SATA and M.2 Solid-State Drive FAQs

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

More Questions

What does the acronym SSD mean?

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).

What are the differences between an SSD and an HDD?

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.

Why do SSDs cost more than HDDs?

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.

How much faster is an SSD?

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.

Are there any trade-offs when choosing an SSD over an HDD?

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.

Are Kingston’s solid-state drives built using NAND Flash or DRAM Memory?

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

What Operating Systems (OS) are supported?

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

Do Kingston solid-state drives require any special drivers?

No additional drivers are required.

Can I use a Kingston solid-state drive in any system?

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)

Can Kingston solid-state drives be used for RAID?

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.

Can Kingston solid-state drives be connected to SAS-based systems?

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.

Can I transfer data or OS from an existing HDD to a new SSD?

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 are mentioned in the SSD materials. What are they?

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.

Does an SSD require defragmenting like an HDD?

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.

What does wear-levelling mean? Is it important?

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.

Why does my SSD have less capacity than some others?

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.

Will my SSD wear out or lose performance the longer I use it?

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.

Do Kingston SSDs use Garbage Collection?

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.

Do these drives employ wear-levelling?

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.

What are SMART attributes?

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.

Can you use this drive in external enclosure via USB or e-SATA?

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.