps SATA 3 interface SSD controller.
About New Shenzhen Kingfast Storage Technology Co., Ltd.
New Shenzhen Kingfast Storage Technology Co., Ltd. is a Chinese company based in Shenzhen, China founded in 2008 by experts in the field of digital data storage technology. They are one of the leading professional manufacturers of the solid state drive in China today and do everything in-house from the beginning of research and development to full-fledge production and products pass international certification such as FCC, CE, ROHS to ensure product quality. It doesn't hurt that they also work with first-tier companies around the world.
KingFast is now part of the RunCore family. RunCore if you don’t know, is the largest SSD manufacture in China, found in 1999, and has now included KingFast is part of their family. Here is a quote from the KingFast website...
KingFast, is a new sub-brand of RunCore SSD aimed at a growing, Ordinary Consumers seeking for extreme performance gears at affordable prices for mainstream PC market and Industrial market. As all know,RunCore is one of the leading and Professional Manufacturer of High-Tech Solid State Storage Products(SSD, SSD Array, PCIe Card, Data security SSD ,etc) in the world for High-end Military Market since 2006. KingFast will be a perfect complement to RunCore portfolio Hot Consumer SSD like 2.5 SATAIII SSD, m-SATA SSD,Ultra-Cache SSD, E-Drive,CF Card,USB3.0 Pen Drive and other storage devices that our loyal fans are intensely fascinated about.
The KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 SATA3 MLC SSD is a consumer grade SSD capable of read and write speeds of 516MB/s and 450MB/s (sequential). It uses Multi-Level Cell (MLC) Synchronous NAND flash memory from a quality vendor. KingFast SSDs are a high performance and high reliability storage device based on quality NAND Flash technology that is designed to solve the bottlenecks imposed by traditional hard disk drives. The main application for the KF2510MCJ09 are for consumer applications including netbooks, desktops, notebooks, HTPC systems.
The KF2510MCJ09 SSD comes with MLC NAND flash that offers maximum sequential read/write speeds of 516 / 450 MB/s, sequential read/write IOPS of 74212 / 68870, SMART support, TRIM, ECC, dynamic wear leveling, bad block management technology, and even online firmware upgrade ability through the JMicron JMF667H SSD controller. JMicron JMF667H SSD controllers utilize cache memory with support for up to 4GB of cache memory.
KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 Product Specifications
The KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 is meant for Consumer level applications. It contains fast MLC Synchronous NAND from a quality vendor, which has longevity and performance while being driven by the potent JMicron JMF667H 6Gbps SATA 3 SSD controller.
The KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 is available in three capacities, 60GB/120GB/240GB. It is capable of delivering up to a rated sequential read speed of 516MB/s and up to 450MB/s sequential write speed performance. In terms of rated Random IOPS performance, KingFast rates the 240GB KF2510MCJ09 as capable of a maximum sequential IOPS read of 74,212 IOPS and 68870 write IOPS.
The KF2510MCJ09 is typical in size, the usual 2.5” that almost all SSD’s come in (100x70x9.5mm). A separate 7mm height variant can be used inside Ultrabooks, that height is now becoming the standard.
'JMicron Technology Corporation is a professional fabless IC company. JMicron Technology Corporation provide the ultimate in pioneering IC technology — dedicated to the high speed and serial interface technology enabling next-generation interface and storage products. Our vision is to become a leading company of high speed IC solution.
About JMicron JMF667H SSD Controller
JMF667H ARM Base (3rd Gen.) SATA3 SSD Controller (4 Channels with DRAM)
JMF667H is a single chip, supports external DDR3 DRAM, SATA III to NAND flash interface. It is native design to provide higher bandwidth for flash memory access.
JMF667H can support the maximum read and write speed to drive the limit of flash memory. JMF667H has the best supporting to the latest NAND flash memory, including Toshiba 32nm/24nm HBL/ABL, 19nm Flash, Intel/Micron 20 nm and 25 nm. It also provides the embedded hardware error correction code (ECC), wear leveling, and bad block management technology in this chip. In order to resolve compatibility issue, JMF667H provides the on line firmware upgrade ability.
