A great upgrade option for laptop owners, but you can get cheaper standalone drives
Although an SSD can make a huge difference to the speed of your PC, increasing boot speeds and application load times, installing one can be tricky. That's doubly so if you want to upgrade a laptop. Kingston wants to make things easy with this, the SSDNow UV400 SSD Upgrade Kit.
Inside the box, you get the 2.5in SATA3 drive (available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB versions - we tested the 480GB kit), plus a full copy of Acronis True Image HD and everything you need to install the drive. For a desktop PC, this includes a mount to convert a 3.5in drive bay into an SSD-compatible one, and a Molex-to-SATA power adaptor.
The height of drives can be an issue with some laptops, so Kingston also ships the drive with a foam spacer. This pads out any room inside the laptop to ensure that the SSD fits snuggly and doesn't jog around.
While ease of installation shouldn't be ignored, it's the raw speed that determines if an SSD should be bought or not. Kingston uses Triple-level cell (TLC) storage, which stores three bits per cell. TLC memory delivers the lowest-cost SSDs but has the slowest performance. That said, the SSDNow UV400 is a SATA3 drive, which has a maximum throughput of 600MB/s. With the SSDNow UV400's max read speed of 550MB/s and write speed of 500MB/s, the drive is pushing up against the maximum bandwidth the interface offers. In other words, the fact that it's using TLC storage should have little impact.
Our test results showed this to be the case, too. Copying our huge files, we saw read speeds of 475.4MB/s and write speeds of 482.21. In our large files test, we saw read speeds of 441.43MB/s and write speeds of 479.71MB/s. Our small files test, which really pushes the drive to its limits with lots and lots of file operations, slowed the UV400 right down, producing a read speed of 321.36MB/s and write speed of 439.64MB/s. In all cases, Windows' caching technology helps improve the real-world write performance by buffering files. Read speed can't be improved, as data has to be pulled from the drive before it can be cached.
Switching to the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, sequential speeds showed that the drive was bang on the money for its quoted specs: 552.6MB/s read speeds and 506.6MB/s write speeds. Switching to the 4K file test, which pushes SSDs by requiring thousands of random file operations, the UV400 slowed down considerably: 341.8MB/s read and 322.7MB/write. These speeds compare the UV400 favourably with similarly-specced drives from other manufacturers.
As to whether or not the UV400 is worth buying or not depends on what you want it for. If you're upgrading a laptop, the entire kit is excellent value and gives you everything you need for a quick upgrade. If you just want a bare drive for a PC, the kit is overpriced and the standalone drive not quite as good value. For standalone drives, the Crucial MX300 series is slightly better value and a tiny bit faster in our benchmarks, making it the better choice.