Kingston’s UV500 drives offer extra security over common SATA SSDs

Savvy gerbils already know this, but once you're in the realm of solid-state storage, performance differences between similar drives become less relevant than feature sets. One of those features is hardware-based encryption, something you don't see much on entry-level drives. That's why Kingston's UV500 SATA SSDs are interesting, as they combine high-density 3D TLC NAND flash memory with a Marvell controller that supports TCG Opal 2.0 encryption.

The UV500 series will come in 2.5", mSATA, and M.2 form factors. Drive capacities top out at 480 GB as an mSATA unit, 960 GB in M.2-2280 format, and 1920 GB as a 2.5" drive. The performance figures that Kingston quotes for the UV500 are fine enough. The combination of 520 MB/s on sequential reads and 500 MB/s on sequential writes plus 79,000 IOPS in 4K random read and 45,000 IOPS in 4K random writes reads a lot like "yep, that's an entry-level SATA SSD."

Performance isn't the point of the UV500s, even though they're fast enough for most purposes. The point of these SSDs is that they could offer greatly-improved security over a company's existing storage setup in a fleet of desktop or laptop machines. Hardware-based encryption means keeping data safe won't have an impact on the machine's performance, even in older machines that don't support the AES-NI processor extensions.

Kingston says it'll warranty the UV500 series for five years. If you've got a bundle of slow storage to swap out for secure SSDs, shop around for the UV500s. They don't seem to have hit e-tail yet but Kingston says they're shipping, so it shouldn't be long now.

Comments closed
    • Selden
    • 1 year ago

    I just finished a chat with Kingston that didn’t really answer my questions. Although I can answer one of the questions posted below: they specifically mentioned Bitlocker.

    My planned use is in an external USB enclosure, for backups, and for transferring large numbers of files between either or two Chromebooks, or with a Mac.

    The part that I don’t understand is that if the drive is self-encrypting, can it be used on multiple devices without installing decryption software?

    • GTVic
    • 2 years ago

    In researching this with Microsoft and Lenovo, I was told that M.2 does not include hardware encryption in the spec so apparently this is not yet possible except possibly in the mSATA format???

      • auxy
      • 2 years ago

      M.2 is just a socket. NVMe (which normally uses PCIe for its electrical connection) has no provisions for encryption yet which is probably what you were told. These are regular SATA drives that (can) come in M.2 form. Not all M.2 sockets support both PCIe and SATA connections, so check the docs on your hardware! (*´ω`*)

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 2 years ago

    Do hardware solutions like this work with Bitlocker? I admit I don’t know enough about it.

      • GTVic
      • 2 years ago

      If the eDrive spec is supported Bitlocker should encrypt in hardware. Apparently you can tell if it works if the drive encrypts instantly vs several hours delay.

      • btb
      • 2 years ago

      You need a TPM for hardware based bitlocker encryption to work. That could be in the form of a separate TPM chip, or possible via Intel PTT support in the chipset which some chipsets have, and some do not.

      I havent personally tried the PTT way though, as I have a dedicated TPM chip on my current motherboard.

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