By Carlo Dinglasan AKA TPC fakuryu
A week ago, I was asked to review an SSD from Kingmax. So I went on my way to the TPC Headquarters and got the unit to find out what is it with these SSD (Solid State Disks) that everybody seem to want, so enter the Kingmax 240GB SMP35 Client SATA III.
Kingmax is a semiconductor company that manufactures memory modules but is mostly known as a manufacturer of consumer memory cards in our market but I feel that the SMP35 could change that.
But this is the first time I will review an SSD, I never owned one to make a comparison and I lack the necessary tools to provide the "numbers". So how will I do this review? I will try to make a review with a practical POV of how this can be useful for me.
The Test Unit:
Processor: Intel i5-3570k Ivy Bridge @ 3.4ghz
Motherboard: ASUS Z77-M Pro
Memory: 8gb 4x2 DDR3 1600cl9 GSkill Ripjaws X
SSD: 240GB Kingmax SMP35 Client SATA III
HDD: 500GB WDC Blue SATA II
PSU: Seasonic M12II 520w 80+ Bronze
The Package : Kingmax SMP35 Client 240 GB
So after installing the SMP35 Client SATA III on my computer, I made sure that I put it in the SATA III slot to ensure that I will be able to get the most out of it. And to my surprise, it did, as I was able to install my OS on it in less than 10 minutes (well after the laborious assembly in my mATX case). Installing the GPU and the motherboard drivers took way a lot longer the installation of the OS.
So after the preparation, I did some simple test for the bootup, the Windows Experience Index (WEI) and HDtune.
For the boot up test (with some tweaks to make sure that my computer will make use of all 4 cores of the 3.4ghz Ivy), I just used the Windows Event Viewer. I expected the SMP35 to blow away my 500GB single platter electro-mechanical SATA II HDD and it really did, it was almost four times faster and booted up in less than 20 seconds, loading the OS, the motherboard drivers and GPU driver. To be fair, I did the same for my HDD and a complete boot of just the OS, the motherboard drivers and GPU driver took 77 seconds.
For the HD tune test, the HDD's average read speed is still less than the SSD which is a given. But still, the SMP35 Client was not able to reach even half the theoretical SATA III speeds of 600MB/s. This could further improve by using an updated firmware which I was unable to do so for this review since I do not want to screw up and be PHP10,000 poorer.
HDD HDTune test
SSD HDTune test
And for the WEI test, it is apparent that it will be much higher and I was a bit surprised that my GPU and CPU were the ones holding back my PC.
WEI Test (HDD)
WEI Test (SSD - Kingmax SMP35)
I would've loved to try using the SMP3 Client as a cache disk and utilize Intel's Smart Response Technology but I was pressed for time and could only imagine some marginal improvements with my application load times.
So who would want a 240GB SSD? Well I believe anyone with a budget can surely make use of it especially gamers and enthusiasts. But what for a more practical use? About a year or two ago, SSD's came in 20GB, 30GB flavors and then came the 60GB and 120GB. 20GB and 30GB does not seem enough and was too expensive then, the 60GB could have been used for just the OS and some applications and the 120GB to put it mildly was still out of reach. With the SMP35 Client priced aggressively at PHP10,120 SRP and the capacity to boot, professional photographers can make great use of it using Adobe Lightroom when they need to unload hundreds of RAW photos for quick edits, multimedia artist for those video edits or anyone that needs speed for the tasks they do.
Conveniently priced lower than their relatively faster competitors with the same disk capacity and just a few thousand more than their relatively faster competitors but with just half the capacity, the SMP35 Client SATA III by Kingmax offers great value that provides balance and performance for the budget.
+Relatively affordable for a 240GB SSD
-Knowing it is a SATAIII SSD and the limitations of the chipset that was used, I just wished that it could have reached at least even half of the 600MB/s theoretical speed.
If I have the PHP10,120 to spare, would I buy one? Hey, if my career in photography launches off, then why not? Until then, the only practical thing I can think of for my personal use for now is it will load Battlefield 3 a lot faster :)