The Kingston KC3000 2TB is positioned in the high-end M.2 PCIe 4 SSD segment. It has a maximum theoretical throughput of 7GB/s, offers an endurance of 1,600TB and comes with a five-year warranty.
With its KC3000 series, Kingston offers high-end SSDs that are supposed to overshadow the tenors of the genre such as the Corsair MP600 Pro XT, Seagate FireCuda 530 and other WD Black SN850. These models take the form of classic M.2 2280 modules operating on a PCIe 4 interface with support for the NVMe 1.4 standard.
The KC3000 are delivered without heat sinks, or at least without radiators. Instead, the manufacturer opted for "a low-profile aluminum-graphene heatsink". A pompous name for a simple sticker consisting of a thermal foil, affixed to the front side of the SSD; the other side, which also contains memory chips, is satisfied with a sticker without thermal properties. So you shouldn't expect miracles, but this device has the advantage of making the KC3000 compatible with Sony's PlayStation 5 - provided that you add a real third-party radiator; count on about ten euros in specialized stores.
On the component side, there is a Phison PS5018-E18 controller, as well as a high-end 12nm chip with three Cortex-R5 cores to handle a maximum of eight channels. The controller is accompanied by 2 GB of cache memory. The memory used is screen-printed Kingston but actually originates in Micron's factories. It is 3D TLC NAND memory with 176 layers of cells.
This chip configuration is strictly identical to the one used in the Corsair MP600 Pro XT or the Seagate FireCuda 530. It is up to Kingston to offer a sufficiently polished firmware optimization to tease its competitors.
The Kingston KC3000 2Tb is guaranteed for five years or 1,600Tb of written data, whichever comes first. The writing endurance is considerable and corresponds to 877 GB of data daily for five years. This endurance will never be put to the test of the user, except in the case of use in a server - an area for which this SSD is not necessarily intended.
The SSD Manager application can be downloaded from the Kingston website. This utility allows you to check the life of the product, the presence of problems via the SMART instructions, or to update the firmware of the SSD if a new one is available (automated search). Simple and efficient, we don't ask for much more.
SLC Cache Management
Kingston has opted for a dynamic SLC cache system, an operation directly authorized by the memory controller. A rather practical system since it proposes to accelerate the writing work on a third of the available space. It therefore makes it possible to copy large amounts of data. Outside this comfort zone, the throughput drops to around 1.5 GB/s according to our measurements. This is a very high value, with some models falling well below 500 MB/s.
The Kingston KC3000 heats up fast and hard. The thermal sticker doesn't work miracles and it seems unreasonable to use this SSD without a real radiator. You should know that most desktop motherboards now offer one as standard. Otherwise, you will have to turn to a third-party model as mentioned earlier in this article. Without it, the throughputs tend to drop sharply, and this after only a few minutes of loading (significant throttling above 75°C, so as not to exceed the temperature limit set at 89°C by the manufacturer). This is a fault that can be found on all SSDs equipped with this controller/memory pair.
Kingston promises a sequential throughput of 7 GB/s in reading and writing. Our laboratory measurements prove him right since we found an average of 7.4 GB/s in sequential reading and 6.9 GB/s in writing. Values that are, not surprisingly, quite close to or even higher than those observed on competing SSDs, such as the Corsair MP600 Pro XT and the Seagate FireCuda 530.
For random accesses, the manufacturer's site reports 1 MIOPS in both read and write. Our readings are a little less ambitious with 867 KIOPS in reading and 765 KIOPS in writing. Again, these values are comparable to competing models, although they are slightly lower.
Finally, the manual copy speed is excellent with 2.45 GB/s for reading and 1.9 GB/s for writing. Rarely reached values.
The Kingston KC3000 2TB SSD excels in its field. It provides high data rates, even higher than most of its competitors. The little thermal sticker, however, fails to tame this model, which heats up fast and hard. It is necessary to use a heat sink - on the motherboard or a third party - to get the most out of it. This is also true for use in the Sony PlayStation 5.