512GB for US$107 | 1TB for US$175 | 2TB for US$400 | 4TB for US$1000
Man, was the Corsair MP600 Pro XT‘s reign as top dog short.
Only a couple of weeks after taking the performance crown (sort
of), it loses it to the Kingston KC3000, the new best SSD in the land. True, Corsair didn't lose the
title by much, and it wasn't a total shock given that both use
Phison's latest E18 controller and 176-layer TLC NAND. Still, our
sympathy to Corsair and congratulations to Kingston.
And congrats to you as well. You now have three lightning-fast
PCIe 4 NVMe SSDs to choose from when you include Seagate's FireCuda 530. Just make sure you have a fairly
modern computer that can support PCIe 4.0 before you splurge on one
of these hotrods.
Price and specs
The KC3000 is available in 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB flavors for US$107, US$175, US$400, and US$1000,
respectively. That's basically on par with the MP600 Pro XT, but
shop carefully as you might find one or the other cheaper at a
particular capacity. The KC3000 is warrantied for five years and
carries a slightly larger TBW rating than its Corsair rival: 400TBW
for the 512GB model, 800TBW on the 1TB, 1.6PBW (PetaBytes Written–a
petabyte is 1000 terabytes), and 3.2PBW on the 4TB capacity.
Kingston's KC3000 may
look boring, but its performance is anything but.
The KC3000 is your standard 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form
factor commercial NVMe SSD. I've already given away the controller
and NAND, however, there's also 1GB of primary DRAM cache for every
1TB of capacity.
Secondary caching is the main TLC employed as SLC, i.e., data is
written to it as a single voltage level (one bit), rather than one
of fifteen (three bits). How the amount of TLC as SLC required is
determined wasn't disclosed, but whatever is being done, it's being
done extremely well. The only fluctuations of note were exceedingly
minor and occurred during the 450GB sustained write.
The numbers rolling out of the benchmarks and off the stopwatch
for the KC3000 were hauntingly familiar—I just saw them from the
aforementioned Corsair MP300 Pro XT. Indeed, the difference in
speed between the KC3000, Corsair, and Seagate FireCuda 530 is
hardly worth mentioning. It's so close, you should buy on price and
other factors. Still, as you'll see below, the KC3000 is the
fastest of the three in CrystalDiskMark and our 48GB transfer tests—
though only by a gnat's eyebrow.
Note that the lighter gold is the KC3000's performance over PCIe
3. I've included it because, well, I've been asked to by readers.
Buying a PCIe 4 drive for a PCIe 3 PC is a waste of money unless
you plan to take it forward with you to a newer PC.
The Kingston KC3000
set a new record in CrystalDiskMark 6, though only by a hair over
its rivals. Longer bars are better.
As you can see above, the KC3000 bested both its rivals in
CrystalDiskMark 6 by a small margin. Note that we do test using
CrystalDiskMark 7 and AS SSD, however, for comparison with older
drives, we stick with the version 6 CDM results, which are still
The Kingston KC3000 is
also now the fastest NVMe SSD we've tested transferring 48GB data
sets. Shorter bars are better.
The KC3000 was the fastest by a mere second at our 48GB
transfers shown above. But fastest is fastest; every second counts;
you're not getting any younger…
The on test that still
sets the FireCuda 530 apart from the rest is the 450GB sustained
write. The KC3000's time is nothing to sneeze at however. Shorter
bars are better.
The only test where the KC3000 fell marginally off the pace was
in our 450GB sustained write—something most users won't do very
often, if ever. 3 minutes and 36 seconds is still a very fast
The PCIe 3 tests utilize Windows 10 64-bit running on a Core
i7-5820K/Asus X99 Deluxe system with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHz
DDR4 modules, a Zotac (Nvidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIe graphics card,
and an Asmedia ASM3242 USB 3.2×2 card. It also contains a Gigabyte
GC-Alpine Thunderbolt 3 card, and Softperfect Ramdisk 3.4.6 for the
48GB read and write tests.
The PCIe 4 testing was done on an MSI MEG X570 motherboard
socketing an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core CPU, using the same Kingston
DRAM, cards, and benchmark software. ImDisk replaces Softperfect as
the RAM disk. All testing is performed on an empty, or nearly empty
drive that's TRIM'd after every set of tests.
Write performance will decrease as the drive fills up. In
some rare cases, components may change for the worse. Kingston has
been accused of substituting slower parts before. If your drive,
given similar hardware, does not perform as well as our test unit,
please let us know.
The Kingston KC3000 we tested is a fantastic NVMe SSD that's
fast via PCIe 3 or 4. As mentioned, it's pretty much a pick 'em
with the Corsair MP600 Pro XT and Seagate FireCuda 530. Base your
decision on price, TBW, warranty, availability, or which company
you prefer. You'll love any of the three.