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Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB Solid State Drive Review - Final Thoughts

This isn't just another HyperX 3K review, like the 99 others you've seen. This is the first real and true review of the HyperX 3K, now with working TRIM and it's available to end-users.

| SSDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 28, 2012 5:36 am
TweakTown Rating: 94%      Manufacturer: Kingston

Final Thoughts

 

TweakTown image content/4/9/4902_30_kingston_hyperx_3k_120gb_solid_state_drive_review.png

 

The SSD market is changing rapidly for enthusiasts. Low prices for 120GB models and the introduction of RAID 0 TRIM for Intel Z77 based systems means it's now possible to spend roughly $200 and get 1000MB/s sequential read and write performance. A few years ago it took thousands of dollars to get 1000MB/s, even with consumer Western Digital Raptor HDDs and an enterprise RAID controller off EBay. 1GB/s is nothing to laugh at, it is an amazing amount of sequential performance and unlike spinners, the latency doesn't spike to sky high levels as you add drives to an array.

 

We're getting a little ahead of ourselves though because today we tested a single 120GB HyperX 3K. Kingston won the new LSI/SF TRIM race, this surprised us since we expected any number of smaller, more enthusiast focused companies to release 5.0.3 first. Even though Kingston's HyperX line is targeted at enthusiasts, the company on a whole always seems a little too 'corporate' when looked at through my enthusiast glasses. Not long ago Intel stated that the overclocker market has become a four billion dollar a year industry, so smaller enthusiast companies really don't stand a chance now that the big power houses are moving in.

 

When it comes to your data, this really isn't a bad thing because big companies bring massive validation budgets and massive validation labs. For the computer market, there really isn't anything worse than losing your data. Kingston services the enterprise market with several types of products and their validation lab has to be massive given the broad range of products they offer. With that in mind, it makes sense for Kingston to release 5.0.3 first because they were most likely the first to finish validation. The end result is we can finally say officially that end-users have access to TRIM on SandForce drives running 5-Series FW, if you have a Kingston SSD based on SandForce architecture.

 

When it comes to the performance of the HyperX 3K 120GB, it is pretty good. If this review went live when we received the drive five months ago and TRIM was working, I would have said the performance was great. In that small amount of time Plextor upstaged Team SandForce in the 120/128GB capacity size with the M3 Pro and M5 Pro, the fastest drives in this capacity size.

 

The saving grace for Kingston and other SandForce Driven partners in the 120/128GB capacity size is that SandForce drives perform much better in RAID than drives based on Marvell controllers. The Marvell drives put a lot of emphasis on background garbage collection, cleaning the drives on the backend during idle time, but the SandForce drives stay fast as long as TRIM is working. With RAID 0 TRIM now a reality on Z77 systems, HyperX 3K would be a perfect low cost drive to double up. We hope to bring that story to you soon.

 

We've used 5.0.3 on a 240GB drive for around two weeks now and not ran into an issue in a live, daily use system. If you have a Kingston SSD with a SandForce controller in it, feel confident in the upgrade. Your long term performance will increase and it's hard to turn down free performance. We did find a new issue with the 120GB drive at very high read queue depths, but if you are reading at QD32, then you should have an SLC drive anyhow because you are running enterprise workloads.

 

On paper the HyperX 3K looks like many other SandForce consumer SSDs, but Kingston managed to add a little flare by building a drive with impeccable build quality, truly the nicest on the market matched only by the original HyperX. If you plan to buy and use your next SSD for ten years then opt for the HyperX with 5K P/E cycles, but if you are an enthusiast planning on using your SSD for two to three years, then the HyperX 3K will serve it's propose and still have enough life to be passed down to family members who surf the web and last them another few years. Mainstream users who surf the web more than they run WinRAR and Quickpar will love the HyperX 3K as well. With a price comparable to competitor's asynchronous flash SSDs and much lower than the two Plextor performance offerings, the HyperX 3K has a really good price vs. performance balance.

 

TweakTown image 4/9/4902_1234_kingston_hyperx_3k_120gb_solid_state_drive_review.png

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