CPUs and other Hardware

Using Kingston’s 240GB SSDNow mS200 mSATA as a caching drive

(This evaluation was originally published on AlienBabelTech by this author in early November, 2014 and was subsequently lost from the database in a hard drive crash and it has been republished and updated here)

 

In April of 2014, Kingston announced the addition of 240GB and 480GB capacities to the existing SSDNow mS200 line. Kingston’s SSDNow mS200 mSATA solid-state drive gives enthusiasts a noticeable cost-effective performance boost with quicker boot time and application loads while requiring less power than hard disk drives (HDDs).  We already tested this mS200 240GB drive the very next month using VisionTek’s mSATA pocket-sized USB 3.0 adapter.  However, USB 3.0 only has transfer speeds up to 300MB/second (3.0Gbps) and the mS200 mSATA drive can theoretically achieve up to twice faster speeds.

installedThe mS200’s small-form factor is perfect for notebook, tablet and Ultrabook PCs, as well for the desktop.  It is on sale right now at Tiger Direct for $178.99.  In fact many newer motherboards since Sandy Bridge have their own mini-slot for mSATA. It can also be used as a caching device with motherboards that support Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology (RST, as part of Intel’s Smart Response Technology, SRT) to improve system performance.  Since we have tested SSDs many times previously, SSD caching is what we are now most interested in.

During the preparation for this evaluation, we learned how to easily take almost any hard drive originally set up on ACHI, and turn it into a much faster RAID hybrid system – without reinstalling Windows! We used the mS200 240GB SATA SSD, not only for it’s 64MB of super-fast cache, but the rest of the SSD – 160GB – is partitioned for use as an SSD. Best of all, regularly played games load as quickly as if they were installed on a SSD even though they remain on the HDD!  Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

These Kingston mS200 mSATA SSDs all have a caseless, PCB-only design with no moving parts and are backed by a two- or three-year warranty, free technical support, and Kingston reliability.  And we got great technical support from Kingston who helped us on our journey to a hybrid drive system that boots over twice as fast as before, while leaving Windows on the HDD.  No new or re-installation of Windows was necessary, and our most used applications now load much faster.

Of course, we shall also look at the SSDNow mS200 mSATA performance besides summarizing our results with a hybrid drive system.  First, here are the features and specifications from Kingston:

SSDNow mS200 mSATA Features & Specifications:

  • LSI SandForce 2241 (30GB, 60GB, 120GB) and 2281 (240GB, 480GB) controller with SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface: twice as fast as the previous generation, yet more cost-efficient
  • mSATA interface: fully compliant with industry standard, easy to fit, guaranteed to work
  • NAND Flash memory based: shock-resistant with low power consumption
  • Supports Intel’s SRT: combines capacity advantage of HDD with performance improvements of SSD in dual-storage configuration
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T.: monitors the status of your drive
  • Supports TRIM: maintains maximum performance on compatible operating systems
  • Interface: SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s), SATA Rev. 1.0 (1.5Gb/s)
  • Capacities1: 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
  • Automatic Encryption (AES 128-bit): Password at the drive level ensures secure data protection

Sequential Read/Write: 30GB – 550 MB/s / 510MB/s

  • 60GB – 550 MB/s / 520MB/s
  • 120GB – 550MB/s / 520MB/s
  • 240GB – 540MB/s / 530MB/s
  • 480GB – 530MB/s / 340MB/s

Maximum 4k Read/Write2:30GB – up to 86,000/ up to 77,000 IOPS

  • 60GB – up to 86,000/ up to 79,000 IOPS
  • 120GB – up to 86,000/ up to 48,000 IOPS
  • 240GB – up to 72,000/up to 40,000 IOPS
  • 480GB – up to 72,000/up to 18,000 IOPS

Random 4k Read/Write2: 30GB – up to 7,500/71,000 IOPS

  • 60GB – up to 14,000/77,000 IOPS
  • 120GB – up to 17,000/45,000 IOPS
  • 240GB – up to 21,000/41,000 IOPS
  • 480GB – up to 21,000/13,000 IOPS

 

  • PCMARK® Vantage HDD Suite Score: 60,000
  • Power Consumption: 0.4W Idle / 1.2 (TYP) Read / 1.8W (TYP) Write
  • Storage temperature: -40°C ~ 85°C
  • Operating temperature: 0°C ~ 70°C
  • Dimensions: 50.88mm x 30mm
  • Weight: 6.86g
  • TRIM Supported
  • Vibration operating: 2.17G
  • Vibration non-operating: 20G
  • MTTF: 1,000,000 Hrs
  • Warranty/support:

30GB – two-year warranty with free technical support

60GB, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB – three-year warranty with free technical support

 

  • Total Bytes Written (TBW)3:
  • 30GB: 121TB 3 DWPD4
  • 60GB: 218TB 3 DWPD4
  • 120GB: 337TBW 2 DWPD4
  • 240GB: 585TBW 2 DWPD4
  • 480GB: 1562TBW 2 DWPD4

1 Some of the listed capacity on a Flash storage device is used for formatting and other functions and thus is not available for data storage. As such, the actual available capacity for data storage is less than what is listed on the products. For more information, go to Kingston’s Flash Memory Guide

2 Based on “out-of-box performance.” Speed may vary due to host hardware, software and usage.

3 Total Bytes Written (TBW) is derived from the JEDEC Workload (JESD219A).

4 Drive Writes Per Day (DWPD)

SSDNow mS200 mSATA SSD
Part NumberCapacity and Features
SMS200S3/30GB30GB mSATA SSD
SMS200S3/60GB60GB mSATA SSD
SMS200S3/120G120GB mSATA SSD
SMS200S3/240G240GB mSATA SSD
SMS200S3/480G480GB mSATA SSD

 

 

Let’s take a close look at unboxing the Kingston SSDNow mS200 drive, setting it up, and finally its performance as a stand alone SSD and also as a caching drive using Intel’s RST.