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Kingston KC3000 PCIe4 NVMe SSD with graphene aluminum heat spreader now shipping starting at $106 USD

Kingston KC3000 PCIe4 NVMe SSD series now shipping starting at $106 USD (Source: Kingston)
Kingston KC3000 PCIe4 NVMe SSD series now shipping starting at $106 USD (Source: Kingston)
We test the latest PCIe4 x4 NVMe drive from Kingston which promises sequential read and write rates of 7000 MB/s each. Unfortunately, real-world numbers can't quite reach those highs.

Not to be outdone by Acer, Kingston has just made available its 3D TLC KC3000 series of PCIe4 SSDs to succeed last year's PCIe3 KC2500 series. Four capacities are available as shown by the table below each supporting sequential read rates of 7000 MB/s.

The manufacturer sent us a 2 TB sample unit for our impressions and benchmarks. Our host PC for this test is the Intel NUC11PAQi7 which both natively supports PCIe4 x4 SSDs and includes a built-in M.2 SSD heat spreader that many laptops and other mini PCs lack. The KC3000 ships with a very thin graphene aluminum heat spreader of its own that we will use in lieu of the NUC heat spreader to see how well the drive can perform by itself.

CapacitySequential Read (MB/s)Sequential Write (MB/s)Random 4K Read/Write (IOPS)TBW
512 GB70003900450K/900K400
1 TB70006000900K/1000K800
2 TB700070001000K/1000K1600
4 TB700070001000K/1000K3200
512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB options
512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB options
Kingston drive installed on our Intel NUC11 test unit
Kingston drive installed on our Intel NUC11 test unit
Graphene aluminum heat spreader doubles as a sticker
Graphene aluminum heat spreader doubles as a sticker
Drive is compatible with the Sony Playstation 5
Drive is compatible with the Sony Playstation 5

Our benchmark results below are slower than expected with sequential read and write rates of only ~6400 MB/s and ~4600 MB/s, respectively, compared to the advertised 7000 MB/s. Further stress testing would show that the drive can only reach about 6400 MB/s before throttling to ~3400 MB/s when it hits a temperature of 76 C about 30 seconds into the test. We repeated this test two more times and observed similar results after each run.

CDM 8
CDM 8
AS SSD
AS SSD
ATTO
ATTO

Disk Throttling: DiskSpd Read Loop, Queue Depth 8

No graph data

To see if the NUC heat spreader can improve performance, we would rerun the test but with the NUC heat spreader on top of the graphene aluminum heat spreader. Transfer rates would again top out at ~6400 MB/s albeit for a longer period since the drive would take longer to reach 76 C as shown by our screenshots below. Nonetheless, performance would again eventually throttle when the drive hits 76 C.

In comparison, the Acer GM7000 would have no issues reaching and sustaining 7000 MB/s since it targets a much higher temperature ceiling of over 84 C.

If you plan on buying the Kingston KC3000, then we would recommend applying a more capable aftermarket heat spreader or else performance will throttle rather quickly. Kingston is currently accepting orders from 512 GB to 4 TB for $106 to $999 USD.

Sequential read rate stress test with graphene aluminum heat spreader
Sequential read rate stress test with graphene aluminum heat spreader
Sequential read rate stress test with graphene aluminum heat spreader and NUC heat spreader. The drive can maintain higher transfer rates for significantly longer
Sequential read rate stress test with graphene aluminum heat spreader and NUC heat spreader. The drive can maintain higher transfer rates for significantly longer
Kingston KC3000 drive when idling
Kingston KC3000 drive when idling
Kingston KC3000 drive when under stress
Kingston KC3000 drive when under stress
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Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - Lead Editor U.S. - 4839 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2011
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.
contact me via: @AllenNgoNBC
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Allen Ngo, 2021-11- 5 (Update: 2021-11- 5)