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Have you switched to using solid state drives yet? Over the last few months, the prices of SSDs have generally taken a fall. Nowadays, you’ll easily find an affordable one on Amazon to replace the hard drive in your laptop and give it a new breath of life.

What are the benefits of utilising SSDs? Well, that’s what we’re going to discover today. Using the Kingston SSDNow V+ series solid state drive review as a case study, you’ll find out if SSDs are suited for you. Not to mention, we have a 256GB unit to give away. All of this and more after the jump.


What do you know about the contributions of SSDs to your system? I’m guessing that you’ll immediately think about better performance — and you’d be right. I’ve personally dabbled with excuses to purchase an SSD for my MacBook and finally came up with a list of 5 good reasons why I should.

The majority of non-tech savvy folks will probably think that the processor is responsible for a computer running faster or slower, and that the hard drive is only used for storage. That’s not entirely true — they both work together intimately to determine your system’s performance. In a nutshell, the faster the hard drive, the better the seek times (reading speeds) and hence, better performance. That’s why hard drives are available in several speeds i.e. 5400, 7200 and 10,000 rpm — this refers to the rate at which the disk rotates. In general, the faster the better.

On the other hand, SSDs have no moving parts. Data is stored on flash memory and this vastly improves seek time since the drive doesn’t need to spin up and reposition its head on the platter to read the information. I’m generalising here, and there are typically two different types flash memory used in SSDs but you get the drift — SSDs are faster than the conventional spinning (hard) disk drives.

Jumping into our review, the Kingston SSDNow V+ series solid state drive is a pretty good bargain, especially since Kingston provides an optional upgrade kit bundle for their SSDs. Kingston knows that most of us will already have existing data on our HDDs and require a simple method of transferring the data over to the new drive.

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This V+ series drive is in its second-generation now and uses the MLC NAND flash memory. It comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB capacities; uses a Toshiba controller and supports TRIM. It comes with 128MB onboard cache and a 3-year Kingston warranty along with 24/7 tech support. It also boasts a life expectancy of 1 million operating hours (or 114 years) and 10,000 write cycles.

The kit consists of everything you’d need to install this in a desktop or laptop and includes mounting brackets for 3.5″ bays, a USB external enclosure, 3 different types of cables and an OEM copy of Acronis True Image on a CD.

Before switching to the new SSD, I decided to “benchmark” my existing HDD to give you an idea of the performance you would expect from an old 5400 rpm hard drive. This isn’t going to be very stringent or scientific — instead, all I wanted to do is simply compare the before and after speeds. I used DiskTester for this task (which isn’t free, unfortunately).

As you can see from the results, my (spinning) hard drive’s performance was abysmal. It only managed to read at a maximum speed of 46.8 MB/s and write at 41.5 MB/s. Now, this is a very basic test performed on a filled 2 year old drive so I didn’t expect blazing performance.

Setting up the SSD was fairly painless. The main idea is to use the upgrade kit and software provided to clone the existing drive over to the SSD. Since I was on a Mac, all I had to do was connect the SSD via USB, initiate the drive and use Carbon Copy Cloner 15 Must-Have Free Apps For Your Mac & Giveaway 15 Must-Have Free Apps For Your Mac & Giveaway Read More to clone my existing hard drive over. It took about 4 hours for the process to complete.

Once that was done, I replaced my old HDD with the SSD and booted up while holding the Option key to select the boot drive. Instant gratification! The SSD booted up the operating system in a matter of seconds — a process that used to take about a minute to complete. I was able to feel the speed of the drive immediately.

Just to add some numbers to the review, I performed the “benchmark” test again and this time, the drive returned an average read speed of 209 MB/s and write speed of 173 MB/s. Kingston actually claims a sequential read throughput of 230 MB/s and 180 MB/s for writing.

If you were expecting more numbers, I’m sorry to disappoint but I’m just like everyone else. I use my computer on a daily basis and will review the SSD under normal everyday conditions. For a comprehensive benchmark of this drive, head over to StorageReview.

