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.

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