All your SSD questions answered

Kingston solid-state drives are the ideal performance upgrade for consumers and organizations alike. Available in a wide range of models and capacities, Kingston SSDs extend the lifecycle of PCs and provide improved speed, performance and reliability when compared to traditional hard drives.

Backed by a two-, three- or five-year warranty, free technical support and legendary Kingston® reliability, Kingston solid-state drives provide data security combined with future-proof performance for complete peace of mind.

If you have any questions about Kingston solid-state drives, read on for the answers. If your question isn’t covered here, please visit the product pages listed below or contact a Kingston representative.

SSD is short for solid-state drive. An SSD is built using NAND Flash or DRAM memory chips in place of platters and other mechanical mechanisms found in hard disk drives (HDDs).

HDDs are based on magnetic spinning platters, a technology that has been in use since the mid- 1950s. The data is written to and read from these spinning platters or disks via moving heads. HDDs are mechanical devices with many moving parts, and are therefore more prone to mechanical failures and failures due to environmental conditions such as heat, cold, shock and vibration.

Although the SSD market is growing and SSDs are becoming much more popular, SSD is still a relatively new innovation. As with any new technology, it is only a matter of time before sales increase to a level that will allow manufacturing costs to reduce. In the last few years, the price gap between SSD and HDDs has gotten much smaller.

This is a difficult question to answer, as no two systems are exactly the same and performance can be affected by the OS, any drivers loaded, applications in use, the speed and configuration of the processor and many other factors. There are several test web sites and magazines that have tested SSDs against HDDs and found SSDs to be much faster. For example, if we compared random read performance, SSDs are more than 20000% faster than high performance HDDs.

It is worth noting that SSD drives are not affected by the physical limitations of hard drives. HDDs platters are circular in design (like a CD) and data held at the center of the circle is accessed at a slower rate than data on the outside edge. SSDs have a uniform access time across the entire drive. HDD performance also suffers from data fragmentation, while SSD performance is not significantly impacted even if the data is not stored contiguously.

The only factor in favor of HDDs is the price per Gigabyte; this is why HDDs are currently sold in capacities of 500GB and above, while SSDs are sold in capacities of 30GB and above. Kingston currently offers SSDs from 30GB to 960GB.

Traditional HDDs are best if mass storage is in the Terabytes is your primary need, while SSDs are excellent if performance is more important. It’s common to use an SSD as a boot drive to hold OS and applications and an HDD to hold data files.

Kingston’s solid-state drives are built using NAND Flash Memory.

Kingston solid-state drives are OS-independent and will run on any system supporting a standard SATA interface.

Kingston solid-state drives can be user-installed in any system that supports the SATA II or III interface. (SATA 3Gb/sec. and 6Gb/s)

Yes, the E, KC, HyperX, S and V Series SSDs can be used in RAID configurations; however, Kingston recommends using the E Series SSD for RAIDs on servers.

It is very common that SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) based systems and controllers also support SATA devices. Kingston recommends that users check with the system or controller documentation to make sure that both SATA and SAS drives are compatible. If they are, Kingston solid-state drives may be successfully used.

Yes. Kingston offers SSD drives in upgrade kits that include all the necessary items required to replace a notebook or desktop HDD with a Kingston solid-state drive, including software to easily transfer the OS and important data.

IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) is the unit of measurement to show the number of transactions per second a storage device (HDD or SSD) is capable of handling. IOPS should not be confused with read/write speeds and pertain to server workloads.

No. SSDs never need to be defragmented. Defragmenting an SSD can actually reduce the life of an SSD. If your system is set up to defragment automatically, you should disable or turn off defragmentation when using an SSD. Some operating systems will defragment automatically, so this feature should be disabled for Kingston solid-state drives.

SSD drives use NAND Flash memory as the storage medium. One of the disadvantages of NAND Flash is that Flash cells will eventually wear out. In order to extend the memory’s useable life, the SSD’s memory controller employs various algorithms that spread the storage of data across all memory cells. This prevents any one cell or group of cells from being “over used.” The use of wear-levelling technology is widespread and is very effective.

To increase performance and endurance, some SSD manufacturers will reserve some of the drive capacity from the user area and dedicate it to the controller. This practice is known as overprovisioning and will increase the performance and longevity of the SSD. All current Kingston SSDs using LSI/SandForce® controllers feature overprovisioning, so our typical capacities are 60, 120, 240 and 480GB.

The NAND Flash used in USB, SD cards and SSDs all have endurance limits meaning one cannot continue to write to them forever. Flash based products will eventually wear out however with features like wear-levelling and overprovisioning an SSD will typically last longer than the system it was installed into. We measure drive endurance in TBW Terabytes Written and depending on drive capacity one can write hundreds of Terbaytes up to Petabytes. Performance of the SSD will remain the same throughout the life of the drive.

