Kingston A400 Review (120GB): Affordable entry-level drive
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This isn’t the most exciting SSD you can get your hands on for testing, and it certainly isn’t among the fastest. What makes the Kingston A400 series interesting is the very attractive price point in relation to the manufacturer’s performance claims.
You can often find the 120GB version that we’re testing here – a capacity fully adequate for installing and running any OS including Windows 10 – for well below the $48 MSRP online, which is fantastic even for a small and basic drive. It is also available in 240GB, 480GB, and even 960GB capacities, out of which the 240GB model comes out on top in the GB/$ calculation at the time of writing.
Check prices on Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK
Endurance and warranty
Unsurprisingly, the A400 uses TLC (triple-level cell) NAND memory chips, which is normal these days even in higher-end drives. Only a few enthusiast-level SATA SSDs like the Samsung 860 PRO uses the more durable and faster alternative, MLC (multi-level cell) NAND. This is combined with no DRAM at all.
The controller is only listed as ‘2ch‘ in Kingston’s official spec sheet. Based on a few news posts that circulated at the drive’s launch, it is supposedly a Phison S11. This sounds plausible as this controller is aimed at DRAM-less, low-cost drives in particular.
All of this might not matter to most buyers of the A400 series, but endurance is always important. While Kingston also includes the less-than-useful MTBF standard in the specs, what counts is the TBW (terabytes written) rating. For the A400 series these are:
- 120GB: 40TB
- 240GB: 80TB
- 480GB: 160TB
- 960GB: 300TB
A TBW rating is not equivalent to instant death once your drive reaches the threshold, but it’s an indication of the memory cells’ life span. And more importantly, it is a warranty limitation.
40TB for the 120GB Kingston A400 might not sound like much (and it is a lower rating than the popular Samsung 860 EVO). But over the warranty period of three years, this comes out as 36.5 GB of writes per day. It’s a relatively safe bet that the average user of this entry-level drive will never come close to this average. So the warranty terms are more than acceptable considering the price bracket.
What can you expect in terms of performance from such a cheap drive? In this case, quite a lot actually. Kingston’s claimed performance figures for the 120GB model are up to 500MB/s read and 320MB/s write. And as it happens, the drive has no problems meeting or exceeding these claims in our test system.
On the left is the CrystalDiskMark using random data (default setting), and on the right compressible (0Fill). Since Kingston is comparing this drive to a 7,200 rpm hard drive on the package, we will add one too. We’ll also throw in yesteryear’s high-end SATA drive in the form of a SandForce SF-2281, MLC-based Intel SSD.
It comes as no surprise that neither the sequential transfer rates nor, in particular, 4K writes can compete with more expensive TLC drives such as the 860 EVO. But again, this is a low-cost drive and it actually delivers more than its claimed sequential performance.
The SF-2281 Intel drive used to be a reasonably high-end drive a few years ago, based on more expensive MLC NAND. It apparently has trouble keeping up even with today’s budget SSDs though.
In the AS SSD benchmark, which tends to be a bit inconsistent, the Kingston A400 comes closer to its listed specification. Sequential reads don’t quite reach the advertised 500 MB/s, but writes are faster here also.
As for the ’10x faster than a 7,200 rpm HDD’ claim, it is unclear what this is based on, but it’s not sequential read speed (less than 3x faster) or random writes (about 80x faster).
The smaller capacities of the Kingston A400 (120GB and 240GB) will likely appeal to a different target audience than the larger variant. These come across as very affordable means of breathing some new life into an old system – replacing the hard drive as a boot device while keeping the old hard drive for spare capacity.
It would make little sense, however, to purchase a 960 GB A400 and use it as a system drive as you can get a smaller but considerably faster drive for the same price. So this and perhaps also the 480GB model may be more interesting for those who need lots of speedy storage space for e.g. video editing.
In either case, the A400 series offers more than adequate performance over the SATA interface at a price point that is currently hard to beat.
Affordable entry-level drive
The 120GB (and 240GB) Kingston A400 is an exceptionally affordable way to breathe new life into an old PC or install a secondary OS for a smooth dual-boot experience. It can’t compete with high-end SSDs in terms of warranty and endurance, but neither does it have to.
- Surprisingly good overall performance
- Fantastic price/performance ratio
- Lower-than-average TBW rating
- No DRAM buffer
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Kingston A400 120 GiB SSD Review
We tested another low-cost SSD, the Kingston A400 120 GiB. Let’s see how does it perform against its competitors. Check it out!
Recently, we tested four 120 GiB new-generation entry SSDs: the WD Green, the Corsair Force LE, the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and the SanDisk SSD Plus, which are some of the most inexpensive SSDs available today. Now we are including a new inexpensive SSD: the Kingston A400 120 GiB.
