Let us face it; everybody makes mistakes. A good while back, Patrick was ordering some equipment and somehow bought the wrong SSD, and then sent it my way in case I had a use for it. That SSD is the KingSpec NE-256, which is a very bare-bones 256GB NVMe SSD. In the interest of making lemonade out of his lemon, we decided to benchmark it and give it a review. Compared to the rest of the SSDs I have looked at in the past, the KingSpec NE-256 is by far the least expensive drive I have ever used, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up to other low-end SSDs in our benchmark database.
The Kingspec NE-256 comes in a single-sided M.2 2242 (42mm) form factor. This is fairly common in smaller form factor systems and many 80mm slots have 42mm mounting points, but it is worth looking at where you need to install a drive.
Beneath the label on the front of the drive are both of the major components; this drive is home to a single Intel TLC NAND package and a SMI 2263XT controller. As would be expected on a low-end drive like this, no DRAM cache is present, and the 2263XT controller is designed specifically for DRAM-less operation and relies upon Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology to offset the lack of on-drive cache.
As a single-sided drive, the back has a small label and nothing else. As an ultra low-end consumer drive, there is no power loss protection (PLP.)
Kingspec NE-256 Specs
The Kingspec NE-256 line of TLC based SSDs is available in capacities from 64GB up to 512GB.
The rated performance across the NE line is quoted at a flat 1100MB/s read and 1000MB/s write. Endurance is actually respectable on our 256GB drive at 174TB; with a 3 year warranty period that works out to around 0.62 DWPD, which is pretty decent. This drive has a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface, though the rated sequential transfer speeds will not push that boundary.
CrystalDiskInfo can give us some basic information about the SSD, and confirms we are operating at PCIe 3.0 x2 speeds using NVMe 1.3.
Test System Configuration
We are using the following configuration for this test:
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X570-P
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (6C/12T)
- RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200 UDIMMs
Our testing uses the Kingspec NE-256 as the boot drive for the system, installed in the M.2_1 slot on the motherboard. The drive is filled to 85% capacity with data and then some is deleted, leaving around 60% used space on the volume.
Next, we are going to get into our performance testing.
It will still make a decent boot drive for a TrueNAS, ESXi, or PF-Sense rig…
“Decent” compared to a floppy disk. Maybe.
All that, missed even its own low specs, and still gets a 5/10 for performance? I kind of wonder what a drive needs to do to get, say, a 2/10.
At roughly +10$ to the $50-60 this Kingspec retails at, you could have a (2280) Samsung 970 Evo Plus 250GB. In terms of performance and likely reliability it seems hard to argue for the Kingspec.
I have the 512GB version installed in a Lenovo Thinkpad T480, specifically because it was the only NVMe SSD that fit in the open M.2 E-keyed 2242 slot. The slot is incompatible with E-keyed SATA SSDs, so there’s not many options.
Neither Patrick nor I remember exactly what he paid for this drive, but I want to say at the time it was much closer to $30 than $60.
Unless you absolutely have to have a 2242 with this specific keying it seems like an extremely niche use. Maybe an oem will buy a large volume for ridiculously cheap laptops.
have new driver? bad boot win 10 Pro.