The first thing I noticed was better application loading times. Heavy-duty apps like Photoshop which took years to load with my old HDD now only takes a matter of seconds to boot up. 4 seconds max. Other applications that I use everyday like including browsers (Safari and Firefox) and text editors loaded as soon as I clicked on them.

The next thing I noticed was better virtual memory (VM) performance. Since the read/write speeds were drastically increased and the drive no longer has to spin up, disk caching was more efficient. As a result, I get almost no spinning beachballs when using memory intensive applications like Safari or Photoshop even though my MacBook is still only running on 2GB of memory.

Switching to an SSD is probably one of the more rewarding upgrades you will probably perform on an ageing laptop. The increased performance will cut down on the wait times from your daily workflow, allowing you to operate more efficiently. The Kingston SSDNow V+ series SSD with the optional upgrade kit bundle is by far, the most painless route to take at $2.56 per GB. Granted, you won’t get the performance of the Intel X25-M but the average Joe probably won’t notice the difference anyway.

The good: upgrade kit incredibly useful, large capacity drive is accommodating, TRIM support, reasonable price.

The bad: average performance.

We’re giving this Kingston SSDNow V+ Drive 256GB review unit away to a lucky MakeUseOf reader!

How do I win it?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.


STEP 1
Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

STEP 2
Here’s our giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.


STEP 3
You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!
Giveaway eligibility
You must be a fan of our Facebook page to enter;
Individuals who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18, get your parents to participate on your behalf;
Individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States; Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India are not permitted to enter.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, November 26th at 2100hrs PST. The winner will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

[update] And the winner is …

  1. Taylor Rapids

  1. tim r
    November 27, 2010 at 3:48 am

    That 3 yr old mac book pro is going to fly.

  2. Taty
    November 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Solid State... sweet.

  3. Dav532000
    November 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Just timed this rite my HHD is on its way out, so wud luv 2 win this (As if with my luck)
    Otherwise will ave 2 wait till after Xmas 2 replace it, but not with SSD at the moment.
    Gudluck 2 all who has entered.

  4. Shadetre
    November 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    This would certainly improve my computer by allowing me to put the OS and main programs on a really fast drive. Thank you for the chance to enter for this.

  5. Dav532000
    November 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Just timed this rite my HHD is on its way out, so wud luv 2 win this (As if with my luck)
    Otherwise will ave 2 wait till after Xmas 2 replace it, but not with SSD at the moment.
    Gudluck 2 all who has entered.

  6. Paul
    November 26, 2010 at 8:37 am

    A giveaway that isnt restricted to the US come on send it down to New Zealand I could really do with one here :)

  7. leslie
    November 26, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Great giveaway, i could really use this. I have a slow hard-drive, so this is a great chance. I clicked like on facebook and signed up for newsletter.

  8. Siddhesh
    November 25, 2010 at 10:05 am

    have enterd for this contest and would love to win this.......

  9. Anonymous
    November 25, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I liked on facebook.

  10. Anonymous
    November 25, 2010 at 5:07 am
  11. donnak4
    November 25, 2010 at 6:07 am
  12. Guru Duth Nk
    November 25, 2010 at 3:15 am

    rather than winning the give away prices....make use of is helping me to get in depth knowledge of the upcoming technologies thank you very much for that.

  13. Shailesh J. Kumar
    November 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    What an amazing giveaway.... and what an amazing site and service.... Keep up the good work MakeUseOf team.... I win or not... but will still keep reading the amazing articles of MakeUseOf and keep spreading the word to friends for the good work you guys are doing.....

  14. Rocco
    November 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    This would be a great addition to my digital toolbox.

  15. Tim Bovey
    November 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    This giveaway is very generous of you, considering the price of these ssd drives. I would love to use this in my mac. I would like to thank you in advance whether I win or not.

  16. Bigmdguy
    November 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Great giveaway item...hope to win this freebie as it would make an awesome upgrade to my computer!

  17. Asoj Talesra
    November 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    India is not embargoed!!
    and anyways, who the hell is USA to embargo India..
    I thought Barrack Obama came to India recently, on a trip, and wasn't 'shipped'!