Just like most new SSDs, the A400 uses TLC (triple level cell) memories. This kind of memory stores not two, but three bits per cell. It allows a higher data density and, thus, a smaller manufacturing cost for a same capacity chip.
The bigger issue with TLC memory chips, compared to the two-bit MLC chips (and even more compared to the SLC memory chip, that store only one bit per cell) is the shorter lifespan, because there is more cell wearing on the erasing process (executed before writing new data).
The TBW, which stands for total bytes written, meaning the amount of data written on the drive before it begin to experience tearing problems. Obviously, typical TBW values are very high number and must not worry home users, but it makes this model inadvisable for applications that need a big amount of data writing, like servers or workstations for working with raw video files, for example.
In the table below, we compared the tested units. All of them use SATA-600 interface and the 2.5” form factor, with 7 mm height.
|Kingston 120GB A400 SATA 3 2.5″ Internal SSD SA400S37/120G — HDD Replacement for Increase…||Buy on Amazon|
In the table below, we compared technical specs of the tested drives.
|Kingston A400||Phison S11||–||4x 32 GiB Kingston Fh42B08UCT1-OC||40 TiB|
|WD Green||Silicon Motion SM2258XT||–||4x 32 GiB SanDisk 05497 032G||40 TiB|
|Corsair Force LE||Phison PS3110-S10C-12||256 MiB Nanya NT5CC128M16IP-DI||4x 32 GiB Toshiba TT58G51ARA||30 TiB|
|Kingston SSDNow UV400||Marvell 88SS1074||256 MiB Nanya NT5CC128M16FP-DI||8x 16 GiB Kingston FT16B08UCT1-0F||50 TiB|
|SanDisk SSD PLUS||Silicon Motion SM2246XT||–||2x 64 GiB SanDisk 05446 064G||N/A|
Figure 1 shows the box of the Kingston A400 120 GiB.
Figure 1: The Kingston A400 120 GiB package
On Figure 2, we see the Kingston A400 120 GiB, which has an aluminum casing.
Figure 2: the Kingston A400 120 GiB
On the bottom of the drive, there is a sticker with unit info, as seen in Figure 3.
Figure 3: bottom side
Opening the Kingston A400, we see the small PCB. At the solder side, there are two flash memory chips.
Figure 4: solder side of the PCB
At the component side, we see two flash memory chips and the controller chip. There is no cache memory.
Figure 5: component side of the PCB
The controller used by the Kingston A400 120 GiB is the Phison S11, labeled as Kingston CP33238B, presented in Figure 6.
Figure 6: controller chip
The flash memory chips are Toshiba 2D Planar 15 nm NAND, labeled as Kingston Fh42B08UCT1-OC.
Figure 7: flash memory chip
During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.
- Processor: Core i7-6950X @ 3.8 GHz
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Extreme6/3.1
- Memory: 64 GiB DDR4-3000, four HyperX Predator 16 GiB modules
- Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Predator 480 GiB
- Video display: Samsung U28D590D
- Power Supply: Corsair CX750
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64
Error Margin We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% cannot be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using CrystalDiskMark.
It is important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port, which could cause performance limitations.
First, we set CrystalDiskMark to “All 0x00 Fill mode” to evaluate the performance of the SSD when dealing with compressible data.
On the sequential read benchmark, the Kingston A400 was 6% faster than all the other models.
On the sequential write benchmark, the Kingston A400 was 19% faster than the WD Green, 8% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 39% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 146% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks,the Kingston A400 was 40% faster than the WD Green, 8% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 49% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 69% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random write test with 512 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 was 72% faster than the WD Green, 106% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 162% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 152% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 was 738% faster than the WD Green, 120% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 509% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 688% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 was 121% faster than the WD Green, 109% faster than the Corsair Force LE, and 102% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400 and the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Kingston A400 was 157% faster than the WD Green, 56% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 53% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 166% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Kingston A400 was 72% faster than the WD Green, 91% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 114% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 79% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
For this test, we set CrystalDiskMark to the default mode, which uses incompressible data.
On the sequential read benchmark, all the SSDs has similar performance.
On the sequential write benchmark, the Kingston A400 was 13% faster than the WD Green, 5% slower than the Corsair Force LE, 23% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 117% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 performed similarly to the WD Green and the UV400, being 12% slower than the Corsair Force LE, and 20% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random write benchmark with 512 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 was 49% faster than the WD Green, 79% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 116% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 115% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 was 160% faster than the WD Green, 70% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 77% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 179% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
And on the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Kingston A400 was 92% faster than the WD Green, 69% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 75% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 72% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Kingston A400 was 128% faster than the WD Green, 38% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 33% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 171% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Kingston A400 was 68% faster than the WD Green, 65% faster than the Corsair Force LE, 96% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and 62% faster than the SanDisk SSD Plus.
