Kingston KC3000 PCIe 4.0 NVME SSD Review – Did Kingston Just Release a ‘Game’ Changer?

One of the oldest names in SSDs is Kingston.  One might not expect such as Kingston, by all sense of the term, is a third party manufacturer…or distributor.  Unlike Samsung, WD/SanDisk, Intel, Kioxia, Micron, SKHynix and a few others, they do not actually own a fab that ‘grows’ the silicon ingots to manufacture NAND wafers.  Unbelievably, the original Kingston SSDNow release was a rebranded Intel X-25m and, in doing a Google search just now, I could find availability of that SSD still on Amazon.  Was Amazon even a thing when this was released?  Nope.  Not unless you were going there.

And Kingston has a bit of a storied history as well.  In fact, one of our most popular ever articles posted years back had Kingston front and center and it was memorable.  The interesting thing is though; Kingston has a massive following and does great business in technology.  In our own articles, it is most obvious as our traffic jumps exponentially with every Kingston post we publish.  Let’s see if we can do it today in our review of the newest Kingston KC3000 Gen 4 NVMe SSD.


The Kingston KC3000 is a PCIe 4.0 x4 (4 lane) M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor SSD that uses the latest NVMe 1.4 protocol.  It will be available in capacities of 512GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB and specifications list read and write performance of up to 7GB/s with up to 1 million read and write IOPS.  To assist with cooling, the black branding you see in this photo is actually a very thin low profile graphene aluminum heat spreader.  This may suffice in some applications such as a PS5 installation, but it doesn’t in our testing and we found it necessary to add an additional heat sink just to make sure we were getting top performance.


The KC3000 is a two-sided SSD and the components on the bottom are hidden by a white branding sticker that describes the SSD.  I don’t know why but I like the fact that the capacity is right there in large lettering.  Maybe I am getting old but I can recall fighting to find the barely visible capacity in some SSDs.


The components of this SSD are a very familiar combination and make up one of the most powerful SSDs on the market today.  They are similar to that of the Corsair MP600 Pro (reviewed here), the Seagate FireCuda (reviewed here), and our original Phison E18 B47R Fortis Evaluation Sample SSD (reviewed here), but for the fact that Kingston likes to brand their components with their own information.  We will clarify right off though that different manufacturers choose different firmware variations and, as this SSD combination matures, we see new things that differ from the previous.


The Kingston KC3000 is built on Phison’s ever popular PS5018-E18 Gen 4 NVMe SSD 8-channel controller, eight packages of Micron’s best 3D TLC B47R and two packages of presumably DDR4 DRAM cache buffer.  The Phison E18 is a 3x Arm Cortex R5 NVMe controller with 2x Phison proprietary IP CoXProcessors for a total of 5 cores. It has an 8-channel design with 32CE, relies on NVMe 1.4 protocol, utilizes the TSMC 12nm manufacturing process, has a 4th Gen LDPC engine and is PCIe 4.0 4-lane running at up to 1,600MT/s.

MSRP listed pricing for the KC3000 is $106.99 (512GB), $174.99 (1TB), $399.99 (2TB) and $999.99 (4TB).  It comes with a 5-year limited warranty and has an endurance rating of 400TBW (512GB) and that number doubles with every jump in capacity. Check Amazon for Kingston KC3000 NVMe SSD availability and pricing.


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    Nice Review Les! The 2 TB stick you reviewed is a double sided, but the heat sink only covers the front side. Does this mean most of the heat is generated by the controller on the front side and that the NAND chips’ heat is negligible? What would be the possibility of reviewing the 1 TB stick?

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    Nice review, esp. the variety of tests done. Amazon wants $1,667.00 for a 4TB, $402.00 for a 1TB. That’s quite the premium for its admittedly premium performance. Course it’s not available yet either. In the end, SSDs like this are what we need to raise the performance bar for those of us that need it.

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      I am hoping those prices are errors as they arent even close to MSRP. Let’s wait in see. If necessary, the report will be amended to comment on such. Thanks for jumping in!

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    Thanks again for the test.
    Why game changer? I don’t see any performance that justifies that title.

    As a normal consumer, for me with 5 – 7 GB/s best-case peak write/read scenarios, everything is already hella fast.
    What matters most now is 1) 4k QD1 random write/read and 2) write intensive usage regarding size of slc-cache, before it has to write back to TLC.
    Everything jumped a few GB/s in sequential and best-case synthetic test,
    but 4k QD1 read only doubled and write only tripled since the first NVME ssd.

