Review: Kingston launches KC3000 PCIe 4.0 SSD that can reach 7,000MB/s read and write speeds

Today, Kingston launched its KC3000 SSD. Reaching speeds of 7,000MB/s, this PCIe Gen 4.0 M.2 drive is a compelling solution for anyone who needs the highest possible speeds in their next computer.

Kingston KC3000: A 7,000MB/s PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 drive

Kingston’s KC3000 is a 2280 size M.2 SSD with a blistering fast 7,000MB/s read and write speed. This write speed is 1,900MB/s faster than Samsung’s PCIe 4.0 M.2 drive, the 980 Pro, and 1,700MB/s faster than Western Digital’s WD_BLACK SN850 drive. These speeds are right at the limit of the Phison E18 controller in the SSD.

Due to the different number of NAND flash modules on the different capacity drives, the lower capacity options have slightly lower speeds.

Sequential Read/Write Speeds

  • 512GB – 7,000/3,900MB/s
  • 1024GB – 7,000/6,000MB/s
  • 2048GB – 7,000/7,000MB/s
  • 4096GB – 7,000/7,000MB/s

Random 4K Read/Write Speeds

  • 512GB – up to 450,000/900,000 IOPS
  • 1024GB – up to 900,000/1,000,000 IOPS
  • 2048GB – up to 1,000,000/1,000,000 IOPS
  • 4096GB – up to 1,000,000/1,000,000 IOPS

Total Bytes Written

  • 512GB – 400TBW
  • 1024GB – 800TBW
  • 2048GB – 1.6PBW
  • 4096GB – 3.2PBW

Kingston KC3000 vs. Seagate FireCuda 530

The Kingston is close in speed to the Seagate FireCuda 530, which shares the same controller. The Seagate drive offers a 300MB/s faster sequential read speed, but a 100MB/s slower write speed. Admittedly, the random read/write speeds will be more applicable to real-world performance. Both of these drives offer up to 1,000,000 IOPS of random performance at 4KB. These drives also offer the same MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of 1.8 million hours.

The Seagate drive is also expected to have a longer endurance, with over 5 PetaBytes total bytes written for the 4TB drive while the 4TB KC3000 manages a still-impressive 3.2 PetaBytes written.

9to5Toys’ Take

It might be easy for the average user to look at the, quite frankly, ludicrous speed of the KC3000 and other PCIe Gen 4 drives and write them off as “unnecessary.” While the average user may not be the target market for the drive, I certainly don’t think the KC3000 should be written off as overkill.

Kingston is targeting the power users, such as content creators, with this drive. That would include editing 4k (and higher resolution) video and 3d rendering, and this drive is certainly perfect for those applications. Even working with high-resolution raw video, I don’t reach near 7,000MB/s, but I certainly appreciate the additional sequential speed when transferring large files.

The KC3000 and other high-speed PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs bring a significant speed advantage in a convenient form factor, compatible with desktop PCs and laptops alike. And hey, if 7,000MB/s somehow isn’t enough for you, you can get a couple of them a throw them into a raid configuration in a standard PCIe 4.0 16X slot with one of these to get up to 15,000MB/s.

Kingston KC3000’s usefulness to the average gamer

There are two main places where I see this drive as particularly useful to the average consumer and both relate, surprisingly enough, to video games. The Playstation 5 has a somewhat limited (in terms of capacity) internal SSD. There are two ways to expand the Playstation’s storage; either with a USB drive, which you can not play PS5 games directly off of, or an M.2 drive. While the Xbox has drives designed and marketed specifically for it, the Playstation is compatible with many drives and simply lists the standard requirements on the Playstation site. This drive seems to meet all the requirements and could be a strong contender for the console gamer hoping to expand their game library.

The second use case for the average gamer is not yet realized but could come in the future with DirectStorage support on PC. On Windows 11 and Windows 10 version 1909 and later, DirectStorage allows games to access high-speed storage directly, rather than needing to load data into ram first. Microsoft broke down the three main features that come with direct storage:

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second 
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview)  
  • Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack  

To put it simply for the end-user, this means games that take advantage of the DirectStorage will be able to load faster, and use more detailed textures and object in-game, as they won’t be so limited by the amount of system memory available. While the upgrade from a PCIe 3.0 to 4.0 SSD may not make a massive difference for some today, it could help create a smoother gaming experience in years to come.

Should you upgrade to Kingston’s KC3000?

If you are still using a SATA 3 SSD, you should upgrade to a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD like the KC3000, as you’ll see over a ten-times increase in sequential speeds. And if you are still, somehow, using a spinning hard drive as your main boot drive… yes, you need to upgrade.

However, if you have a high-speed PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD like the last-gen KC2500 from Kingston, you are probably fine to stick with it.

Of course, if you are getting this drive, you should check and make sure your system has PCIe 4.0 support. While the drive is backward compatible with PCIe 3.0, you won’t be able to take advantage of the speed increase if you are running it on PCIe 3.0.

If you decide to purchase this drive, I would definitely consider stepping it up to the 2TB model (or higher) to get the full 7,000MB/s write speeds.

The KC3000 has certainly earned its place as the boot & game drive for my next PC build.

Kingston KC3000 pricing

The following are the MSRPs for the KC3000 at each available capacity. The real-world price may differ.

  • 512GB – $106.99 MSRP
  • 1TB – $174.99 MSRP
  • 2TB – $399.99 MSRP
  • 4TB – $999.99 MSRP

You can check out the Kingston website to learn more about the product, and find the KC3000 on Amazon shortly.

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