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Kingston playing dirty: switched to slower NAND in SSDNow V300

SSDNow V300

Kingston is one of the manufacturers that I would, personally, believe blindly. They have been pretty straightforward with their product specifications, media sampling process and everything else. However, recently an issue regarding their SSDNow V300 drives have surfaced on several online communities which clearly tells that Kingston is now playing it dirty. The SSDNow V300 was launched in late 2012 and it got pretty good comments from tech journalists all over the internet. It was a significant improvement over the V200 drives.

SSDNow V300

The initial retail drives and media samples shipped with Toshiba 19nm Toggle-Mode 2.0 NAND which is regarded as a very good option but recently Kingston silently switched it with Micron’s 20nm asynchronous NAND which is quite slower as compared to the former one. Kingston buys their NAND in wafers, as its cheaper, and then put their own markings over the chips so there was no quick way of determining the change. However, when people started complaining about the V300 being considerably slower than the advertised speeds and what online reviews reported, people started digging into the issue and it turned out that Kingston has really changed to slower NAND.

Ideally, Kingston should have launched the SSD with new slower NAND as a different revision or a completely new product but they obviously they did not and customer kept on buying the V300 thinking its the same SSD that all the reviewers got. According to AnandTech, Kingston internally thought of launching it as V305 but then went against the decision.

There has been several confirmations that the Micron’s NAND is actually slower than Toshiba’s NAND. NordicHardware did a detailed comparison between the two versions of the drives and found one of them to be slower than the other; not just in incompressable data tests but in compressible real world tests as well. Furthermore, an internal Kingston document also got out somehow which also confirms that there are two versions of V300 SSD and one of them is considerably slower.

Although, the original V300 with faster NAND is nowhere to be found now but there is a quick way to distinguish between the two without even opening the packaging. You need to check the SSD firmware version which is written on the product information tag on box. It looks something like this: 505ABBF0. If the first three digits are 505, 507 or 520, then you have the original V300 with faster Toshiba NAND and if these digits are 506 or 521 then unfortunately you have the newer and slower version.

In case you have the slower version, I would advise you to file a complaint with Kingston to compensate you for this ‘unintentional’ mistake on their part. Lots of people have complained Kingston with their concerns and some have been compensated as well but generally Kingston is not being a gentleman about the issue.

Anyway, I have to say that I am largely disappointed with Kingston. It totally makes sense for switching NAND for financial or supply issues but firstly Kingston should have been upfront about it and if that was not possible at the time then now Kingston should own their mistake and compensate all the effective users out there.

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