JMF667H provides embedded processor, internal masked ROM, data SRAM, SATA link/transport layer, SATA PHY. Data swap between different interfaces can be done very efficiency by DMA without CPU involvement. Based on the efficient architecture, the JMF667H can provide the best performance.
KingFast seems to have chosen a new packaging design philosophy for 2014. We'll see if this becomes the trend. Earlier SSDs we've looked at from KingFast came in an outer paper shell and foam insert. Their cache SSDs started to use plastic, and now it seems this is the path they are taking going forward as the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 too comes in a simple plastic shell which holds the SSD secure. A tab at the very top makes the product easy to display on store shelves.
A single paper insert acts as the design for the package. New bright block icons display the KingFast logo, Consumer class SSD, 3 Years Warranty, C-Drive SSD designation, 10X Faster than HDD icon, and some features at the bottom which point out that the SSD promotes top seed, low energy consumption, is reliable, stable, and no noise.
The back of the plastic shell just displays the warranty card for the SSD with its declaration, duration, scope, and technical support information.
I like this new color scheme design for the KF2510MCJ09. It's just simple and pleasing to the eye. You simply have block icons, symbols, cheerful colors of white, blue, green, it just looks modern now as opposed to the past.
Though all is not well with the packaging. I'm still dumbfounded that KingFast continues to forget to put technical specifications anywhere on the package or even on the SSD itself. I just do not understand how a company cannot at least put basic performance specifications on their product, it simply cannot be understood. Please KingFast, do yourself a favor and put the performance numbers on your package or a sticker on the SSD. How can you walk into a store and have an idea of what kind of performance this SSD can do? There's no possible way a person who sees this in a store will purchase the SSD based on the lack of information they see, unless they have already researched it on the Internet.
I'm not sure if this will be the trend going forward, but there's no more bundle, at least with the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09. Previous SSDs from KingFast had an excellent bundle (increases value) which included a beefy 2.5" to 3.5" drive adapter caddy, SATA cable, mounting screws, however, nothing is included with the KF2510MCJ09. You just get the drive in the package, nothing else. It'll be interesting to see if this remains the case in future KingFast products.
The 240GB KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 SSD comes in a conventional enclosure as you see with any other SSD on the market. Nothing really makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd aside from the rounded edges, and brushed black aluminum exterior that helps it glisten. The eye-catching bit is the sticker on top, that bright green jumps out for sure against the black brushed aluminum.
Again, I wished the sticker would have provided some technical performance related information on it. It just has the brand new, size, capacity, and some certification symbols on it. A sticker that displays technical performance information on it such as the one that came on the CoreRise SSDs would be great to mimic.
The bottom of the C-Drive maintains the four screw holes that you will use with your own 2.5" to 3.5" metal bracket, if you desire. Four additional screws are also at the sides with a manufacturing sticker covering one of them to prevent the SSD from being opened.
Tearing it down -- I mean opening it up :)
Please note that by opening the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09, you forfeit the 3-year warranty that comes along with the drive. Luckily I will take that burden for you to see the components that make up the KF2510MCJ09.
Have a look at the internals of the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 solid state drive. The first few things that jump out is that the PCB is a half-height variant. Second thing that jumps is the obviously cool looking blue color PCB that salutes you, no bland and typical green PCB...not that it makes any difference, but it just looks better! It's funny how the interior is classier than the outer shell because of the blue color. Maybe KingFast should have painted the outside exterior blue!
You can read the words JM667H-18-TS-V1.0on the bottom center of the PCB that reveals the internal reference number and JMicron 667H SSD controller that accompanies this SSD.
You can tell it's finished on a professional SMD machine since all the solder contacts are completed flawlessly with no goops or mess. There seems to be no mistakes on this board. There are no re-works on the board, the last thing you want to see on a PCB, nicely executed.
The layout of the board is compact and evenly spaced, with the JMicron SSD controller positioned very close to the gold plated SATA contact pins to ensure the least amount of latencies and fastest operational speeds. The NANYA memory chip sits to the left and acts as cache memory, this NANYA NT5CB128M16HP-DI is 2GB of DDR3-1600 SDRAM. It's of the 96-Ball WBGA type measuring 0.8mm x 0.8mm and operates at a memory timing of 11-11-11 (CL-TRCD-TRP). Remember that the JMicron supports up to 4GB of cache memory.
