Benchmarking and comparing the Kingston A1000 480GB PCIe NVMe M.2

Contents

Performance ratings are great, but it helps to have some to compare it to so here, we will be recording scores from 3 different drives.  The WD Black 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, WD Blue 500GB SSD and of course the Kingston A1000 480GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.

I will pin up the results next to each other so that you can see them, though they might be a bit small but I will also have a graph where I compile all the numbers to make it much easier to view and compare.

Before I do that, here are my system specification so that you can compare with your own.

For testing, we will be using 4 pieces of software, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Boot Racer and Crystal Disk Mark.  Let’s start off with ATTO Disk Benchmark.

ATTO Disk Benchmark is used to help measure storage system performance.

You can click on the image to zoom in and get a better view but the graphs below have the same information much easier to read.

Interesting results, the Kingston A1000 wins all of the Write speed tests across the board.  The Read is won by the WD Black, but on the 48MB Read, they went down to the performance of the A1000.

The 256KB Write was 24.71% faster in favor of the Kingston A1000 drive, read was 9.37% fast in favor of the WD Black.  512KB Read was 6.57% fast in favor of the WD Black and Write was 23.97% faster in favor of the Kingston A1000.  There is no comparison on the 48MB Read, since both drives performed the same, but the write favored the Kingston A1000 by 30.10%.  The 64MB Read favored the WD Black by 6.66% and write favored the A1000 by 39.76%.

I put all 3 benches side by side, cutting out parts that were not needed to make it a little easier to see.

If you notice on the right, the WD Black 512GB on write starts off at 809,666 but just gradually degrades in performance, while both the A1000 and WD Blue maintain speeds, even improve.

I won’t mention why this occurs right now, but I will a little later in the review mention why this occurs, I want to make sure the other results match with these findings.

I also do not discuss the SATA drive much, because you can see the performance on the M.2 PCI-e SSD’s is doubled, sometimes even tripled to that of the SATA drives.  It’s on there as a point of reference.

ATTO provided results pointing to the A1000 being the leader of the pack in terms of write performance

Let’s now move over to CrystalDiskMark.

Crystal disk mark uses Microsoft’s DiskSpd test to calculate its results.  DiskSpd is a load storage generator and performance test tool from the Windows Server and Cloud Server infrastructure Engineering teams.

The performance here, seems align somewhat to the performance of ATTO.  We can see the Sequential Read of Q32TI (multi Queues & Threads), the WD Black came in at a lead of 9.60% but then the A1000 took the lead in write at 28.73%.  In Seq (Single threaded Reads/Writes), the WD Black took lead over the A1000 by 26.83%, but then again on the write side, the A1000 took the lead over the WD Black by 25.52%.

Jumping to the 4K side, under 4K Q32TI (multi Queues & Threads) Radom 4KiB Read/Write with multi Queues & Threads) we find the WD Black again takes the lead over the A1000 by a 2.87% and the A1000 in write takes the lead by 21.76%.  At 4K, it seems that the WD Black took the lead on both read and write by 11.87% and 3.94%.  This is the first one though that the WD Blue actually stayed close to, 3.94% is not a lot but it still is ahead.

Disk access is of course incredibly important, the ability to transfer files to and from drives, write files, copy files and all but how does a PCI-e M.2 SSD affect performance during boot times?  Well we are going to be using Boot racer to find out just how much it is affected.

This is an example of the run performed for the Kingston A1000.

To break it down for you, it took 6 seconds from POST (Power On Self Test) to boot into Windows and 14 seconds after getting in Windows for the OS to be perfectly clear with all startup programs loaded. Let’s see how the other drives compared.

Wow, so double the time to get into Windows from a standard SSD then from an PCI-e M.2 SSD, down from 13 seconds to 7 or 6 seconds.  The time to desktop though are relatively similar between the 3 from 14 seconds on the A1000, 13 seconds on the WD Black and 15 Seconds on the WD Blue.   Overall boot result was about 8.8 seconds longer on the standard SSD, the WD Blue.

The trade off between the Kingston A1000 and WD Black is fierce.  The A1000 took 1 second less time to boot into Windows than the WD Black, but the WD Black took 1 second less booting to the desktop than the Kingston A1000.  If it were up to those 2 alone, it would be a stand-off, but with the overall boot result, the Kinston A1000 took the lead, completing the entire boot process in .079 seconds less time than the WD Black.

With all this testing, the results can be a little confusing because there is no 100% clear winner between the WD Black and the Kingston A1000 depending on your task.  The WD Blue was not a real contender, added to the comparison mainly to show you the performance difference between the 2 different technologies.