Analyzing the data obtained on our tests, the first conclusion is that the Kingston A400 120 GiB is faster with compressible data than with uncompressible data, which means its controller uses compression to speed up operations.
Compared to its competitors, we see that it was similar on the sequential transfers, but faster in random accesses, mainly the ones with 4 kiB data blocks.
So, the A400 120 GiB is a great choice if you are looking for an inexpensive SSD to use as a boot drive in a desktop PC or laptop, replacing the UV400 model from the same manufacturer.
|Kingston 120GB A400 SATA 3 2.5″ Internal SSD SA400S37/120G — HDD Replacement for Increase…||Buy on Amazon|
Last update on 2023-01-14 at 12:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
I bought this SSD on Aliexpress, using the link below.
bought here Kingston A400 from other sellers
Technical characteristics KingSton A400
|The manufacturer website||SATA SSD|
|Form-factor of the drive||2. 5 «9003» 9003 «9003» 9003 » SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s), backwards compatible with SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s)|
|Capacity options||120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, 960 GB, 1.92 TB|
|Sequential read/write speed|
|Power consumption||0.0195W idle / 0.279W avg / 0.642W (MAX) read / 1.535W (MAX) write|
|Total bytes written|
The Kingston A400 is supplied in a simple blister pack. The name of the brand and the name of the model are written on top of the cardboard. Separately, in bright red blocks, the volume of the drive and the inscription “10xFASTER” are highlighted, which implies a higher sequential write and read speed (ten times) compared to a conventional 7200 rpm HDD.
The body of the drive is made of metal and painted in dark gray. On the front surface of the case there is a logo and the name of the Kingston manufacturer, as well as four mounting screws. A protective seal is glued on one of the fixing screws. If the integrity of the seal is broken, the buyer loses the official guarantee from Kingston.
There is a sticker on the back with various information such as place of manufacture, storage capacity, QR code, serial number and other data.
This SSD connects to the computer motherboard via a standard SATA connector. For maximum drive performance, SATA III (6Gb/s) support is required. Backward compatibility with SATA II is also supported, of course with reduced write and read speeds to the disk. nine0005
Unfortunately, there was no specialized screwdriver for unscrewing the hex service screws. Therefore, I could not take photographs of the «insides» of the disk.
The computer case did not have a special bay for installing an SSD, so I bought a frame adapter for 2.5″ HDD/SSD to 3.5″ bay.
Frame adapter bought here.
Next, the drive was mounted on the adapter, and after that, the whole structure was installed in the computer.
Information about the drive in the operating system
Before starting testing, I launch a proprietary utility from Kingston, this is Kingston SSD Manager. Here we are interested in two important values: SSD Wear Indicator and Power On Hours. The SSD Wear Indicator shows us 6% wear in one year of use, with a Power On Hours (the number of hours the SSD has been on) of 2726 hours.
From this we can conclude that for 2726 hours drive resource reduced by 6%.
During operation, the average heating temperature of the SSD was kept within 31-35 0 C, during peak loads the heating temperature rose to 42 0 C. It should be noted that on the front panel of the PC case for cooling this SSD and HDD 120mm fan installed.
Brief information about the Kingston A400 in the AIDA64 program:
Based on the data provided by the AIDA64 program, we can find out that the drive has TLC NAND memory chips manufactured using the 15nm process technology. The Kingston A400 uses a Phison PS3111-S11 microprocessor with a single ARM core that can operate in a maximum of two-channel mode and also has an integrated 32 MB buffer memory (DRAM). nine0005
Brief information about Kingston A400 in CrystalDiskInfo 8.7.0:
Based on data in CrystalDiskInfo, this drive supports:
- S.M.A.R.T technology;
- NCQ technology, hardware command queuing;
- the Trim command, which allows the operating system to notify the SSD about which data blocks do not carry a payload and can not be physically stored, that is, collecting unnecessary “file garbage”, extending the life of the SSD. nine0008
Slightly more than 3 TB of drive resource was consumed during operation. In this case, the total guaranteed amount of information that can be written to disk is 40 TB (TBW).
After purchase, an empty SSD was tested in CrystalDiskMark 5.2.2, with a test file size of 1GB and 8GB (screenshots were taken immediately after purchase). At that moment, I did not test it in other programs, since there was no need to study this issue deeper. nine0005
As can be seen from the synthetic test CrystalDiskMark 5.2.2, Kingston A400 fully complies with the declared read / write characteristics. Separately, I note the sequential write speed of 470 MB / s, which exceeds the manufacturer’s value of 320 MB / s.
Now let’s move on to the tests after 1 year of operation of the drive and we will be able to visually see if the speed of the device has changed.