The JMicron JMF667H on paper is just as good as any SSD controller out there today. The JMF667H is JMicron's 3rd Generation ARM based native SATA 3 controller with 4 Channels and DRAM support. This processor is used to support features such the 6Gbps SATA 3 interface, with ATA-8 support, TRIM, BCH ECC, wear leveling, bad block management, online firmware upgradeability, and dynamic power management.
On this KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 there are a total of 8 individual TOSHIBA TH58TEG8D2HTA20 chips that are each 32GB in capacity, making a total of 256GB, but only 240GB is accessible as the rest is reserved for firmware functions/operations, provisions, such as for wear leveling and bad block management operations. These chips are MLC NAND chips with an 8K page size and built on the 24nm process. These are likely Synchronous chips though I'm not 100% percent.
Reliability is a big part of KingFast's focus, therefore they chose high quality TOSHIBA flash memory, not some unknown brand. TOSHIBA is top-tier when it comes to memory, a leader in the industry. TOSHIBA are the ones that invented NAND flash technology back in 1987. Also possible with the JMicron JMF667H SSD controller is ECC (error-correcting code) algorithm that uses a Bose, Chaudhuri and Hocquengham (or BCH) ECC algorithm so that data integrity is kept at its highest level.
Performance Benchmarks and Real-World Tests
ATTO Disk Benchmark is a trusted and established application that tests raw data in compressible form within the drive being tested. It's demonstrated over the years to supply steady and consistent results, one of the reasons why ATTO Disk Benchmark is the preferred benchmark in order to give a baseline score of maximum throughput performance. Most SSD manufacturers' maximum sequential read/write speed claims are done with ATTO Disk Benchmark for this very reason.
The numbers you see here are the best case scenario numbers you can expect from this SSD. The default transfer size of 0.5 to 8192KB was selected to be tested along with a length of 256MB.
All remaining benchmarks used here such as AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark are testing with (for the most part) Incompressible data, which some SSD drive controllers may or may not struggle with. That is why on occasion you see the disparity between numbers that are in ATTO Disk Benchmark compared to those of other benchmarks. If the numbers are drastically different, you can draw the conclusion that the particular SSD drive controller suffers when reading/writing incompressible data.
For example, in AS SSD benchmark, the write numbers are much different than those of seen on ATTO Disk Benchmark, and the reason is because one is testing Compressible data, while the other Incompressible data. Without further ado, let's see what the KingFast KF2510MCJ09 can do in our Intel based 2012-2013 PC build. Full specifications on our test bed can be found here. Please note that our current PC in 2014 has now 16GB instead of 8GB system memory.
I also found a new and interesting SSD benchmark called Anvil's Storage Utilities that I will start to use from this point on because it tests a variety of scenarios and combines many of what the other benchmarks do separately into one full fledged benchmark with more flexibility. The SSD is tested under different queue lengths for read and write testing, it reports on access times and also IOPS performance. The version I am using is RC2. More information can be found here regarding Anvil's Storage Utilities.
I calculated with a stop-watch the boot up time into a brand new Windows 7 installation with applications which took only about 13 seconds, whereas using a 2.5" 10,000RPM hard drive took up to 30 seconds to fully load.
The firmware on the KF2510MCJ09 SSD at the time of review is SVN198.
The KF2510MCJ09 beat it's rated sequential read number of 516MB/s and also beat its rated sequential write speed of 450MB/s.
In the ATTO Disk Benchmark the KF2510MCJ09 managed in our Intel Core i7-2600K/Intel DP67BG(B3) combo a maximum of 518MB/s read and almost 470MB/s write, meeting and exceeding its rated specifications.
Anvil's Storage Utilities 0-Fill compressible benchmark test revealed a very good result of 62,130.92 IOPS for its 4K QD16 write test. This is a very high performing score, though it is about 20,000 short of meeting the very high scores for this particular test of the Silicon Power S70 and KingFast KF2510SCF/KF2510MCF, while about 30,000 points short of the amazing score posted by the CoreRise Comay Venus 3S which netted an incredible 91,730.44 score. The difference though is when you compare for example to the CoreRise Comay Venus 3S in the other categories, you then see that the C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 manages not only to post a very good score for the 4K QD16 write test, but all other remaining tests allowing it to have a well balanced performance platform. Think of it of either being excellent at one thing and not so good at the others, or being great at all things.
