November 11, 2014

China’s Kimtigo Not Known Until Now in SSD - the Kimtigo KTA-350 Performance Review

Introducing Kimtigo (aka Tigo), a brand that not many of us heard of when it comes to memory and storage devices. In fact, Kimtigo is a leading Chinese semiconductor brand ranked No.1 in China for its kind. 

Along with its global expansion, Kimtigo has announced the release of its KTA-350 SSD, powered by the SMI technology controller and an integrated with a DDR3 256MB built-in cache for faster boot ups, quick transfer and sharing of files and storage of memory rich media, documents and computing software. The KTA-350 offers a capacity up to 480GB, features sequential read of up to 540Mbytes/s and sequential write up to 410Mbytes/s, and it's backward compatible with SATA II interface of 3GB/s.

We'll be examining the Kimtigo KTA-350 120GB in today's review, courtesy of Kimtigo and Image Media. While the SRP is yet to be confirmed, let's give this beast a run and see what it's capable of.

SATAIII 6Gb/s (backwards compatible with SATA II 3Gb/s)
Operation System
Windows® 98/98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista™/ 7
Mac® OS 9.0 & Linux™ Kernel 2.4
And all above versions
Operation Temperature
1Million hrs
Vibration Resistance
Shock Resistance
Maximum Transfer Rate for Read
480MB/s (Tested by on software ATTO Benchmark on 240GB , pls note transfer rates may vary depending on capacities and system platform 
Maximum Transfer Rate for Write
275MB/s (Tested by on software ATTO Benchmark on 240GB , pls note transfer rates may vary depending on capacities and system platform 


The KTA-350 comes in a metal enclosure with Kimtigo's iconic tiger printed on (initially named Kingtiger).

Since this is a review unit, there's nothing much we can see at the back. The retail unit will probably comes with a sticker with important details such as model name, serial number, etc.

The seal should not be broken as it will void the warranty of the SSD itself - we broke the seal in order to gain further access to the components used on the SSD, do not try this at home.

The Samsung K4B2G1545Q-BCK0, 256MB worth of DDR3 built-in cache.

The Intel 29F32B08NCME2 NAND flash is used on the KTA-350.

Taking a closer look we can see that the KTA-350 uses the SM2246EN SATA 6Gb/s SSD controller that features low power consumption as low as 60mW, sequential read of up to 540 Mbytes/s and sequential write up to 410 Mbytes/s, and It’s capable of up to 80,000 random read I/O operations/s (IOPS) and up to 75,000 random write IOPS. 

We mounted the KTA-350 on our system and here's the result - the king tiger is ready to strike.

Testing Method

Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Samuel 17
Intel Core i7 4790K
ASUS Maximus Gene VI 
Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB@1600MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Kimtigo KTA-350 120GB
Power Supply
BitFenix Fury 550G
BitFenix Pandora

Synthetic Benchmarks

ATTO Disk Benchmark

The most frequently used benchmarking utility by many manufacturers for performance specification. As ATTO Disk Benchmark uses compressible data rather than compressible data, it results in higher benchmark scores. We've ran the benchmark with transfer size ranged from 0.5KB to 8192KB and total length of the test to be 256MB.

The result seems pretty good with sequential read performance peaked at 538.0MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 211.3MB/s. 

AS SSD Benchmark

Widely used SSD benchmarking utility that uses incompressible data to simulate the worst possible scenario for a SSD and thus giving a much lower sequential read and write speed result than what has been stated by the manufacturer as result of the heavy workload. 

As incompressible data is used, lower sequential read and sequential write result is expected. Sequential read peaked at 478.29MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 199.29MB/s. 4K read and write performance is bearable, with 26.63MB/s for 4K read and 73.32MB/s for 4K write.

Anvil's  Storage Utilities
By far the most complete SSD Benchmark utility available. The Anvil's Storage Utilities not only comes with the standard SSD Benchmark function, it also includes other functions such as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests and option to configure the compressibility of the test data.

While both sequential read and sequential write performance exhibits the near result as what we've seen in AS SSD benchmark, we can see the SSD's response time that is not displayed in majority of the SSD Benchmarking utilities out there. 

Developed by a Japanese coder that goes by the nickname Hiyohiyo, CrystalDiskMark is one of the most frequent used SSD Benchmark utility to measure SSD's read and write performance. There's 2 option for the test data used, compressible (0 fill) and incompressible (1 fill).

We've selected 1 fill as our test data and the result isn't bad either. The result shows a better result than both AS SSD benchmark and Anvil's Storage Utilities, with sequential read performance peaked at 505.8MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 210.2MB/s. Both 4K read and write performance seems pretty decent, with 34.25MB/s for 4K read and 108.0MB/s for 4K write.

Real World Performance
We've ran several test 
that with several SSD (including the KTA-350) with at least 40% capacity occupied with various commonly used software to simulate the real world scenario. 

There isn't much performance gap seen but from the result above, we can see that the Kimtigo KTA-350 is doing pretty well with the boot up time, launching Photoshop CS6 and transfer 5FB movie file. Launching Battlefield 4 doesn't seems to goes well with the Kimtigo KTA-350 even with few attempts, but rest is assured that there's no visible performance degradation throughout the test.

Final Thoughts
Despite being a new comer in the SSD category, the KTA-350 is doing pretty well in overall. Although the 540MB/s sequential read that SM2246EN controller is capable of is only reachable with ATTO Disk Bechmark that uses compressible test data, but you can barely tell the difference when it comes to real world performance as it's only a minor difference of a second or two.  

As the SRP is yet to be confirmed, we'll be judging the KTA-350 purely based on the performance displayed - it's not the best SSD out there, but it's an addition to the existing options that is worth considering. And...that's a silver from us at

  • Comes with a standard 3 year warranty
  • Decent performance
  • Use of quality components

  • Lower sequential write speed