Thursday , 31 July 2014
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KingSpec MultiCore 1TB Driverless PCIE SSD Review – 2.5GB/s With Simple Plug and Play Installation

PCIe SSDs are a funny animal as they have been out for a few years yet haven’t really caught on just yet. They are very limited to either very expensive and system specific enterprise variations or require driver installation that isn’t always as simple as instructions seem. We have yet to see an affordable plug and play PCIe SSD solution that has the ‘get up and go’ workset without the need for driver installation and thoughts of compatibility issues that keep most from PCIe purchase.

At the consumer level, the indisputed king of the hill is still the OCZ Revo 3×2 PCIe SSD (EOL) which is LSI SandForce based, capable of speeds up to 1.5GB/s and can be had under the $700 mark.  That price point will leave them in that position, as they have been for years now without a true competitor, at least until we see what OCZ’ upcoming Vector PCIe release has in store.  The stage just might be set this next year with Mushkin, Mach Xtreme and KingSpec all jumping in with PCIe SSDs of their own and with an interesting variation, they are driver-less and a simple plug and play solution.

Kingspec 1TB PCIe SSD Featured (2)

The key for so many is just that, plug and play.  Last week we found this new KingSpec PCIe SSD on our doorstep and believed it to be the recently announced plug and play 2TB MC2S81M2T PCIe SSD that spits out performance of 4GB/s read and 2.4GB/s write.  If you can imagine my picking up the package and scanning the neighbourhood for those spies wondering what has arrived from China in a day flat. Running to the office, it took all of 5 minutes to get the card from its packaging and into our Test Bench…but wait a minute…those aren’t LSI SF-2581 flash storage processors on each mSATA SSD…JMicron? I sat their bewildered and confused; this isn’t the MC2S81M2t!

INTRODUCING THE KINGSPEC MC2J677M1T PCIe SSD

Regardless, I pushed the drive into the Test Bench, turned it on, watched a brief LSI BIOS message and that was it, drive recognized!  To me, it seemed so amazing that I shut the system down, pulled the card and threw it in two different systems not 5ft behind me, even before running a bench.  This PCIe is the first that we have had in our hands that is simple plug and play.  Imagine the feeling when we conducted an ATTO Disk Benchmark next, displaying speeds of 2.5GB/s; I was drooling.

Something was off though.  This PCIe hadn’t been announced, wasn’t listed on the KingSpec website and there was nothing on the internet that could assist, other than a single KingSpec availability announcement to distributors only 3 days ago.  Is it possible this PCIe was sent off unintentionally, thinking it was the MC2S81M2t?  Doesn’t matter; it was in our hands now, a data sheet was included, it was on the work bench and it was going to be looked at real close.  Imagine ripping apart a $2000 plus 1TB PCIe card!  Yikes!

Kingspec 1TB PCIe SSD Featured (3)

THE KINGSPEC STORY

KingSpec is an ‘SSD and SSD only company’ that has been in business since 1995 and is located in Shenzhen, China. KingSpec has 1200 employees and is situated within a 15000 square foot facility and, if you might believe it, is capable of producing 3 million SSDs per month.

As much as we might tend to believe that this type of operation would be more concerned with volume than quality, we were set straight when we took a good look at this web page dedicated to their certifications which include REACH, ISO, CE FCC and RoHS.  Not only does it speak to each certification, but also, each is fully available for examination by the reader and includes specifics of the accreditation, many that describe SSD build quality measures specifically.  We found this accreditation, particularly interesting.

SPECIFICATIONS

The model number for this KingSpec PCIe SSD is MC2J67M1T, it is a PCIe 2.0×8 device and available in 500MB and 1TB capacities, our sample being 1TB. Performance is listed at 1.9GB/s read and 1.6GB/s write with a high of 84K IOPS.  They describe sustained performance of 1850MB/s read and 600MB/s write but wait for it as we tested this in Iometer, while in steady state, and this card rocks.  Disk access is listed at 0.1ms and power requirements are 8W idle and 18W with a write endurance of 8 years @ 100GB write/ day, using 32GB capacity packages.  If you are a bit amazed at the power requirements but are looking for a PCIe solution, be ready for similar all around and this SSD comes with a two year warranty.