DuraWrite™ is proprietary controller technology that reduces and optimizes the number of program (write) cycles to the NAND, effectively extending the Flash-rated endurance by up to 20x (or more) when compared to standard controllers.

RAISE™ stands for Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements and functions like a multi-drive RAID configuration — all within a single drive. Data written to a drive is written across multiple Flash die to enable recovery from a failure in a sector, page or entire block.

All Kingston SSDs use an intelligent and efficient garbage collection process that improves drive life with little impact on Flash endurance and is invisible to the user.

Kingston solid-state drives integrate advanced wear-levelling techniques that incorporate a block picking algorithm capable of extending flash endurance and optimizing drive life. This unique wear-levelling ensures that the individual Flash memory blocks are consumed at a very balanced rate, not to exceed a 2-percent difference between the most often written blocks and least written.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology and is a part of the ATA standard. SMART attributes are used to measure drive “health” and enabled to warn the user (administrator, software program, etc.) of impending drive failure.

The E and KC Series of SSDs enable IT managers to monitor an expanded list of Enterprise-grade SMART attributes. When using third-party disk utility software, they can access these attributes in order to attain enhanced insight into the health and status of their drives.

Yes, it is a function of the drive, right out of the box. With every write, data is encrypted. With every read, data is decrypted.

The KC300 is equipped with two encryption engines that use AES-256 and AES-128 bit methods to protect the information transmitted from the computer to the NAND Flash and prevent any unauthorized access. This encryption occurs at the drive level without any impact to performance and without any host dependency.

Yes, the ATA Security Command allows you to enable a “drive lock” or a “hard disk password” which helps to secure the drive and prevent unauthorized user access. If “drive lock” or “hard disk password” is NOT enabled, all data transmitted to the NAND Flash will be encrypted, however, it will be open and available to any user attempting to access it.

Kingston recommends that you consult the BIOS documentation or check in the security section of your BIOS for Hard Disk Password Support or Drive Lock Security.

This varies from one OEM to another. For example, Dell’s is Internal HDD Password. HP uses DriveLock Security. IBM uses Hard Disk (0,1,etc) Password.

The password is stored on the NAND.

Yes, the password is encrypted. Anything written or stored on the drive is automatically encrypted at the hardware level. Anything read/ copied from the drive is decrypted automatically as well.

If you need this drive to be managed using TCG Opal standards, ensure you are using an ISV that supports TCG Opal and please purchase the Kingston-customized KC300 with TCG Opal enabled.

Yes Kingston SSDs can be used in USB, e-SATA, Thunderbolt and Firewire external enclosures. Note if the user chooses to enable a password via the ATA Security command, the drive will not be accessible via external enclosure.

The two specs are not backward compatible. Most software management ISVs today support both Opal standards. There is no difference from a user perspective.

Opal is a standard for managing SEDs and is independent of the physical media type used to actually store the data. When Opal 1.0 was being designed, most drives had spinning platters with magnetic media (Hard Disk Drive – HDD).These drives either had 512 byte physical block sizes which correspond one to one with 512 byte Logical Block Address (LBA) presented to the host computer or they had a pretty efficient way of dealing with the 512 byte LBA and 4K or 8K physical storage blocks. Since then, Solid-State Drives (SSDs) have come on the scene in a big way. These drives also have 4K and 8K or more physical block sizes but due to the underlying nature of the memory used in SSDs, it is very inefficient to let the host computer obliviously write data at just any address in any size chunks. Due to this, some Opal 2.0 SSDs drives will NOT also support the Opal 1.0 specification and if they did it would be just too slow. The bottom line is that for the end customer to avoid getting embroiled in Opal 1.0 vs. Opal 2.0 issues, they should just update their Opal management software to a version that supports both transparently.


("Standard Protocol for Authentication in Host Attachments of Transient Storage Devices") is a standard published and maintained by the IEEE that describes various methods for authenticating transient storage devices such as USB Flash drives when they are inserted into a computer. This is only supported in TCG Opal 2 related to Microsoft eDrive.

Support for Windows 8 and 8.1 where the drive can take advantage of the Hardware Encryption on the SED drive during activation of Bitlocker for better performance. For further information visit

This utility does a Crypto Erase to reset the drive back to factory. All data will be wiped.The 32-character PSID (Physical Security ID) value will be needed as part of this process and can be found on the SSD label.

While installing a fresh Windows 8 or 8.1 OS on a TCG Opal 2 drive, the EnabledActive flag is automatically switched to Y.This will disable a user from running a Secure Erase.

With this flag switched to Y, other security management software like (Wave, WinMagic, McAfee, etc.) will not be able to manage this drive.

Revert Utility can be used to remove an Opal-activated or eDrive-activated, once completeddrive that can then be repurposed for another user.

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