Endurance Testing the Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD

How long will the Kingston SSDNow V300 last?
When will it run out of write cycles?

This is a bugdet SSD which doesn't sacrifice performance and speed. Using the SandForce SF-2281 controller in combination with Toshiba's 19nm MLC toggle flash memory turned out to be a good recipie for a consumer level SSD. Kingston specifies the write endurance of the 60GB model to 32TB. The larger models got nice and even multiples at; 64TB and 128TB for the 120GB and 240GB version.

Xbitlabs got a response from a Kingston representative saying:
"As with all of our SSDs the TBW numbers we publish are conservative, and with DuraWrite technology, those numbers can easily triple for a typical consumer workload."

This unit entered a degraded state after 48 hours of active testing.

Update Sept 25
Kingston just confirmed the severe speed issues. This is a "feature" called Drive Life Protection - DLP and it will "throttle back its performance to reduce writes" in order "to protect itself to ensure the warranty period". DLP basically renders the drive useless (temporarily?). Allowing the disk to idle for 13 hours did not make the unit recover. The drive is currently left idle. I'd stay away from the Kingston SSDNow V300 for write intense environments.

What do you think. Should DLP be considered a good thing or a flaw?

Update Sept 27
The drive sat idle for 49 hours and SMART reported drive to be ok with DLP back at 100 again. In less than 20 seconds of writing data it went back into DLP protection mode again.

Yes, it's our first SSD to fail. No data loss.
This protection mechanism would probably not trigger in a normal single user environment.

Please keep in mind that this is only one single unit tested. It is not representative for other identical units. Use your own sound judgement when drawing any conclusions from the results.

Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD Endurance Test

Preliminary Data - Test is Running
TiB Written
Estimated Cycles
Hours Online
Endurance Cycles are estimated as NAND/Host writes reported by S.M.A.R.T. divided by the SSD capacity.
TiB Written is pure user data. Hours Online include read/write/smart/overhead.

Average speed  Last two reported
Read Speed228 MB/s385 MB/s135 MB/s
Write Speed  104 MB/s1 MB/s5 MB/s

Please note that this unit is heavily stressed and in steady state most of the time.
Started at Sep 8. Last update Sep 28 02:04.

The two read speed peaks at the very end are when the SSD has been idle. No difference in letting the SSD idle for 13 hours or 35 minutes. The read speed peak before the performance drop came from pausing for the Samsung 840 EVO and resuming the test again.

Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode MLC NAND

S.M.A.R.T. Data Logging

The health of the Kingston SSDNow V300 is monitored by reading the SMART data throughout the test.

The Wear Leveling Counter looks like no other we've seen so far. It looks more like a real-time indicator than a counter. Kingston defines this parameter as "Wear Range Delta": the delta between the min and max worn blocks as percent of the rated P/E cycles.

This test was previously launched and then paused to let the Samsung 840 EVO take it's place (debugging speed issues). The test was resumed again at 12.42TiBW.

Update at 15.2TiBW
As the Head Amplitude dropped from 100 to 90 the unit suffered a massive performance degradation. Write speed went from over 100MB/s to 3MB/s. An alert was issued by our analysis routines, but still no warnings have been reported by SMART or the file system. It passed the cheksum verification. Write speed was as low as 0.5MB/s during the last write process. Read speed was equally bad. Half way into verifying the static data it went up to 7MB/s. Still nowhere near previous speed.

Update #2
The last 16GB write loop reported a average random write speed of less than 1MB. I scheduled for a pause and since then the unit has been idling for 13 hours. Resuming the test gave a read speeds close to 380MB/s. Write speed (sequential) is still at 8MB/s peak.

From a reliability stand point this is a good sign. The unit is still alive and working. No data has been corrupted. With this unit in a RAID array you would certainly scratch your head when the write performance suddenly is nowhere to be found - and no signs of failure anywhere.

I will try to contact Kingston to see if they have any feedback on this. At this point it's most likely a single defective unit.

Update #3
Write speeds are steady at below 1MB/s for random writes and at 6MB/s for sequential writes. Read speed was at times as low as 1MB/s for a long period of time but did eventually recover at the end of each read cycle, ending up on a reasonable average in the charts. Still not a acceptable behaviour.

Next step will be to wipe and reformat to see if the current state is permanent. But let's wait for Kingston to get back first.

Update #4
Kingston's technical support sent me a link to their SMART Attribute Details. This document explains the parameters and defines the "Head Amplitude" as "Drive Life Protection Status".

230: Drive Life Protection Status
"Current state of drive operation based upon the Life Curve. Extreme conditions will require the drive to protect itself to ensure the warranty period."

"If the PE Cycle usage trajectory threatens to violate the Life Curve usage schedule for the block that has the minimum PE cycles left unused, protection activates to forbid such violation and this value reads 90."

Please keep in mind that this is only one single unit tested. It is not representative for other identical units. Use your own sound judgement when drawing any conclusions from the results.

Device information

Device Model:     KINGSTON SV300S37A60G
Serial Number:    50026B7#######EA
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0026b7 #######ea
Firmware Version: 505ABBF1
User Capacity:    60,022,480,896 bytes [60.0 GB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical

Reviews of the Kingston SSDNow V300

Kingston SSDNow V300 (120GB & 240GB) Review
"Kingston's SSD lineup is as follows: They have HyperX-branded SSDs for enthusiasts and the mainstream market is catered by SSDNow brand."   Kristian Vättö, AnandTechRead it »

Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB review: best budget SSD currently around
"The V300 may have a budget price, but it's certainly doesn't contain budget hardware."   Koen Crijns, Hardware.infoRead it »

Feedback and Comments on Kingston SSDNow V300

Is this really normal?

No. The tests preformed here must not be confused with normal use. They are designed to stress SSDs and simulate a really busy environment.
Normal workstation use would be more like 10-20GB written daily.

TRIM and SSD Endurance in RAID Arrays »

Failed SSD = Bad SSD?

Don't worry. All drives tested here are perfectly suited for normal use. No doubt.
This SSD test is more about how they fail.
We want to see warnings of imminent failure, not just a sudden death.

How About Data Retention?

The term Data Retention refers to how long the data preserved is if the SSD is left unpowered. The plan is to test data retention once a SSD reaches extreme TBW. Please be carefull with your data and with SSDs that have outlived their specifications.

Why Test Smaller SSDs?

They use fewer NAND circuits and will wear out faster. Once we know the write endurance of these units, it'll be easy to estimate the equivalent numbers for the larger units.