Kingspec 1TB PCIe SSD Featured (1)

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • MikeGR7

    Thanks for the review Les!
    So many news lately.
    I think plug and play is good. But 4K is …. well pretty bad for a desktop environment>
    Wonder if and how much tuning the C states whould improve things though.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Yes it would definitely be higher optimized and maybe we can check that out later. 4K’s will always be at that relative same level so I can’t say as I agree that it is so bad. Wait for it…

  • carecu

    the price for 1T is wrong on page 7 at the end “MSRP $1620 (1TB) and $1970 (500GB” should be “MSRP $2620 (1TB) and $1970 (500GB”

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Corrected and thank you…

  • iq100

    LSI has admitted to a serious problem with their MPT2 firmware used in their HBA products. Basically LSI firmware will NOT allow host OS, like Windows 7, to operate in write back cache mode. Each 4K write request must wait on the SSD to complete the write. This effectively prevents using the NEEDED multi-channel write capability inside the SSD subsystems controller. Does NOT really matter which controller is used. If you need fast 4K random writes DO NOT USE LSI. LSI is taking way too long to fix this! LSI Atlanta support has logged this as a repeatable defect in the MPT2 firmware for almost 2 months now, and has escalated without it being fixed. The reason may be LSI marketing which originally tried to sell their megaraid products, which had on board cache and battery backup. The MEGARAID products enable write back cache. All non MEGARAID LSI MPT2 firmware tell windows that write back cache cannot be enabled, and to consult the manufacture (LSI). The AS SSD and Anvil 4K random QD=1 4KBytes/sec rates are the direct result of LSI MPT2 firmware crippling the ability to do overlapped/parallel multi-channel small writed to SSD NANDS if you have not invested in a LSI MEGARAID product. Should be the basis of a class action lawsuit when LSI chooses to prevent the buyer from using multi-channel write capability you have bought! And yes you should use UPS to avoid data corruption if you lose power. But that should have been kept a separate concern by LSI. This is what happens when a company is driven my marketing and not technology!

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Thank you very much for this information but…if I can ask…how would you then account for the correct resuilts in CDM, ATTO, true transfer testing, QuickBench and then ATTO?

      • iq100

        Looking at your ATTO posted test, you are using its defaults QD=4 (you want to test with QD=1 to be comparable to AS SSD and Anvil) and Direct I/O with Overlapped I/O. ATTO may have the ability to force cache write back. Do to Windows 7, Device Manager, and check the write policy being used for the KingSpec device. See if you can toggle cache write back box. This is the primary setting which causes 4K random writes to drop to only approximately 2MByte/sec. Also your ATTO test screen shows Transfer Size of 256MB. You need to increase to much larger size. I use 12GB, which is all of my memory whenever possible. 256MB is so small as to sometimes being the size of the SSD’s built in buffer, so you are NOT testing its NAND write rate!

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        I was refering more to the true transfer and steady state testing.

      • iq100

        LesLesLes@TheSSDReview:disqus wrote>”Thank you very much for this information but…if I can ask…how would you then account for the correct resuilts in CDM, ATTO, true transfer testing, QuickBench and then ATTO? …I was refering more to the true transfer and steady state testing.”

        Duh? Are you the author of TheSSDReview? Are you aware that for applications like database updates and certain interactive GUIs that the 4K Random Write score is MORE important that than sequential large transfers?

        You own review wrote in the UPDATE section>”… The only common element between the KingSpec and Mushkin PCIe SSDs is that both RAID controllers rely on LSI Fusion MPT2 firmware. We are investigating further but believe this firmware to be the root of this issue and limited specifically to compatibility with AS SSD and Anvil Storage Utilities. …”

        This properly corrected TheSSDReview’s earlier speculation that it was the AS SSD and Anvil tests that were in error. In fact, it is the LSI firmware that will NOT allow using write back cache settings? Did you bother to try and confirm this in Windows 7 by going to Device Manager and looking at the Policies tab for the device?

        Anvil testing section you wrote>”4K Random Write was 2.32MBytes/sec”
        I correctly reflects the bug in the LSI MPT2 firmware.

        Lastly it is hard to believe that in all the testing TheSSDReview does that they would not understand the importance of 4K Random Write performance for those that want/need to use the SSD for database updates, interactive GUIs, et. al.
        Thanks for your efforts, but frankly I little disappointed in your understanding of these things.

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        K… I am going to close this off with a response but the back and forth is bordering on removal of replies. You are OBVIOUSLY upset at your being caught in a predicament with your hardware and LSI not responding. Somehow we became the target but, from our side of things, there is alot more investigation into such matters than just taking a poster’s word for it. From our part, we contacted LSI who will return with an answer and we will provide it here. I asked you politely how you would account for testing that provided credible and accurate results in comparison to the Anvil and AS SSD difficutlies.

