Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Kingston v200 series SSDs have problems

From my research and testing, I'm going to be avoiding v200 series Kingston SSD disks.  (But I've had great success with the older v100 series disks).

Users complained about very slow write performance on the disks in the series smaller than 256GB, and Kingston released a firmware claiming to fix those issues, and also claiming that the 256GB disks are unaffected:

I picked up a 256GB unit from newegg (SV200S3N/256G) for $199 and tested it today in several machines.

In my Dell T3500 workstation with an 82801JI (ICH10 Family) SATA controller, running Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) linux, I couldn't get the disk to come up at all.  I got this in dmesg:

[1129999.229709] ata3: irq_stat 0x00000040, connection status changed
[1129999.229712] ata3: SError: { DevExch }
[1129999.229719] ata3: limiting SATA link speed to 1.5 Gbps
[1129999.229722] ata3: hard resetting link
[1130001.452632] ata3: SATA link down (SStatus 1 SControl 310)
[1130001.452643] ata3: EH complete
[1130001.458368] ata3: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x4000000 action 0xe frozen

Then I switched to another machine running Ubuntu Precise (12.04) with a supermicro motherboard, plugging into one of the onboard SAS ports (looks like Intel ICH10 82801JI).  I tested writing to the bare block device:
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=8M count=128 oflag=direct

And got 115MB/sec.  On a second run adding a seek=128 flag I got only 54.5MB/sec.  A third run with seek=1024 gave me 91.2MB/sec.  So it's fairly bizarre to see such wildly varying numbers on an SSD, and this is very worrisome.  In dmesg I saw lots of messages like this:
[67334.890127] mpt2sas1: log_info(0x31120303): originator(PL), code(0x12), sub_code(0x0303)

Then I switched to a port on an LSI SAS2008 controller in the same machine, and consistently got 257MB/sec, which is excellent.

So from my brief testing, it looks like the disks may do okay if you put them on the right sata controller, but have significant and varied problems on other controllers.


Andre said...

hey dude,

i just got the 128gb version of this disk on FW version e120506a. i put it in an old Toshiba Satellite PRO A200 (Intel ICH7-M chipset i think), running Ubuntu i386 from a live disc. i the ran the same commands you did (i think) and got 95.6, 93.6 and 93.6 respectively. i have no idea if that's bad or not, but it seems pretty consistent.
i'm going to put the drive on a Gigabyte GA-EP45C-UD3R board when i get home and check the speeds again, just out of curiosity. i hope i haven't bought rubbish drives.

Anonymous said...

128GB disks are affected by the firmware bug, so make sure you have the latest firmware on it. Then cross your fingers and hope you have a compatible controller. You can also find the rated sequential write specs to see how well your disk should be able to do.