    You measure whoping 37 MB/s more in 4K AS SSD benchmark than the plextor M10P, but in the real world test 15 GB OS file size, it is still just as fast as the Plextor M10P?
    So why? Not optimized for small file sizes outside of synthetic tests?

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      Game changer for the headliner as it was our fastest game loading time yet, reflective of the 100MB/s+ low 4k read performance. I would suggest it is optimized for small file sizes as we are comparing two of the best reviewed yet in this and the M10P. Thanks for taking the time to write.

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      Currently, the Game Changer is the Seagate FireCuda 530 1-TB SSD which is the King of 1-TB M.2 22×80 PCIe NVMe SSDs, and that is because most people opt to purchase the 1 TB M.2 SSDs versus 2 or 4 or lower capacities…!

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    For me the WD SN850, one year old, was the king of performance just 1 – 2 months ago, where it matters most.
    Almost 280 GB of pseudo slc-cache with the fastest 4K performance. Only few have slightly more than 300 GB cache for just the 1 TB version.
    Controller optimized for 4kB IOs in the first run (at least in the first run).

    Now the new generation Nand BiCS5 by WD/Toshiba (partnered with Kioxa) and 176-layers by micron shows it strength in the corsair MP600XTa or Firecuda 530.
    I guess the WD SN950 will take the crown again.
    I wonder if the BiCS 6 flash will follow the generation 5 shortly after.

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    I was looking for 1TB nvme pcie4. Added WD Black in cart. then suddenly saw KC3000 and Fury Renegade which is $60 cheaper. What’s the catch ? KC3000 is also slightly cheaper than Fury Renegade

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      The catch is that there is a great SSD available with great pricing. If there was a negative about this SSD, myself and countless other reviewers would have found and published such.

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        What about its temperature and thermal throttling…? In your review you mentioned that the benchmarks were not possible without adding another heat sink. Would that mean Kingston is selling this drive without an adequate heat sink…?

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        Kingston is selling its premium product no different than Samsung, Sabrent, TeamGroup, WD, Seagate, Mushkin and Silicon Power have so let’s try to avoid the ‘shock and awe’ comments. As we have done with several products, we have provided our thoughts on temperature in the same fashion we typically do, adding a bit more emphasis as this drive has a heat spreader, most likely for normal use or that of a PS5. Our testing is as intensive as it gets and so I added that we needed the larger heatsink for heat concerns. We prefer the lowest temps for our testing. I don’t recall mentioning thermal throttling whatsoever.

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    Les, please, pretty please, with sugar on top… Test such modern SSDs, like this one, on PCIe3 as well. Not on new motherboards but on “standard” stuff, on the usual iron that people have at home.

    Cause, if the low QD performance of such modern drive is due to fast controller/NAND and not strictly PCIe4 spec, a lot of people would be interested in buying such PCIe4 SSDs to install in their laptops/desktops that only have PCIe3 M2, as it would translate in double the storage performance in real life.
    (by real life I mean decent QD of 1-4, not 32)

    If this drive keeps its QD 1-4 performance on PCIe3, I wouldn’t care that it can’t exceed 3.5GB/s because of the PCIe3 spec, I’d be happy that it’s two times faster than any PCIe3 drive in real life.

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    Great review! Regarding the addition of a more powerful heat sink, did you remove the grapheme aluminum heat spreader and then attach a more powerful heat sink or did you put the new heat sink right on top of the graphene aluminum heat spreader? We are assembling a QNAP NAS device using 2 Kingston KC3000 M.2 drives. This NAS will be the primary storage device where VMs and network shares are stored. There is plenty of space inside the QNAP to attach a rather tall heat sink onto these M.2s, so we are considering the SABRENT M.2 2280 SSD Rocket Heatsink (SB-HTSK). Any thoughts or recommendations? Thank you for your time and consideration.

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    Do you have any idea why my Random 4k write is limited to 250k ? instead of 1000k as Kingston claims… ?
    I do use a Gen3 m2 slot but the random read/write speeds shouldn’t be affected.
    Also my random read speed is close to 700k, still way more than the read speed.

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    It does throttle. Awefully. Computer almost comes to complete halt. Has taken me 12 months to figure this out.

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