Kingston UV500 Review –

The Kingston UV500 solid-state drive comes in a variety of size and form factor options, but it faces stiff competition from less expensive, speedier competitors.
The Kingston UV500 solid-state drive ($156 for 960GB, as tested) comes in a form factor for just about every use case: 2.5-inch, M.2, and mSATA. It’s compatible with Kingston’s SSD Manager software, and is self-encrypting for data protection. Its low 4K write scores, along with its comparatively high price, keep it from being a strong recommendation, though, when pitted against speedier and less expensive competition such as the Editors’ Choice Samsung SSD 860 QVO.

As mentioned, the UV500 comes in three form factors: 2.5-inch, M.2, and mSATA. I tested the 960GB SATA version. It’s one of the company’s core SSD models that fits into nearly any desktop drive bay. All three versions, though, are based off the 3D TLC NAND production process. (To decode what all these acronyms mean, check out our SSD de-jargonizer for the 20 terms you need to know in the world of flash-based storage.)
Kingston UV500-4Kingston UV500-4

Each drive features 256-bit AES SED, or “self-encrypting drive,” technology, which works as a data-protection tool that can keep your information safe seamlessly and automatically. It’s also compatible with TCG Opal 2.0, one the first security specifications to be completely GDPR-compliant in the world of personal data protection.
Kingston UV500-2Kingston UV500-2

The drive is available in five storage volumes, depending on the form factor: 120GB (M.2, mSATA, and 2.5-inch), 240GB (M.2, mSATA, and 2.5-inch), 480GB (M.2, mSATA, and 2.5-inch), 960GB (M.2 and 2.5-inch), and 1,920GB (2.5-inch). You can expect to pay the same price-per-gigabyte across every form factor, though I did notice a strange anomaly as you get to the middle of the storage range…

This is the first time I’ve seen the cost per gigabyte of a line of SSDs bottom out before edging slightly back up as capacity increases. That said, no matter which size you go with, the UV500 is consistently more expensive per-gigabyte than several other drives in this category that outperform it in benchmarks, including the Crucial BX500($52.30 at Amazon UK) (13 cents per gigabyte) and the Mushkin Source (also 13 cents per gigabyte).
The drive’s one saving grace in this department is its 480 terabytes written (TBW) endurance rating, slightly above average for the capacity. The UV500 is also backed up by an equally impressive five-year warranty.
The company’s drive-management software, Kingston SSD Manager, is by no means feature-packed, but it provides a good enough number of configurable settings and tools to choose from, including Secure Erase, drive health checkup, and the ability to set just how secure the drive is between the self-encryption and TCG Opal options. By comparison, Crucial’s Storage Executive software that you’ll find on the BX500 gives you almost complete control over every aspect of how the drive performs and behaves.

As a TLC SSD transferring data over the SATA standard, I wasn’t really expecting any major surprises when it comes to the UV500’s read and write speeds. The drive is rated for 520MBps read and 500MBps write, but in our tests it actually exceeded that limit on both accounts.
First up is PCMark 8’s Storage test, which simulates everyday disk accesses in tasks such as editing photos and web browsing. No surprises here; if you’ve seen one SATA SSD go through PCMark 8, you’ve seen ’em all.
Kingston UV500 PCMark 8Kingston UV500 PCMark 8
The Crystal DiskMark Sequential Q32T1 test came out with more of the same, with the UV500 maxing out what the SATA standard is capable of when both writing and reading data. The drive surpassed the manufacturer rating, which is always nice to see, but not so much so that you would be able to notice a difference in day-to-day use. The Crystal Sequential tests simulate best-case, straight-line transfers of large files; in contrast, the 4K (or “random read/write”) tests simulate typical processes involved in program/game loads or boot-up sequences.
Kingston UV500 CDM SequentialKingston UV500 CDM Sequential
My expectations for how the UV500 would perform on Crystal DiskMark’s 4K test were already pretty low as a result of the data-encryption techniques mentioned above, since there are usually tradeoffs in 4K speeds on SED-enabled SSDs. However, the drive’s Crystal DiskMark 4K results dipped significantly compared with other drives, even though the SED feature was turned off throughout the entirety of our benchmarking process. If you’re looking for a drive that can simply transfer 4K files super-fast, you’re better off going with the Crucial BX500 instead.
Kingston UV500 CDM 4KKingston UV500 CDM 4K
Last up is a series of file and folder transfers done in the AS-SSD benchmarking utility, copying large files or folders from one location on the test drive to another.
Kingston UV500 AS-SSDKingston UV500 AS-SSD
The AS-SSD transfer-test results caught us off-guard a bit, given the drive’s middling performance in other metrics. The game-folder transfer test set a performance record, but the program-folder and ISO-file results weren’t as impressive.

While the Kingston UV500 lives up to almost all of the speed specifications set by its manufacturer, it lags behind less-expensive options in benchmarks, and its higher price prevents its solid TBW rating or self-encrypting capabilities from making it a firm recommendation. If money and storage size are your main concerns, you’re better off going with less expensive alternatives like the Editors’ Choice Samsung SSD 860 QVO, which sells for $149 for the 1TB version. That model is only available in the 2.5-inch variety, though. If you’re looking for pure speed in an M.2 form factor, the Samsung SSD 970 EVO is a tad more expensive, but it’s far ahead of the UV500 in terms of performance.
All that said, for mainstream use in which every eked-out megabyte per second isn’t an issue, the UV500 is a perfectly able pick, especially if price shifts bring it a bit lower than the pack, as they often do.
The Kingston UV500 solid-state drive comes in a variety of size and form factor options, but it faces stiff competition from less expensive, speedier competitors.
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Chris Stobing is a hardware analyst at PCMag. He brings his experience benchmarking and reviewing consumer gadgets and PC hardware such as laptops, pre-built gaming systems, monitors, storage, and networking equipment to the team. Previously, he worked as a freelancer for Gadget Review and Digital Trends, spending his time there wading through seas of hardware at every turn. In his free time, you’ll find him shredding the local mountain on his snowboard, or using his now-defunct culinary degree to whip up a dish in the kitchen for friends. is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology.
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