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Kingston's First NVMe SSD, The KC1000

Kingston has reintroduced the KC1000 NVMe SSD. We first saw the drive in January at CES, but the company wanted to hold the details until the official launch. Seemingly, that is in the very near future--mid June.
The KC series has historically targeted system builders and corporations upgrading systems en masse. Kingston released several client SSDs under the KC brand, and many of them were tuned for increased stability and longevity but share similar hardware with models from the standard consumer product line. The KC1000 press release seems to turn the tables and take this series in a slightly different direction.
 
"The demands of today’s performance power users are constantly being put to the test as new data-intensive applications push the boundaries of what can be achieved with even the market’s high performance professional workstations and most powerful gaming rigs,” said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. “KC1000 is the perfect solution to meet the needs of media and design professionals, gaming enthusiasts and anyone who needs ultra-low latency storage performance to end data bottlenecks. This native NVMe device offers one of the industry’s most powerful storage solutions for high-resolution content delivery, virtual reality applications, accelerated game play or a competitive edge for the creative professional on tight deadlines.”
 
Gamers, power users, and enthusiasts have always been directed to the HyperX brand, but in recent years that series shifted to target gamers exclusively. Kingston calls the KC1000 an "Ultimate Storage Upgrade for HD Video, PC Enthusiasts, Gaming and More." The release later identified a list of specific application categories the series will perform well in:
 
High-resolution video editing Virtual and augmented reality applications CAD software applications Streaming media Graphically intensive video games Data visualization Real-time analytics  
It seems the KC series may begin to target a wider audience with the introduction of the first Kingston NVMe SSD.
 
 
The KC1000 series ships in three capacity sizes, but there are a total of six product SKUs. For each capacity, the drives ships as either a bare drive or with a half-height, half-length (HHHL) add-in card adapter. The performance coming from the Phision PS5007-E7 controller paired with Toshiba 15nm planar NAND looks strong. The sequential read performance reaches 2,700 MB/s, and the sequential writes are 900 MB/s for the 240GB model and 1,600 MB/s for the two largest-capacity drives. Random performance is also impressive, with up to 290,000 IOPS (225,000 for the 240GB). Users can reach up to 190,000 random write IOPS.
 
Kingston backs the KC1000 series with a generous five-year limited warranty with ample endurance figures that reach as high as 1PB for the 960GB drive.
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    Final Fantasy XV Review

    Most games that spend a decade in development wind up being terrible – looking at you, Duke Nukem Forever. Most games aren't Final Fantasy XV though, which has pulled off the nigh impossible by becoming one of the best entries in Square Enix's vaunted JRPG series in years.

     

    Then again, calling it a JRPG feels increasingly inaccurate. Already, Final Fantasies XII and XIII – and especially Lightning Returns – had edged closer and closer to action gameplay, and XV feels like it's taken the final step into that genre, while mixing in a heavy dose of Skyrim-style open world RPG adventuring.

     

    As you travel the world with exiled prince Noctis and his retainers Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto – appropriately Shakespearean names for a game clearly influenced by elements of the Bard's works, from Romeo and Juliet to Hamlet – battles flow thick and fast. Gone are the days of bespoke encounters; here you clash swords with, or are attacked by, enemies that roam the same world map as you, with no splintered screens. So integrated is the combat that you can even run away by, well, literally running away from monsters and hoping they don't give chase.

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    Battles themselves are lightning fast too. In another departure from series norms, you only really control Noctis, with his allies running on autopilot according to pre-set actions. Final Fantasy now feels closer to Kingdom Hearts, albeit with less cartoonish leads. Combos can be a bit too simple – director Hajime Tabata perhaps not wanting to overwhelm series purists? – and low-level encounters can be won by a repetitive tap of the PS4's circle button.

     

    Visually, it feels drastically different too. While the staples of Final Fantasy games – breathtaking summons, Chocobos, surprisingly engaging minigames – all feature, they're given a more realistic makeover, while the locations you visit feel solid and real, grounded by mostly conceivable machinery and architecture. Oddly, seeing impossible creatures and sci-fi weapons of war juxtaposed against an ostensibly 'normal' world makes everything feel far more fantastic.

     

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    There are still the hallmarks of RPGs past to be found though. Delve into the character management systems and there are plenty of numbers to juggle and items that make those numbers larger and, accordingly, more powerful, and the rules you can set for Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis become satisfyingly complex. Eventually, you'll be pulling off combo moves with ease, using Noctis' short-range teleportation skills in concert with your team to dominate battles.

     

    There's another hallmark of Final Fantasy to contend with though – the story is largely bobbins. It's serviceable, and its road trip structure helps drive home the deep and genuine friendship between the four protagonists, but you'll struggle to care too much about yet another overthrown fictional kingdom.


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