We saw a high of 61,592.96 IOPS 4K QD16 read, which is approximately 5100 points more than what the E-Drive KF250SCF managed to do being an Enterprise solution! Though it should be said that the Enterprise drive still scored the highest overall score, meaning it did better in other areas. Also like to mention that our test system was upgraded with more system RAM. We now are running 16GB instead of 8GB in previous SSD reviews, sure to have some level of impact and net a higher score. Regardless these are very good results!
Anvil's Storage Utilities 100% incompressible benchmark test was almost identical to the 0-Fill compressible test, which was quite surprising, and a good thing! It revealed a high of 62,443.34 write 4K QD16 IOPS, and a high of 61,438.19 read 4K QD16 IOPS score, again posting very good numbers, trailing the best we've seen in one category and besting in another.
Now 100% incompressible and 0-Fill compressible data performance is equally matched with the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 SSD. This can be attributed to the JMicron JMF667H SSD controller and the quality Toshiba memory chips inside the SSD. The Anvil Storage Utilities benchmark overall score total for the incompressible test is 3,907.20, while the compressible test overall score total is 3,908.63. Again, almost identical high performance when you give it compressible data or give it incompressible data, very surprising.
To give you an idea of the total overall scores in the Anvil Storage Utilities benchmark here is a small breakdown below of a couple of SSD's in our previous SSD reviews.
First score is the 100% Incompressible test, second is Compressible test score.
From standing afar and looking at these results of the Anvil Storage Utilities benchmark, the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 comes in second place! Not a bad place to be in. Interesting to point out that all the other SSD's on this list run the same exact model LSI SandForce SSD controller and varying degrees of similar MLC memory and firmware revisions. You notice how all those struggle with 100% Incompressible data, but then excel with Compressible data. But today's review of the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 shows you that it's got a balanced attack with its too MLC memory, but now JMicron JMF667H SSD controller.
The highest overall score (so far as of this writing) is from the KingFast (Enterprise) E-Drive KF2510SCF which sports the same exact model LSI SandForce controller as the others that struggle with, but the difference is that it sports high-end SLC memory which allows it extra performance and more longevity. This is what makes it balanced from the 100% Incompressible test and Compressible test considering everything else is almost identical about them component wise. You can make your own conclusions about this.
AS SSD Benchmark typically shows the worst possible performance scenario you can expect from an SSD because most of them typically loathe incompressible data. However, that is not the case with the JMicron JMF667H based KingFast KF2510MCJ09 as it technically posts the highest* overall AS SSD Benchmark score we've ever seen on any SATA 3 SSD we've already looked at (as of January 2014). However, as I mentioned before, our test system has now 16GB instead of the 8GB the previous SSDs were tested with.
A quick breakdown below of the overall score posted by the top 3 SSD's we've tested to date. First number is overall score total, second is read score, third is write score. Again consider that number 1 is tested with 16GB of system RAM, while the others tested with 8GB of RAM.
The third place Patriot Memory cannot compare to the top 2 SSDs. Number 1 and 2 are virtually neck and neck in this benchmark, they almost cancel out as you compare their read and write scores. The fact that the MLC based SSD with a JMicron JMF667H controller manages to top the SLC based SSD with an LSI SandForce controller is pretty impressive. Both top 2 SSD's showcase high level of 4K performance.
The Copy Benchmark test inside AS SSD posts a speed of 398.16 MB/s with a duration of only 2.70 seconds, Program test posts a speed of 310.49 MB/s with a duration of 4.53 seconds, and Game test posts a speed of 370.77 MB/s with a duration of 3.72 seconds.
In AS SSD Benchmark, the KingFast KF2510MCJ09 achieves 454.02 MB/s sequential read and 442.20 MB/s sequential write, with a total combined score of 913, the highest score ever seen yet by an SSD tested on this website. We saw a high of 64654 write IOPS and 70890 read IOPS, not quite as much as the SLC based KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF showcased, but still very good for second in this regard.
