With the advent of the Z97 chipset came the M.2 slot. Alternately referred to as NGFF, M.2 form factor storage are basically evolved versions of mSATA cards that take advantage of the new connection architecture that M.2 offers. Kingston announced theirÂ SM2280S3 M.2 SSD earlier in the year and it is the companies offering to system builders looking to utilize the M.2 form factor in their builds.
The KingstonÂ SM2280S3 comes in both 120GB and 240GB configurations, rated for 550MB/s read speed and a 520MB/s write speed. TheÂ SM2280S3, when working with incompressible data, is officially rated for 500MB/330MB read/write.
|Form factor: M.2 2280
|0.06 W Idle / 0.1 W Avg / 1.01W (MAX) Read / 3.08 W (MAX) Write
|SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) â€“ with backwards compatibility to SATA Rev. 2.0
|Capacities1: 120GB, 240GB
|-40Â°C ~ 85Â°C
|Compressible Data Transfer (ATTO):
|0Â°C ~ 70Â°C
|550MB/s Read and 520MB/s Write
|Incompressible Data Transfer (AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark):
|80mm x 22mm x 3.5mm
|500MB/s Read and 330MB/s Write
|IOMETER Maximum Random 4k Read/Write:
|120GB â€” up to 66,000/ up to 65,000 IOPS
|2.17G Peak (7â€“800Hz)
|240GB â€” up to 65,000/ up to 65,000 IOPS
|Random 4k Read/Write:
|20G Peak (10â€“2000Hz)
|120GB â€” up to 46,000/ up to 13,500 IOPS
|240GB â€” up to 46,000/ up to 26,000 IOPS
|1 million hours MTBF
|PCMARKÂ® Vantage HDD Suite Score:
|3-year warranty with free technical support
|PCMARKÂ® 8 Storage Score:
|Total Bytes Written (TBW)3:
|120GB â€“ 4,900
|120GB: 230TB 1.8 DWPD4
|240GB â€“ 4,800
|240GB: 420TB 1.75 DWPD4
- Popular M.2 Size â€” 22mm width, 80mm length
- NAND Flash memory based â€” shock resistant with lower power consumption
- Supports Intelâ€™s SRT â€” combines capacity advantage of HDD with performance improvements of SSD in dual-storage configuration
- Supports S.M.A.R.T. â€” monitors the status of your drive
- Supports TRIM â€” maintains maximum performance of compatible operating systems
- Guaranteed â€” 3-year warranty and free technical support
Â Closer Look
The Kingston SM2280S3 is packaged in a SURPRISE… a DRAM packaging. Inside we can see the SM2280S3 laid in a plastic support pad.
Inside the packaging is a simple leaflet manual. Notice the SSDNow designation in the manual although Kingston doesn’t specifically refer to the SM2280S3 as part of the SSDNow series.
The Kingston SM2280S3 SSD is, for those familiar, named after the 2280 NGFF length form factor. Its primarily a single-sided PCB with two NAND packages on the other side.
The other two NAND packages are concealed underneath the product label.
The Phison SATA controller is found along the key connector edge
To use the M.2 SSD, you’ll need an M.2 slot.
Processor: Intel Core i7 4770K
Motherboard:Â MSI Z97 Mpower
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3-2400
Storage: Kingston SM2280S3 120GB M.2 SSD
PSU:Â Corsair AX860i
ATTO Disk BenchmarkÂ benchmarks a driveâ€™s read and write speeds with increasing file sizes and graphs them.
PotentialÂ Write Performance
For potential write testing,Â HD TuneÂ was used to measure the driveâ€™s write performance. Again, we focus on the average results for real-world relevance.
Crystal Disk MarkÂ is storage benchmarking software was developed by â€œhiyohiyoâ€ of Japan, and is available for free. Crystal Disk Mark measures sequential, and random read/write speeds of storage devices.
AS SSDÂ is a benchmark tool that determines the performance of Solid State Drives but can also be used to measure hard drives, it just takes longer. The tool contains six synthetic and three copy tests .
Real-world Copy Tests
Weâ€™ve taken our compression test files, a collection of images, documents and other files ranging from 1KB to 50MB amounting to 3,310 files for 3.34GB and a large MKV video file for a large single file transfer test. We’re copying off a RAID0 120GB x2 array to avoid bottlenecks.
Having used an PCI-E SSD before (Plextor M6e, read our review) we’ve come to expect a lot from M.2 and PCI-e SSDs but knowing that the Kingston SM2280S3 is SATA-based we’re still optimistic about its real-world usage and given its price, its a compelling offer. Let’s break down the score further:
Performance.Â While it does use the M.2 slot, the Kingston SM2280S3 doesn’t utilize PCI-e connection for its performance benefits so we’ll treat it as a SATA SSD from this point on. As an SSD it averages just around the area where most mid-market to budget products hover in. Read performance is good so if you’re looking at this as a cache or OS/boot drive then its a good choice. There’s still plenty of room for improvement and we look forward to Kingston improving their M.2 SSD lines over the time.
Functionality.Â The Kingston SM2280S3 is a versatile piece of kit. While it may not hold up to the performance standards of Z97 and X99 users, anyone with a M.2 capable device needing an NGFF form-factor solution will find the SM2280S3 a good choice given its decent performance numbers.
Value.Â Adding to the statement above, the price is what really sets it off. Although official priced at $119, we did find it in some e-tailers hovering around $90. While you may still see some lower priced options, Kingston does back it with a 3-year warranty and having knownÂ with the company for quite a while I can say their support is quite top-notch.
In closing, the Kingston SM2280S3 is a top choice for portable device owners looking for a capacity and performance increase to their stock storage. Its got decent performance but for those looking to use it for a SSD replacement for the Z97 or X99, don’t expect bleeding edge numbers. As a cache drive though it would do well especially for compatible OSes.
The Kingston SM2280S3 M.2 SSD offers great SSD performance at a compelling price point, making it a great option for low-power application and specialty builds.
Kingston backs the SM2280S3 M.2 SSD with a 3 year warranty. We give it our B2G Recommended Award.