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Kingston begins to ship SSDs in M.2 form-factor

Kingston Technology this week started to ship its first solid-state drives in the M.2 2280 form-factor. Such SSDs will soon become popular as the latest platforms based on Intel’s 9-series chipsets support the M.2 SSDs with the PCI Express 2.0 x2 interface and up to 1GB/s of bandwidth. Unfortunately, the first M.2 SSDs from Kingston are not designed for performance enthusiasts. Kingston is among the first companies to offer M.2 SSDs in the channel.

Kingston plans to offer three M.2 2280 (80mm*22mm) solid-state drives with 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities. The 120GB version will ship first and will be followed by the 240GB and 480GB models in the third quarter. Kingston declares up to 550MB/s read performance and up to 520MB/s write performance for the 120GB drive. The drive is also capable of up to 66000/65000 maximum random 4K read/write IOPS [input/output operations per second]. It is unclear whether the more capacious versions of the SSD line are faster than the 120GB drive.

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The M.2 2280 SSDs from Kingston feature advanced garbage collection, wear leveling and TRIM support to keep drive performance consistent over the life of the drive. The SSDs also support DevSleep command that allows devices to stay on and connected without reducing battery life. The M.2 2280 SSDs also sport firmware-based power-loss protection to sustain data integrity in case of unexpected power loss or unsafe shutdown.

“We are proud to release the new M.2 form factor to the channel for both consumer and corporate customers upgrading their systems, as well as the system builder community when designing new embedded applications,” said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager at Kingston. “This is an exciting follow-up to our previously released OEM-only M.2 2260 SATA SSD used in certain models of the Asus Zenbook.”

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While it is remarkable that Kingston is ready to supply solid-state drives in the M.2 form-factor ahead of its numerous rivals, it is evident that the initial family of such products will not truly take advantage of the M.2 technology and its increased bandwidth. Perhaps, performance enthusiasts should wait for Kingston’s HyperX M.2 SSDs to get speeds that exceed those provided by the Serial ATA-6Gb/s technology.

Kingston’s M.2 SSDs are backed by a three-year warranty. Pricing of the drives is unknown.

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KitGuru Says: It is likely that the initial family of the M.2 SSDs from Kingston is mostly aimed at system integrators, not performance enthusiasts, who will be addressed with appropriate products later. Other makers, such as Plextor, do have plans to offer enthusiast-class M.2 SSDs already this summer.

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