CrystalDiskMark showed that the KF2510MCJ09 achieved 487.5 MB/s sequential read and 453.6 MB/s write for the incompressible test.
CrystalDiskMark showed that the KF2510MCJ09 achieved 488.4 MB/s sequential read and 456.0 MB/s write for the 0-Fill compressible test.
Don't forget about the 4K QD32 test in CrystalDiskMark because this one also is something that can determine real world performance, and makes use of the NCQ and AHCI support of the SSD. The KF2510MCJ09 manages 300.8 MB/s read and 278.0 MB/s write for the 4K QD32 test category (incompressible). Compressible test shows equally impressive 4K QD32 test category speeds of 299.6 MB/s read and 280.0 MB/s write. These scores aren't the best and quite a noticeable difference away from the best we've seen.
4K scores posted by the KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 are also a good percentage lower than the Enterprise level KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF, which posted the best we've seen. It still achieves respectable numbers but the SLC based E-Drive KF2510SCF churned out noticeably better.
Incompressible 4K performance churned in 35.09 MB/s read (compare to best score of 42.24 MB/s of E-Drive KF2510SCF) and 79.40 (compare to 91.00 MB/s write). Compressible 4K performance saw 35.48MB/s read (compare to 46.72 MB/s) and 78.03 MB/s write (compare to 91.32 MB/s KF2510SCF).
Access time numbers were also excellent with the KF2510MCJ09 as it frequently gets the best access time numbers when compared to previously tested SSDs with the benchmarks. For example, in AS SSD Benchmark it posted access times of 0.056ms read, 0.050ms write!
Usually with the SandForce based SSD controllers I've tested, I've commented about the unusual sight where the write speed graphs that the HD Tune benchmark demonstrated looks squiggly and not as a straight line. The SandForce SSDs usually have more variations with the graph meaning performance is up and down for a period of time. Well this SSD with the JMicron JMF667H SSD controller has a graph that is completely different, there is squiggly lines but they are so close together that the performance is very consistent.
The KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 doesn't win all benchmarks, but it doesn't need to, as its easily one of the fastest SSD's we've tested thus far. It's one of the fastest SSD's we've tested thus far on this website, and that's something to be proud of. I would rank it second overall, giving the edge to the SLC based KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF of being number 1, but in no way am I disappointed by its performance for what it is meant for. The SLC KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF 120GB is significantly more costly just because the SLC memory, while you can pick up double the capacity of this 240GB KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 and maybe 80-90% of the performance for about 28-29% less.
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The 240GB KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 with its Toshiba NAND and JMicron JMF667H SSD controller is very impressive performance wise! It posts very high performance numbers in many tests and the highest AS SSD overall total score so far seen on ModSynergy. It's balanced in just about every area and was refreshing to see that it does not struggle with incompressible data as all other previously reviewed SSD do. It doesn't matter if you throw compressible or incompressible data at the SSD, it will churn out the same performance regardless.
Honestly, the only certain aspect I'm not too happy with is the lack of a bundle, because it has no bundle. It seems KingFast is stepping away from what it was did, they used to have the best bundle in the business, but now it's all taken away. No 2.5" to 3.5" mounting bracket, no mounting screws, no SATA cable, nothing is included any longer and that is not too good to see.
Though on a purely performance standpoint, the 240GB KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 with its JMicron JMF667H SSD controller at the helm is one very good SSD. Easily Recommended!
No longer will availability be a limiting factor for North American customers. Customers in Canada and USA can now easily order any KingFast SSD product and have it shipped to their door through http://www.kingfast-ssd.com.
For example, the SLC KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF 120GB costs $235USD, while the SSD we tested today in the 240GB KingFast C-Drive KF2510MCJ09 costs only $132 USD!!, making it one of the cheapest 240GB we've ever seen! This is usually 120GB pricing. So you have great impressive performance and the lowest price for a 240GB SSD, as of this writing, only $132 USD plus shipping, and taxes (if in Canada). If you ship to USA, you need not pay taxes, and add $5.70USD for USPS shipping, what a deal!