KingSpec 32GB 2.5 PATA SSD
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-03-2009
Provided by: KingSpec

Some of the more relevant specifications for the KingSpec drive can be ascertained from breaking down the KSD-PA25.1-032MJ model number. KSD stands for KingSpec Drive, PA indicates the PATA interface, 25 is for the 2.5" size, the .1 is the revision number, 032 is the capacity in gigabytes, the M indicates the MLC type NAND flash and the J means the drive uses a JMicron controller. Other important specifications can be obtained from the product page on KingSpec's website.

Two important items to note are the M and J designations. Since SLC or Single Level Cell chips cost more and have less capacity, but offer faster performance, most low-cost consumer SSDs use MLC chips. MLC or Multi Level Cell chips have a higher density but slower access speeds, and have been around for years in flash media, cell phones, MP3 players and USB drives. Another common trait to low-cost SSDs is the use of the JMicron controller, which is less expensive than alternative controllers from Intel and Samsung. A problem reported with some of these early JMicron controllers has been traced to the small amount of I/O cache used, which supposedly can cause a lagging or stuttering effect when performing large writes from the OS. Additionally, poorer wear-leveling and write combining algorithms can cause drives with these controllers to slow down as they age. Although JMicron claims they have addressed these issues with a new version controller and firmware, many SSDs currently on the market still have the original controller in them.

Another interesting fact I noted while researching KingSpec is that the speed ratings on their drives vary widely depending on where you look. For example, the specs on this particular drive model list the access speed as sustained 67MB/s read, 76MB/s write. However the downloadable product datasheet from KingSpec's website contradicts that with a much lower 30MB/s read, 29MB/s write. Finally the product packaging quantifies the performance as simply 100MB/s Max for both read and write, presumably due to the ATA-6 interface. Obviously there's a significant difference between 30MB/s and 100MB/s so we'll just have to see where the performance of the KingSpec SSD falls in our own testing.

The KingSpec drive is encased in plastic with metal inserts for mounting screws located on both bottom and sides. Rather than the now-familiar SATA connectors, this model has the standard 44-pin IDE connector for older PATA interfaces. Opening the drive we find a single circuit board with sixteen 2GB Samsung memory chips on it, eight on each side for a total capacity of 32GB. These are the same K9GAG08U0M 51nm chips that we found used on the OCZ Solid SSD reviewed earlier this year. Also we find the infamous JMicron JMF602 controller in evidence, again just as in the OCZ Solid drive. The final piece of silicon is a JMicron JM20330 SATA-to-PATA bridge chip to provide the translation for the IDE interface. It's interesting that while this chip is capable of 3.0GB/s speeds, unfortunately the interface isn't.

Next let's take a look at installation.

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