During my testing, I tested the drives (M.2 Drives) on the M.2 socket to generate heat to see which drive got the hottest.  After performing all my testing on each drive, I went back and tested each driving passing it quickly through each test and checking the final temperatures.  Here are my findings.

HWMonitor

Using HWMonitor to test these, again I ran ATTO and once that finished, I quickly ran CrystalDiskMark, both of which quickly heat up the drives I recorded these numbers.  The drives begin to throttle at 70°C and then this is where you begin to see the drop in performance.

As the temperature increases, it will throttle more but during the peak the Kinston A1000 hit was 71°C and the peak the WD Black hit was 82°C.  Both drives do not come fitted with a heatsink, they are bare drives with labels placed over the IC’s so they will rely heavily on any air you can have pass over them.  I also tested this same method on the second PCI-e M.2 socket towards the bottom of the motherboard, away from the video card.  Here are my results on the same tests.

The 2 tests above are not from the same pass of course, I took screenshots and copy and pasted the images here so that you have a complete and easy to view picture.  Now the temperatures for all 3 of these drives did not immediately ramp up, it got to these temperatures after at least 15 minutes of testing and the temps do drop relatively quickly once the strain on them has dropped.

This explains why the drop in performance in the WD drive noticed in ATTO that significantly affected its performance.  The ability these drives have to throttle is great and helps to increase its longevity as it lowers its access time which will aid in cooling itself down but of course this does mean the performance will decrease temporarily until it can regain temperatures to safety operate.  The degradation of performance is only temporary.

The Kingston A1000 being single sided helps retain its cooler temperatures since there is only one side to cool.   The WD Black 512GB drive is double sided, it may cool the upper portion well, but the lower portion being so close to the motherboard does not allow for air to pass as well over the modules.  This can cause the modules to heat up then radiating the heat across to the entire PCB and other modules on the top side.

Aside from the drives performance, the package brought a key for Acronis True Image HD, so let’s check that out.  This is a brief overview of the Acronis software included.

After downloading this 421MB package from Kingston.com/cloning, we start the install which is basically just click install, then Start the application.

Once you have agreed to the EULA, you enter the serial number on the back of the card, then click Activate.

The software opens up under the Tools section, but let’s start from the top at Backup.  Here we can select to back up the entire PC or another destination.

The Archive, Dashboard and Sync sections are not available in this version of the software.

In the tools section, we can Clone the Disk (this is available in this version), a Rescue Media Builder (this is available in this version), Acronis Universal Restore that allows a restore on dissimilar hardware (Not available in this version).  “More Tools” opens up a Windows Explorer window with shortcuts to more programs.

  • Acronis System Report
    • Creates a system report to provide more information on your system.

  • Activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager
    • Is not available in this product edition
  • Add New Disk

  • Like Disk Manager, this allows you to add drives that you have just introduced into your system.
  • Bootable Rescue Media Builder
    • Just like the Rescue Media Builder allows you to create a Windows or a WinPE media to create bootable rescue media.
  • Clone Disk
    • Just like the previous “Clone Disk” allows you to clone your drives.
  • Drive Cleanser
    • Allows you to wipe a drive, this is not like Disk Cleanup, careful with it.
  • Manage Acronis Secure Zone
    • Is not available in this product edition.
  • System Clean-up
    • Is not available in this product edition
  • Try&Decide
    • Is not available in this product edition

  • Account
    • The account tab provides information like the Serial number use, build version and an upgrade button so that you can upgrade from within the software.

  • Help
    • Allows you to open the help memory, generate a system report and select/change the Interface language.

The software is basically included with most name brand SSD’s and while not full featured, the features it does include are handy.

With all of this out of the way, let’s jump onto the last portion of this review, Final Thoughts and Conclusions.

Continue: 

Iggy Castillo

Iggy Castillo

Senior Editor an Reviewer at Dragonblogger.com
I have spent many years in the PC boutique name space as Product Development Engineer for Alienware and later Dell through Alienware's acquisition and finally Velocity Micro. During these years I spent my time developing new configurations, products and technologies with companies such as AMD, Asus, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and more. The Arts, Gaming, New & Old technologies drive my interests and passion. Now as my day job, I am an IT Manager but doing reviews on my time and my dime.
Iggy Castillo

@zangza

I love the arts and technology. IT Manager by day at Jewett Automation and Reviewer by night at https://t.co/eYqx0uJofz and my own at @ThisBytesForYou
RT @NellyFRyz: Save $122 on AMD Ryzen 7 2700X plus get a free game choice. WQL. https://t.co/hstyE3okgq https://t.co/8sTBDkL4g9 - 1 week ago
Iggy Castillo