Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD Review
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Kingston has launched a budget friendly version of their fantastic HyperX line of solid state drives. This budget friendly version of the HyperX is known as the HyperX 3K. Kingston has taken a different approach to making the HyperX 3K cost effective. Everyone else has lowered prices by decreasing performance. This is usually a result of cheaper and slower NAND as a way to lower costs. Intel chose to use a slower firmware and a shorter warranty period for reducing costs.
Kingston chose a different way, reducing costs without sacrificing even one drop of performance. Kingston has accomplished this by using NAND with a lower program/erase cycle rating of 3000 cycles. The original and higher priced HyperX uses 5000 P/E rated NAND. We applaud Kingston’s decision to go this route because, 5000 P/E NAND isn’t any faster than cheaper 3000 P/E NAND. Being enthusiast’s here at RWL, we will GLADLY trade less P/E cycles for a lower priced drive with top tier performance.
So the next logical question that is no doubt on some of your minds would be, will I wear my drive out to save that money? The short answer is no freaking way! Being very conservative and going by the numbers, the HyperX 3k will take 10GB of data written to it EVERY day for at least 8 years before NAND failure. Reality is probably more like 30GB per day for 8 years or even longer because of DuraWrite, compression and a very low write amplification due to the LSI SandForce 2281 SSD Flash Processor used in the HyperX 3k.
Before we go any further let’s take a quick look at what Kingston themselves have to say about their new HyperX 3K series of solid state drives:
HyperX performance at an exceptional price
Budget-minded gamers and enthusiasts will benefit from the lower price of Kingston’s new HyperX® 3K SSD. This solid-state drive combines premium 3000 program-erase cycle NAND with the second-generation SandForce® controller. Its lower price means more users can experience ultra-responsive gaming, multitasking and multimedia computing power. 3K loads games and applications faster, increases frames per second (FPS) for an improved gaming experience and allows for quick transfers and edits of large media files. HyperX 3K provides high-speed SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) performance and blazing fast random and sequential read/write speeds. SandForce DuraClass™ technology provides the latest data integrity protection for ultimate endurance over the entire life of the drive. HyperX 3K SSD comes in a sleek, black and aluminum case design, accentuating the look of any power user’s system. For added peace of mind, HyperX 3K SSD is backed by a three-year warranty and legendary Kingston® reliability.
The HyperX 3k 240GB was shipped to us with LSI SandForce 5.01 firmware. LSI SandForce 5 series firmware has ushered in a new level of performance for SandForce Driven drives. Previous to 5 series firmware SandForce drives were limited to about 80,000 Vantage scoring. 5 series brought with it much higher performance resulting in higher sequential read/writes, 4K performance and even Vantage scoring of about 90,000 on the fastest of drives like, the Kingston HyperX 3K we are reviewing today. Sounds great? Well not so fast. Because of the way RWL fill tests with Vantage, as far as we know, only this lab and our affiliate lab (run by the world’s foremost storage reviewer Chris Ramseyer) have discovered that there is a major flaw in current 5 series firmware. TRIM does not function PERIOD. We have been in contact with LSI SandForce regarding this matter and they are working on a solution we expect will be released in short order, presumably with the release of 5.03 firmware. With this in mind I am going to run the benchmarks in a different order which will expose the TRIM problem. Then we will be running the rest of the benchmarks after the drive is put into a state where TRIM will not recover Vantage scoring, so we can observe the effects of this state on most of our benchmarking. The revised benching/filling order will be as follows:
HD Tune Pro
AIDA access time testing
Vantage fill testing (which will bring the TRIM issue to the surface)
Then the following benchmarks will be run in order, rapid succession and only run one time each:
AS SSD and PCMark Scoring
PC Mark 7
I feel this will give the best assessment of this drives performance with current 5 series firmware having no TRIM.