Over the weekend we received word from Kingston about pricing.
Kingston HyperX SSDs are now available at Newegg in the US as well. The Newegg prices are still very close to MSRP, but we expect to see Kingston push the HyperX SSD to compete with the Vertex 3 soon.
The Kingston HyperX SSD is the fastest available on the market today. Kingston and SandForce have worked wonders with the firmware, but it won't take too long for other companies to start shipping drives with the same firmware and for companies to make the firmware available to end users. OCZ already lists a new 2.11 firmware that I have yet to install on my collection of drives - we'll have to run some numbers later in the week. It really doesn't matter what other companies do, though, the HyperX is fast and has the potential to be the 'it' drive for 2011.
In order for that to happen, Kingston has a few marks to hit and we don't have all of the information needed just yet. Let's run down the list and see where the HyperX SSD stands. The ability to outperform all other drives on the market, check, the HyperX is right there with the best combination of hardware to deliver superior performance. The HyperX SSD also ships with a desktop adapter bracket when you purchase the HyperX Upgrade Kit (and possibly the standard drive kit, we'll confirm). So you get the accessory needed for easy desktop installation, but Kingston doesn't stop there, they get bonus points for the USB enclosure for easy notebook installation since it also includes drive cloning software. If the enclosure is the icing, then the included SATA III data cable and 4-pin Molex to SATA power cable is like having your name on the cake, a nice icing picture and the correct number of candles. That's what the Kingston HyperX has confirmed.
On the other side of the coin are the unknowns. The first is pricing and this one is very important. As you know, you can include all kinds of goodies, but the price goes a long way in end users buying decisions. I wish you all would just follow what I write and buy what I say, but when push comes to shove, the final price plays a big role. If Kingston is able to compete with the other Team SandForce players in the low cost arena then the added value goodies we talked about in the last paragraph should push the HyperX to the top of the list and anyone buying a competing product is making the wrong decision.
This next part doesn't get a lot of play in the media, but it should. As you can see from the benchmark scores today, firmware makes a world of difference and SandForce is working on making their drives faster and even more reliable. There are a number of Team SandForce companies churning out drives, but failing on giving end users the tools needed to update the firmware. Some companies are even making end users ship drives back to the factory to get the latest firmware. This is unacceptable for power users looking to pull the most performance out of their products. At this time, we don't know how Kingston will tackle the firmware update issue; let's hope they make the right decision and give power users and enthusiasts the tools needed to make performance improvements possible without the hassle of shipping a drive back to the factory.
Even without knowing the pricing information, the Kingston HyperX is at the least eligible for a Performance Award. If Kingston manages to deliver the HyperX at a wallet pleasing price then this will quickly turn into an Editor's Choice Award. I guess we'll have to wait until the 120GB drive arrives and the drives go on sale. We'll follow up in a couple of weeks and see how things fall into place.