  18. Otternox
    November 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    desperately need this

  19. Asoj Talesra
    November 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    India is not embargoed!!
    and anyways, who the hell is USA to embargo India..
    I thought Barrack Obama came to India recently, on a trip, and wasn't 'shipped'!

  20. buburuza76
    November 24, 2010 at 10:30 am

    i would really need it! i`ve done all steps. thank you.

  21. Ankit Kumar
    November 24, 2010 at 7:43 am

    awesome giveaway..btw nice review .

  22. taylorr
    November 24, 2010 at 1:03 am

    woohoo did it! hope i win!

  23. Martin Fjellhøy
    November 23, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Why can't people from Norway join the competition?

    • Vivek Raj
      November 24, 2010 at 6:56 am

      norway can join but not from those country which is prohibited for trade with Norway,United States; Belgium,india etc.

  24. Vivek Raj
    November 23, 2010 at 5:37 am

    will be fun to win ;)

  25. Marcus Lindgren
    November 23, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Good luck everyone! One of the few really interesting giveaways I've seen.

  26. Lance Giwa
    November 23, 2010 at 1:52 am

    My Laptop is really starting to suck because I have so much crap on it but hopefully this will speed everything up!!

  27. Yoon
    November 22, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    My desktop is getting sluggish... me thinks that a solid state drive from Kingston will do the trick in making it work like NEW! ; P

    [Better than tossing the computer out the window from sheer frustration! LOL]

    Thanks for your review Jackson!

  28. Tum Shutter T
    November 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Awesome!! Maybe I can win this time ;)

  29. jazboy
    November 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    awesome giveaway.. I really need to replace my laptop hard drive. If I win this then it would be great and i would be able to replace it with SSD. If i won't win then probably i will be going for normal internal hard drive. As SSD hard drive is still beyond my price range.

    Jackson thanks for giving option to participate via twitter too.

  30. Yoon
    November 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    My desktop is getting sluggish... me thinks that a solid state drive from Kingston will do the trick in making it work like NEW! ; P

    [Better than tossing the computer out the window from sheer frustration! LOL]

    Thanks for your review Jackson!

  31. Ashutosh Mishra
    November 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Sorry I couldn't get your terms properly - are Indians allowed to enter?

    • Ashutosh Mishra
      November 22, 2010 at 9:00 pm

      would love to win this. :)

  32. TheManRetired
    November 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I Would really love to have a chance at winning this but don't do facebook at all. Can I enter anyway?

  33. Alex Carasof
    November 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    great drive

  34. Josh Gunderson
    November 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I was just looking at these on Newegg the other day. Still wondering about putting one in my PS3.

  35. jazboy
    November 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    awesome giveaway.. I really need to replace my laptop hard drive. If I win this then it would be great and i would be able to replace it with SSD. If i won't win then probably i will be going for normal internal hard drive. As SSD hard drive is still beyond my price range.

    Jackson thanks for giving option to participate via twitter too.

  36. Pawe? Pawe?ek
    November 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    WOw, nice giveaway! Tweeted ;)

  37. Joshua Wilcox
    November 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I've been looking to upgrade my mbp for a few months now, and wasn't sure about the SSDs. Thanks for a simple and easy to follow review!

  38. Alek Davis
    November 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    After I got a regular drive replaced in my 2-year old HP laptop, I noticed drastic performance improvement in the boot time (it used to take several minutes, but now it takes a few seconds). Application startup time also improved, e.g. Firefox used to be really slow to start but now it's almost instantaneous.

  39. Srinivas G
    November 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I'm from India. Am I allowed to participate? Another great giveaway, BTW! :)

    • Vivek Raj
      November 24, 2010 at 6:47 am

      yea !

  40. Sebastian
    November 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I am in :) Maybe i can win.

  41. Egzon Bunjaku
    November 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Cool!

  42. Gary Smith
    November 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Would love to win this.

  43. Anon
    November 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    When is India embargoed by USA??

    http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/em...

    At least check the facts..before writing something like that.

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