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Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 Thumb Drive Review

Kingston adds their top performance label to this very fast thumb drive.

| USB Drives in Storage | Posted: Feb 3, 2012 2:36 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Kingston

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Kingston is very particular when it comes to their HyperX branded products. HyperX designation is reserved for only the fastest products available. Not just from the company, but the fastest products in the world. When you see a HyperX product you know it is something special and the new Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is something special indeed.

 

In our testing we found that the new DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is almost as fast as the HyperX MAX 3.0 we tested last year, a USB 3.0 solid state drive. A few weeks ago we published a review of the RunCore Moon and found it reads data at right around 160MB/s. The HyperX branded DataTraveler reached 240MB/s while reading data in our tests, a full 80MB/s faster than the Moon! Kingston may have just knocked it out of the park with the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0.

 

Kingston is already selling three capacity sizes of the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0. Those are 64GB, 128GB and a massive 256GB size that can hold over 51,000 10MP pictures. Today we're looking at the 64GB drive that is on sale now at Newegg for just under $130.

 

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Kingston rates the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 at 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write which makes this product one of, if not the fastest USB 3.0 thumb drive available on the market today. As with most USB 3.0 products, the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, but you'll be limited to around 30MB/s read and write speeds, the upper limit of the specification.

 

In order to achieve these speeds Kingston had to use an 8-channel design for the controller. This is the same number of channels as a SandForce SSD!

 

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When it comes to the physical construction, Kingston used a mix of aluminium and hard plastic with an almost rubber like feel. On the back is a loop for attaching a lanyard, this also doubles as a cap holder when the drive is in use.

 

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A product like the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is made to exceed your highest expectations in style, capacity size and performance. Let's see how the newest addition to the HyperX family performs now that we know it has style and massive capacity.

 

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Using ATTO we can see the Kingston performance numbers were very close to what we achieved in our own testing on a Z68 based system. This drive is faster than some of the value based SSDs we tested in 2010. That is quite an accomplishment for a product that is less than three inches long. I spent 20 minutes trying to take the drive apart to see what it looked like on the inside, but the drive is made too well to disassemble.

 

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Our real world testing was a different story. There is no doubt the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is fast, but it lost in two of the tests to the Patriot SuperSonic Magnum 3.0 we tested last year (also a 64GB drive) and was beaten in two tests by the RunCore Moon drive. I was expecting a little higher performance out of this 8-channel Kingston drive in the real-world tests.

 

Additional testing led us to the problem, write access latency. In the gallery you will find the results of a write latency test which spiked as high as 635ms and averaged 318ms. USB does not support TRIM so the drive has to either use background garbage collection when idle and plugged in or use foreground garbage collection just before writing to the flash. Either way, there is a penalty when writing data to the drive and in our test the data is read from and written to the same drive which hampered the benchmarks results. If you just ran one operation at a time, either read or write, the drive would perform much better.

 

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Another small issue we found is the physical size of the drive. The USB 3.0 connector is offset to one side which is a good design because if you use a little strategy when plugging the drive in you can still use the USB port next to the port the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is plugged into. This is something you will get used to after a little time. The good news is Kingston didn't make a drive that is nearly 5 inches long or that blocks two USB ports at the same time, especially USB 3.0 ports that are still few and far between at this time.

 

Overall I really liked the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0. Kingston designed the drive well and put a lot of thought into the layout. The construction is of high quality and it looks fantastic. I'd like to see a little higher write speed and wouldn't be surprised if the larger capacity models wrote data a little faster. If you are in the market the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is fast enough to get the job done, looks fantastic and has enough capacity to hold an entire Blu-Ray disk in uncompressed format.

 

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