Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB

The Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB solid-state hard drive is cool, quiet, fast -- and expensive.

The Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB provides excellent performance for a 2.5in hard drive. However this solid-state drive (SSD) is expensive, especially given that it only has a capacity of 80GB.

The Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB SSD uses a 3Gbps SATA interface and can run with 5V of power. Because it's a 2.5in drive it will fit in laptop hard drive bays. This drive is based on the Intel X25-M hard drive.

Unlike conventional hard drives, which have spinning platters, SSDs have no moving parts. This means there is less chance of losing or corrupting the stored data if the drive is bumped or moved while operating. Another benefit is the very low level of heat produced by SSDs compared to spinning hard drives.

Even after hours of data crunching in a laptop, the Kingston drive never became too warm. If you're building a mini-PC and have limited space for fans, or if you've got a 2.5in hard drive enclosure like the STARAY S2 Series S225-1S-B2, then this drive offers fast, quiet and cool performance.

In our file transfer tests we copied a folder with 19.4GB of data between our test PC, which uses a Western Digital Velociraptor (WD3000GLFS) hard drive and the Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB.

We recorded read speeds of 73.09MBps and write speeds of 71.04MBps. The read speed is slower than we expected, but still fairly quick. When copying the data from one section of the SSD drive to another we achieved a speed of 52.49MBps.

To put these scores in context, the similarly sized Western Digital Scorpio Blue (WD5000BEVT) laptop hard drive could only manage read, write and read/write speeds of 56.7MBps, 53.9MBps and 36.2MBps, respectively.

The Kingston SSDNow M Series compares relatively favourably to other SSDs. The Crucial SSD 32GB hard drive has a cost per gigabyte of $15.38 and doesn't have as large a capacity.

But when compared to other laptop hard drives, the horrific price tag stands out in stark relief. With a formatted capacity of 74.5GB and an RRP of $855, the Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB SSD has a cost per gigabyte of $11.48. By comparison, the Western Digital Scorpio Blue (WD5000BEVT) has a cost per gigabyte of just 55.7 cents.

The bottom line is that it's a high price to pay for just 80GB of storage. But if you want very fast, small and reliable hard drive that stays cool, the Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB solid-state drive is an excellent choice — if you can afford it.

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