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Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB Solid State Drive Review (Page 1)

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.
By Chris Ramseyer from Aug 28, 2012 @ 0:36 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Kingston





When Kingston developed their solid state drive strategy they realized enthusiasts and power users weren't going to accept reduced performance when working with incompressible data. The HyperX product series has been around for a very long time and when consumers see HyperX branding they know premium components and class leading performance is just part of the package. Kingston still wanted to attack the enthusiast SSD market with a two prong approach. Their solution was to simply build an SSD that was superior to competitor's flagship offering, by using 5K P/E cycle flash on the HyperX SSD. The second prong attack came from the HyperX 3K, an SSD built using 3K P/E flash, the common flash we see on many other enthusiast level SSDs. Both the HyperX and HyperX 3K use Intel synchronous flash, the good stuff we like to see, which offers higher performance than asynchronous flash that is often used in competitor's "tier 2" SSDs.


Now I have you wondering what a P/E cycle is and if a 5K or 3K is any good. Before we get to that, let me toss in another P/E or Program Erase value, this one for SLC flash, 100K.


The P/E cycle doesn't have anything to do with speed; it is a value for endurance. Every few years we all buy tires for our car. Tires are rated several different ways, just like NAND flash and one of those ratings is endurance, also just like with SSDs. Tire A is rated at 5K miles and is "Z-Rated", a speed rating that says the tire can run up to 149 MPH. Tire B is rated for 3K miles, but it is also Z-Rated, it can handle speeds up to 149 MPH. Both tires offer the same adhesion level, they stick to the ground the same, the only difference is one will last longer than the other. With our performance cars we replace the tires every few years and it doesn't really matter if you've worn the tires all the way. A new tire technology is available so it's time for a change, just like enthusiasts and SSDs. On our minivans we run the tires until the day after they wear through because we don't drive mainstream cars the same way, just like mainstream SSD users.


Let me tie all of this together real quickly. For enthusiasts who change SSDs as often as car enthusiast's change tires, the HyperX 3K offers a better value than the longer lasting HyperX. For most of us, it's like getting on EBay and seeing a Lamborghini that cost $200K new, but the owner put 60 miles on it and now the owner is asking $140K. He pretty much spent $10K for every mile he put on the car. The good thing about consumer SSDs, under normal use 3K P/E cycles will last for five to eight years. 5K P/E rated flash will last even longer, I would say by the time a HyperX with 5K P/E cycles wears out under normal use, we will be well into SATA IV or even SATA V.



Kingston first with 5-Series FW with working TRIM


In the summary on the main page I stated this isn't your regular HyperX 3K review and it isn't. This is the first review of the Kingston HyperX 3K built with Kingston's version of firmware 5.0.3, the working TRIM FW. 5.0.3 that brings TRIM back to SandForce based drives after a six month absence.


With Intel's new RAID 0 TRIM drivers working, TRIM takes on a whole new role for enthusiasts. Products like the HyperX 3K 120GB are quickly taking preference over single 240GB drives since two 120GB models in RAID 0 perform much faster than a single 240GB SSD. That story is coming soon, but it's something we will touch on today as well.

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