Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD review: Good performance at a nice price

This NVMe SSD can run with the big guns, yet doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

kingston kc2500 nvme ssd primary
Kingston

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At a Glance
  • Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD (1TB)

Kingston’s KC2500 is an NVMe SSD that can run with the top-tier drive in any performance scenario—even long sustained writes. It's also affordable compared to drives such as Samsung’s 970 Pro and WD’s Black SN570, etc. though it has some tough competition price-wise from Adata’s SX8200

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best SSDs. Go there for information on competing models and how we tested them.  

Design and specifications

The KC2500 is available in 250GB (currently about $75 at Newegg.com), 500GB (currently about $123 at Newegg.com), and 1TB (our tested capacity, currently about $222 on Amazon).  To sweeten the deal, Kingston includes a license for Acronis True Image HD backup software.

The NAND on the 2280 (22mm wide, 80mm long) KC2500 is 96-layer TLC (Triple-Level cell/3-bit), and the controller is a Silicon Motion SMI 2262EN. There’s also primary DRAM cache to the tune of 1MB for every 1TB of NAND. TLC is treated as SLC to provide secondary cache. 

Kingston offers a five-year warranty on the drives, and they are rated for 150TBW (TeraBytes Written) for every 250GB of capacity. That’s rather low compared to some pricier drives, but these ratings are more indicative of the intended market and legal liability than the actual longevity of the drive. Put another way, the KC2500 is not intended for high-transaction servers, where writes pile up quickly and lifespans are measured in months, not years.

Performance

The KC2500 is a good all-around performer. Its CrystalDiskMark 6 read performance (shown below) was especially impressive. 

kc2500 cdm6 IDG

The Kingston KC2500’s CrystalDiskMark numbers were impressive, espeically the read number, which was nearly equal to that of Samsung’s mighty 970 Pro.

The KC2500 was just a bit off the pace set by the excellent Adata SX8200 and the Samsung 970 Pro in the 48GB transfer tests. However, we’re talking about a total of 192GB transferred in less than six minutes, which is a very impressive performance.

kc2500 48gb IDG

Though it lagged a bit behind the Adata and Samsung drives in total transfer time, the Kingston KC2500 still turned in an impressive performance.

Testing is performed on Windows 10 64-bit running on a Core i7-5820K/Asus X99 Deluxe system with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHz DDR4 modules, a Zotac (Nvidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIe graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) card. Also on board are a Gigabyte GC-Alpine Thunderbolt 3 card and Softperfect’s Ramdisk 3.4.6, which is used for the 48GB read and write tests.

As good as it gets for the price

While it didn’t reach the top step of the podium in any one test, the KC2500 was always within easy hailing distance of the leader. It's available at about the same price as the competition and should be at the top of your short list when you’re shopping for a high-performance NVMe SSD. 

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At a Glance
  • The Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD matches the competition in performance and price, and throws in a license for Acronis True Image to boot. A winning combination.

    Pros

    • Excellent performance
    • Affordable for a top-performing NVMe SSD

    Cons

    • Not the fastest at any single task
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