Kingston UV500 review

Continuing their focus on main market drives that we saw with the UV400 sata drive back in 2017 and the A1000 NVMe device in 2018 we now have Kingstons latest SATA device the UV500. You’d be forgiven for confusing it with the earlier UV400 model however since at first glance use nearly identical designs and even share the same controller. Any improvements we see with this new drive are going to come from updated firmware as well as the move to new 3d nand.

Our Test system and Procedure

We detailed our new test system in it’s own article.. The system is running windows 10 Professional and was under no load(AV disabled) for all tests. Testing will consist our standard set of tests which we outlined previously. At this point enough drives have been run through the current test bench to remove results from it’s predecessor.  Unfortunately this does limit our ability to compare the UV500 directly to it’s predecessor as it was tested with our previous system. However we do have plenty of new drives to compare it to.

The UV500

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The UV500 was sent to us as an upgrade bundle which is actually a fantastic kit. Including the drive, adapters for instillation in 3.5 only desktop chassis, a USB 3.0 drive adapter as well as desktop power and data cables the only thing you’re missing is a screwdriver. Although it does add to the cost this everything and the kitchen sink guarantees ease of instillation regardless of what you’re working with. You also get a copy of the Arconis true image software which although not a personal favorite is more than competent for cloning your existing installation to the new SSD. A metallic shell is unfortunately kept shut by security screws smaller than any I have on hand , lets get a look at the specifications.

Capacity120Gb240Gb480Gb960Gb1.92Tb
ControllerMarvell 88SS1074Marvell 88SS1074Marvell 88SS1074Marvell 88SS1074Marvell 88SS1074
Firmwarexx003056R6xx
NandUnspecified 3D TLCUnspecified 3D TLCUnspecified 3D TLCUnspecified 3D TLCUnspecified 3D TLC
Sequential Read520 MB/s520 MB/s520 MB/s520 MB/s520 MB/s
Sequential Write320 MB/s490 MB/s500 MB/s500 MB/s500 MB/s
4k Random Read79,00079,00079,00079,00079,000
4k Random Write18,00025,00035,00045,00050,000
Temperature Range0-70°C0-70°C0-70°C0-70°C0-70°C
Dimensions7.0mm X 69.9mm X 100.0mm7.0mm X 69.9mm X 100.0mm7.0mm X 69.9mm X 100.0mm7.0mm X 69.9mm X 100.0mm7.0mm X 69.9mm X 100.0mm
Endurance60TBW100TBW200TBW480TBW800TBW
Warranty5 years5 years5 years5 years5 years

Despite using the same controller the performance ratings shift dramatically compared to the earlier drive. Keeping in mind that our UV400 sample struggled to meet it’s targets so these may simply be a refinement of how the UV500 is rated.

SSD-Z

I think we’re nearing the end of the road with SSD-Z as it provides less information each new drive. If someone has an alternative to it(or can contact http://aezay.dk/) we’re open to suggestions. What we do see is working TRIM for this drive which is critical for SATA drive performance. We can also note that the firmware is dramatically different from what we saw on the UV400 likely to provide support for 3d TLC.

ATTO 3.05

ATTO shows a slower ramp than we’ve seen on other drives but not a terrible one overall. Performance peaks by the time 64KB sizes however it seems to vary a bit more than we’re used to. Writes trend lower than reads both however are capable of reaching or exceeding the rated performance listed for the drive.

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We can see stacked up although the UV500 is no match for NVMe devices it’s at least comparable here to other SATA drives. Considering it’s intended market position as a budget drive this is a good showing out of the gate.

Crystal Disk Mark 5.1.2 x64

Considering that the sequential performance was rated at 520/500 a result of 540/510 is a pleasant surprise. Although writes aren’t there sequential reads even meet spec at QD1 which isn’t something we see very often.

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Compared to other drives in our test set for a budget drive the UV500 performs very well here. 3d nand even on budget drives is making older MLC drives look dated.

Anvil

Anvil unlike Crystal Disk mark falls a bit short on the sequential performance. We know anvil is a bit heavier of a test overall and seems to really punish budget drives.

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Response times are good trading places with the MX500. Raw performance however is a bit down across the board.

AS SSD

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AS SSD cements what we’ve seen previously. Demonstrating good but not earth shattering performance seems to be the theme for the UV500

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If it wasn’t clear already AS SSD makes a point of showing the UV500 trailing other sata drives across the board. Sometimes more than others but the trend seems to indicate that anything that really taxes the controller(like the 512b test) hurts the performance of the UV500.

Consistency Test

The consistency chart, although far from the worst we’ve seen is quite frankly a mess. Compared to other drives we’ve seen use 3d nand like the MX500 this chart. This may be one area the newer nand actually hurt the UV500 compared to it’s predecessor which had a much neater looking consistency chart but also with a much lower performance ceiling.

Considering how messy it’s chart looked the UV500 deserves some respect here for posting an average that’s much higher than expected at over 15000 IOPS something drives we used to recommend regularly couldn’t do. Minimum performance however is a different story and this will hurt it overall.

We’re well under the MX500 and NVMe devices here. However the UV500 does have other budget options beat which is good considering it’s target.

Pricing

In a vacuum the UV500 is a solid budget drive. However the reality is other options exist and the MX500 specifically is prices very competitively which causes problems for the UV500. At price points where it undercuts the MX500 by a wide margin or isn’t competing with it the UV500 is an excellent option. Otherwise the MX500 is the faster drive across the board and if priced better represents the more logical choice.

Closing thoughts

Taking an existing design and simply slapping new nand in it as a refresh may sound easy on paper but is rarely as simple in reality. Kingston did an excellent job bringing a 2014 era controller this far forward. This also shows how little SATA drives have changed in some regards after the move to SATA6. With solid performance in most tasks the average consumer would be more than happy with the UV500. If it’s found on sale or purchased with it’s an excllent accessory kit as a PC upgrade the UV500 is a solid choice.

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Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is a full time IT administrator at a medium sized private business former FRC coach and technology enthusiast.