        Your return then speaks of our use of compressible data at times and, well that is just the way it is in the real world. There will be people that will buy this card and want to ensure it matches manufacturers specifications and we need to provide that avenue for their comparison. This card is geared towards the consumer and enthusiast for the most part. With respect to incompressible testing, you might want to check back because we did go back and conduct high sequential tessting at 100% random and, in fact, it was much better than our original result so we went with it.

        As for our server testing standards, they are pretty much industry standard and the composition of data in different servers is very uniform, unless of course we are honing in on a specifc setup. Thanks ahead.

      • iq100

        Thanks for you thoughtful response. Your review included a screen shot of Anvil 1.051 RC6 showing 4K Write of 2.32 MByte/sec. Your UPDATE section wrote>” … LSI Fusion MPT2 firmware. We are investigating further but believe this firmware to be the root of this issue and limited specifically to compatibility with AS SSD and Anvil Storage Utilities.”

        I pointed out that it is well known that getting such low approx. 2MByte/sec 4K Random Write scores occurs when the firmware is unable to set ‘write caching on the device’. This is checkbox in Windows 7 Device Manager, and I suggested you look at this and report back to confirm this is the problem with the LSI Fusion MPT2 firmware.

        You wrote>”… Your return then speaks of our use of compressible data …”

        NO. NOT ME. I never mentioned ‘compressible data’. That is NOT the issue.

        You wrote>”… we contacted LSI who will return with an answer and we will provide it here.”
        GREAT. I look forward to you sharing what you find out.
        Thanks for your efforts.
        What I wrote was not personal. Its all about testing details. Only Anvil and AS SSD (if you could get AS SSD to run) are measuring QD=1 4K Writes. Not the other tests. A 4K Random Write speed of 2.32 MB/s (your Anvil results) need to be explained, or fixed, so that we can use this fast PCI-e SSD for small database writes and other applications driven by small random writes.
        Keep up your good work!

  • Techgeek

    Hi, Great review.

    Please comment on cpu usage by this and all other pcie SSD cards as they all use these cpu cycles to perform all i/o operations. It may be that pcie needs just too many cpu cycles that may affect the overall System performance down considerably.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      CPU usage varied depending on tests with an average of 5% and never over the 7.5% mark for any. Unfortunately we can’t post all results.

  • ??????

    ?????? ?? ?? ????????? ???????????? ??????? Win 7, 8, 8.1? ????? ?? ?? ????????? ???????? ? Win 8 ? UEFI? ??? ???????

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      We haven’t tested on a Windows 8 system and will forward your question to KingSpec directly.

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        From Kingspec: “Our Card is compatible with operating system Win 7, 8, 8.1 and UEFI.

  • ??????

    ???????? ????, ? ?? ?????? ????? ?????????, ?????? ???? ??????? ???, ? ???? ????? ? ?????? SSD PCI-Ex, ? ?????????? ? ???????? ???????, ? ?? ????? ????????? (?? ???? ????, ???????????, ????????? SSD PCI, SATA ? ?????? ???? ? ??? ?????). ???????? ????????? ????????????? Win 8 ? UEFI ?????????. ????? ? ????????? ?????????? ????? ? ?????? ?? ????????????? ????? SSD ? Win 8 ???????? ?? ?????.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Check out our release of the Mushkin PCIe yesterday where we provided comparison.

  • ??????

    ???? ??? ????? ???????? ????? ????? ???? ??? ? ?????????)))

  • ??????

    ???? ?? 13 ???????? ?????? ? ????????? ? ???? ?????? ?????? ? ????????????, ?? ? ?????? ?????? ????????? ? ??????? SSD ? ?????? ?????????, ? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ???????….

  • Tucker

    Why not use incompressible data to test? cant figure it out or what?

  • gerwingr

    Well, i am kind of caught up in all of this, ” performance that is ” this is very exciting, as i need the speed for video editing. Thanks Les, good web site you have, Cheers from Thomas, in Vancouver Canada

  • Arnoldo Giovani

    Can you use any mSATA with this PCI-E SSD? I mean, can you simply put Samsung 840 Evo mSATA in each slot? If it can, I will definitely buy this PCI-E SSD. Thanks before.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      We have the board on hand but I am hesitant to rip and replace as we haven’t got four similar sample drives…sorry.

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