Kingston SSDNow KC100 Upgrade Bundle Kit review: What first-time SSD buyers have looked for

Like many other SSDs, the SSDNow KC100 comes with overprovisioning. Overprovisioning is a feature that enables the use of part of an SSD's storage space to enhance the drive's performance. This explains why the drive's capacities are 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB, instead of 128GB, 240GB, and 512GB in the case of drives don't have this feature.

The drive's included cloning CD is bootable, and the cloning software it contains only works if you boot a computer using the CD. You can't install the software and expect to use it within Windows. In this regard, the upgrade process is almost exactly the same as in this CNET How-To . The software also supports Windows only; if you want to clone other operating systems, such as a Mac, you'll need to use different software.

In my trials, the SSDNow KC100 worked well with all popular operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. For better performance it's recommended that you use the latest version of the OSes that support the TRIM command, such as Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.6 or later. Kingston says the SSDNow KC100 is designed for business users, and it's the only drive from the company that comes with a full five-year warranty, instead of a three-year like others.

The Kingston SSDNow KC100 drive (top) is clearly thicker than other 7mm drives.
The Kingston SSDNow KC100 drive (top) is clearly thicker than other 7mm drives. Dong Ngo/CNET

Cost per gigabyte
The Kingston SSDNow KC100 costs slightly higher compared with other SSDs on the market. However, it's not really expensive considering the amount of useful accessories included in the Upgrade Bundle Kit. At the current street price of some $287 for 240GB (or $156 for 120GB), the kit costs about $1.30 per gigabyte. However, the external enclosure and the cloning software are already worth about $40 if you have to get them separately. It's a little bit unfair to compare the Kingston SSDNow KC100 with others in terms of value based solely on the cost per gigabyte, since many don't include any accessories. But then again, the Kingston SSDNow KC100 Upgrade Bundle Kit is a great deal only for those who need to do the upgrade for the first time and don't already have the accessories.

Performance
Though not the fastest I've seen, the Kingston SSDNow KC100 performed very well in my tests. When used as the main drive, which is its main purpose, the SSDNow KC100 improved the boot time a great deal, helping the test machine take just 11 seconds to fully load Windows 7. The machine also took just around 5 seconds to shut down. When the system used the hard drive as its main storage, it took about 50 seconds to boot and 15 seconds to shut down; the SSDNow KC100 offered about an 80 percent improvement. There was no delay when the computer resumed from sleep mode, either. All the applications I tried opened noticeably faster, especially those that generally take a long time when a hard drive is used, such as games or Photoshop.

In data copy tests, which is generally not the strength of SSDs, the Kingston SSDNow KC100 offered 136MBps when used as the main drive and performing both writing and reading at the same time, slightly higher than the average. When used as a secondary drive and performing just writing, it scored much better at 253MBps, being among the top four on the chart of all SSDs. Compared with just 9.5mm-thick SSDs, however, the SSDNow KC100 is probably the fastest I've seen.

Bootup and shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Shutdown  
Boot Time  
Samsung 840 Pro
5.21 
10 
Corsair Neutron GTX
5.28 
10 
Sandisk Extreme
6 
11 
Plextor M5 Pro
6.21 
11.1 
Corsair Neutron
6.2 
12 
OCZ Vertex 4
6.8 
12 
Samsung 830 Series
6 
13.3 
SanDisk Ultra
7.2 
13.5 
Crucial M4
6.8 
13.7 
OCZ Agility 3
6.7 
14.7 
WD VelociRaptor 600GB
7.9 
45.4 
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
12.2 
56.2 

Data-transfer scores (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
As secondary drive  
As OS drive  
Corsair Neutron GTX
273.62 
161.38 
Samsung 830 Series
261.63 
172.88 
Samsung 840 Pro
256.63 
168.18 
Kingston SSDNow KC100
253.39 
136.39 
Plextor M5 Pro
251.19 
155.65 
OCZ Vertex 4
246.55 
168.36 
Corsair Neutron
237.69 
138.44 
RunCore Pro V 7mm
236.71 
155.89 
Crucial M4
235.51 
117.99 
Sandisk Extreme
234.15 
117.66 
Intel 520 series
230.01 
154.01 
Monster Digital Daytona
209.04 
108.32 
OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 
RunCore Pro V Max
186.78 
92.55 
Monster Digital Le Mans
177.56 
121.11 
WD VelociRaptor 1TB
149.73 
62.21 
WD VelociRaptor 600GB
126.33 
58.05 
Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
112.59 
47.12 

Conclusion
With fast performance, a five-year warranty, and a generous bundle of accessories, the Kingston SSDNow KC100 Upgrade Bundle Kit makes an excellent choice for first-time buyers who want to upgrade their laptop or desktop to solid-state storage.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Kingston SSDNow KC100 Upgrade Bundle Kit (240GB)

Part Number: SKC100S3B/240G

MSRP: $482.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 2.5" x 1/8H
  • Hard Drive Type internal hard drive
  • Interface Type Serial ATA-600
  • Capacity 240 GB