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Hands-on review: Kingston NV1 NVMe SSD

By Darren Price, Fri 4 Jun 2021

NVMe SSDs have been a game-changer. These discreet devices pack a lot of very fast storage space in a tiny form factor. A far cry from hefty 3.5” hard drives, they measure just a few inches long and slot directly onto motherboards. PCIe adapters are also available, allowing this comparatively lightning-fast data storage technology to be used even in machines without native compatibility.

To better understand why these drives are so fast, you need to know that they are not really storage drives; they’re closer to memory sticks pretending to be storage drives. NVMe stands for non-volatile memory express. It uses the PCI Express bus directly to transfer data from storage to the CPU, rather than mess around via the dated Serial ATA bus.

Kingston sent over the 1TB version of the NV1 NVMe SSD for testing. 

At first glance, the NV1 is an unassuming drive. With no-frills, it is designed to fit any laptop or desktop PC motherboard with an M.2 2280 socket. 

AU$160 / NZ$170 isn’t a bad price to pay for a 1TB drive that’ll turbo-boost your PC or laptop. This no-frills SSD makes high-speed storage very accessible. Even the cheaper 500GB drive is still enough for accommodating an operating system.

Installation is incredibly easy. The NVMe drive slots into a vacant M.2 socket and is held in place by one (very tiny) screw. All you need to be mindful of is to make sure that the SSD is firmly slotted in and take care not to lose the tiny screw somewhere in your chassis. 

The ASUS ROG motherboard that I tested the SSD with has an integrated removable heatsink cowling covering the NVMe sticks. This is great for keeping these tiny drives cool, and they also look good. Unfortunately, many NVMe drives come complete with a heatsink glued to them, messing up the aesthetic of your fancy RGB motherboard. The NV1’s low profile means that it should be fine in even the tightest motherboards or laptop chassis.

Using CrystalDiskMark7, the Kingston NV1 NVMe SSD clocked a very healthy 2023.98 MB/s read speed, and a 1737.79 write speed. Whilst top-of-the-range NVMe drives are now capable of data transfer speeds of up to 7000 MB/s, the NV1 seems pretty average, but it’s still a lot faster than a regular SATA6 hard disk drive.

I also tested the drive using an M.2 PCIe adapter card. By mounting the NV1 to the adapter and placing it in an available PCIe slot, I was able to give NVMe drive speeds to a motherboard without an M.2 socket. The NV1 worked perfectly, granting me the same read/write speeds as if it was inserted directly into the motherboard.

Kingston’s NV1 NVMe SSDs are perfect for anyone building a new PC on a budget that wants fast data storage. An operating system loaded onto this drive will also enable instant-on PC start-ups allowing you to get on with your work or play faster. 

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