The first speed test will be carried out on an empty drive in the CrystalDiskMark 7. 0.0 program, test files of 1GB and 8GB. nine0005
As can be seen from the tests, the read / write speed of the SSD has not changed much.
The next test will be carried out in the AS SSD Benchmark 2.0.7316 program with a test file size of 1GB.
AS SSD Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark test results are slightly different, with slight differences.
We see a similar situation in ATTO Disk Benchmark 4.01.
In the AIDA64 Disk Benchmark program, we see a stable operation of the drive in read mode within 525 MB / s, with slight drops in read speed at the beginning of testing to 375-480 MB / s. nine0005
Next, we will carry out tests with a filled drive.
On tests, we see a slight drop in read / write speed. Even with a full drive, Kingston A400 in synthetic tests shows the speed results declared by the manufacturer.
When tested with AIDA64 Disk Benchmark in linear write mode, the data obtained shows us the actual capabilities of the TLC flash memory used in the Kingston A400. During a short recording of test files at a speed of 460 MB / s, the speed gradually decreases to 70-80 MB / s. Such a drop in the record is connected with the SLC cache of a small size, not exceeding 4GB. TLC memory bandwidth starts to actively decrease when the cache fills up. nine0005
Copying a 6 GB file:
As I mentioned earlier, this SSD was bought for basic tasks of an ordinary PC user. In the course of work there were no problems with this carrier. After one year of operation, it still demonstrates good performance in its price segment. During the year of operation, the drive resource decreased by 3 TB, in percentage terms by 6%, which I consider to be a very good indicator. Of course, it is worth considering the fact that it is not entirely correct to talk about the reliability of an SSD based on the data obtained in the application. However, at the moment there have been no problems and this SSD copes with its tasks quite well. nine0005
If we talk about its technical characteristics, then certainly this SSD is an entry-level drive for undemanding users. In the current realities, when SSDs no longer cost a lot of money and newer high-speed M.2 NVMe SSDs have appeared, 120 GB of memory is frankly small. A more correct solution would be to buy a 240 GB, 480 GB SSD. The advantages of this SSD include a relatively low cost, low power consumption (0.279 W on average), stable reading speed, which even exceeds the standards declared by the manufacturer. The disadvantages include an unconditionally low linear recording speed within 70-80 MB / s. nine0005
All in all, the Kingston A400 is a good option for upgrading your PC if you want to appreciate the advantages of an SSD over an HDD, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on it.
A400 SSD — 120GB-1.92TB
A400 SSD — 120GB-1.92TB — Kingston Technology
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The Kingston A400 Solid State Drive dramatically improves system performance by delivering faster startup, boot, and data transfer speeds than mechanical hard drives. This SSD is based on the latest generation controller with 450MB/s and 500MB/s read/write speeds 1 , and provides 10 times the speed of traditional hard drives. This results in improved performance, ultra-responsive multitasking and overall system acceleration. More reliable and durable than a hard drive, the A400 has capacities from 120GB to 960GB 2 .
- Quick launch, download and file transfer
Better reliability and durability than hard drives
- Various capacity options, the drive can be used to install applications or as a hard drive replacement
|Form factor||2. 5”|
|Interface||SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s), backward compatible with SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s)|
|Tank 2||120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB|
|Basic performance 1|| Data transfer (ATTO)
120GB — up to 500MB/s (read) and up to 320MB/s (write)
240GB — up to 500MB/s (read) and up to 350MB/s (write)
480GB — Speed up to 500MB/s (when reading) and up to 450MB/s (when writing)
960GB — Speed up to 500MB/s (when reading) and up to 450MB/s (when writing)
|Power consumption||0.0195W Idle / 0.279W Avg / 0.642W (MAX) Read / 1.535W (MAX) Write|
|Storage temperature||-40°C to 85°C|
|Operating temperature||0°C to 70°C|
|Dimensions||100.0 mm x 69. 9 mm x 7 mm (2.5”)|
|Weight|| 39g (120GB — 2.5″)
41g (240-480GB — 2.5″)
41.9g (960GB — 2.5″)
|Vibration during operation||2.17G (peak) at 7-800Hz|
|Vibration when idle||20 G (peak) at 10-2000Hz|
|Life expectancy||1 million hours (MTBF)|
|Warranty/Support 3||three-year warranty and free technical support|
|Total Bytes Written (TBW) 4|| 120GB — 40TB
240GB — 80TB
480GB — 160TB
960GB — 300TB
Frequently Asked Questions About Solid State Drives
Deciphering the catalog numbers of solid state drives
Contact technical support
Kingston SSD Manager
This SSD is designed for desktop and laptop computers and is not intended for use in a server environment.