Kingston on Monday announced its new KC600 family of solid state drives, and no, they're not of the fancy PCI Express 4.0 variety. They're not even PCIe/NVMe or M.2 form factor drives—the KC600 line unabashedly gives another go-round to the 2.5-inch SATA form factor. For gaming, there's nothing wrong with that, and the best SSD for gaming can very well be a 2.5-inch SATA drive when factoring in the cost. Besides, with Black Friday deals right around the corner, prices may drop well below what Kingston is offering at launch.
In most cases, there is virtually no perceptible difference when gaming between a SATA and PCIe SSD. It's only when performing heavy file lifting, such as transferring 4K videos, that the added performance comes into play (though verifying the integrity of game installations via Steam can be much quicker on an NVMe PCIe drive).
Still, prices have come down for M.2 SSDs (both PCIe and SATA). As an added bonus, they're smaller and do not require any cabling. So there are still reasons to consider an M.2 drive over a 2.5-inch model, when possible.
As to the KC600 series, these new drives are built around 3D triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory chips, now commonly found on budget-oriented SSDs. They're offered in 2TB, 1TB, 512GB, and 256GB capacities.
Performance breaks down as follows:
- KC600 512GB-2TB: up to 550MB/s sequential read, up to 520MB/s sequential write
- KC600 256GB: up to 550MB/s sequential read, up to 500MB/s sequential write
All of the drives sport the same random read and write performance, up to 90,000 IOPS and 80,000 IOPs, respectively. They're also offered as standalone drives, or part of an upgrade kit that includes cloning software, and backed by a 5-year warranty.
Only a couple of capacities are available at the moment. They include:
- KC600 512GB (upgrade kit)—$88.40, Kingston
- KC600 512GB (standalone)—$72.80, Kingston
- KC600 256GB (upgrade kit)—$59.80, Kingston
- KC600 256GB (standalone)—$44.20, Kingston
Kingston notes these drives support a "full-security suite that includes AES-XTS 256-bit hardware-based encryption, TCG Opal 2.0, and eDrive, allowing users to protect and secure their data." Even so, strictly for gaming, these price points are a bit high. To give just one example, an Adata SU750 512GB SSD can be purchased for $52.99 right now on Amazon, which is nearly $20 cheaper than the KC600 512GB.
Street pricing could change things up once these drives land at places like Amazon and Newegg. Until then, there are better bang-for-buck options out there in 2.5-inch SATA territory.