Branding is one of the most important elements of nearly every consumer item around. No matter what the product it is you're either making or selling, having a readily identifiable brand is vital.
If you can not only make your brand something that people are used to, and therefore be more likely to purchase when confronted with a choice, but can adhere to product control enough to make it super-desirable you're really on to a winner because people will buy it 'sight unseen'. There are many possible example but the most obvious of course is Apple and their range of iDevices. There are many phones and tablets with better specifications, a wider range of features and much better value, yet such is the desirability that the the public cannot buy them quick enough. Such is the power of a readily identifiable brand.
Indeed there is a joke I'm sure we've all heard that as long as it was sleekly designed and had 'i' in front of it, Apple customers will buy anything. However, the pitfall of having a brand that people adore is if you release a product that doesn't match up to the high standards previous ones have set then the public perception will quickly shift from "Brand X is awesome" into "Brand X isn't", regardless of the quality of the item itself.
Kingston's Hyper X memory has been some of the highest performing memory for a long time, and just seeing that logo gives a warm sense that the item you've purchased will be great. So you can understand what a huge statement of confidence it is that Kingston have finally decided to brand the latest in their line of Solid State Drives as a Hyper X one. Does it live up to the name?
A quick look through the specifications and we can see why Kingston have finally decided to apply the Hyper X branding to this drive. The very latest SandForce controller coupled to some blazing Intel NAND and the SATA III interface is the kind of high-speed combination that has us foaming in anticipation.
Indeed Kingston have seen fit to advertise this drive as being capable of a monumental 500MB/s plus in both read and write settings. Mind-blowing speeds indeed, if the drive can live up to such lofty claims.
|Controller||2nd Generation SandForce® Controller SF-2281|
|Components||Intel® 25nm Compute-Quality MLC NAND (5k P/E Cycles)|
|Interface||SATA Rev 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev 2.0 (3Gb/s)|
|Capacities||120 GB, 240 GB|
|Sequential reads 6Gb/s||555MB/s for all capacities|
|Sequential writes 6Gb/s||510MB/s for all capacities|
|Drive Technology Support ||S.M.A.R.T. TRIM and Garbage Collection|
|Warranty/support||Three-year warranty with free 24/7 support|
|Power Consumption||240GB: 0.455 W (TYP) Idle / 1.5 W (TYP) Read / 2.05 W (TYP) Write |
|Dimensions||69.85 x 100 x 9.5mm|
|Operating Temperatures||0°C ~ 70°C|
As ever, let's take a look at it before we get down to brass tacks.
The Hyper X comes in some seriously high class packaging. So often SSDs are supplied in the bare minimum, even the full kit versions such as the one we have here today, but not so with the Hyper X.
No 'cornflake' style box here. This is a box you lift the lid from, the thick glossy cardboard giving an air of quality that is only reinforced when you see the SSD itself in its high-density foam cocoon.
Being the full upgrade kit version we find a disk with Acronis software, SATA cable, USB caddy and cable and a screwdriver, all supplied in the Hyper X blue. The 2.5" to 3.5" adaptor is also anodised in that electric blue, but showing the attention to detail that Kingston have lavished upon this we even get the stylised X cut out of the foam. Very classy.
So many drives are clearly slightly badged versions of generic ones, yet the Hyper X SSD will never be mistaken for anything else thanks to it's sharp design and the embossed Hyper X logo. If the drive is half as good as the thought that has been put into it we're in for a treat.
HD Tune has never been fond of SSDs and whilst we see some consistent results in the linear testing that HD Tune uses, the burst figures hint at far more potential than is revealed here. The consistency is particularly impressive though with no great drops across testing as evidenced by the good minimum figure.
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark has always demonstrated itself to be the most reliable test of a drives speed and the SandForce equipped Hyper X totally smashes our graphs to smithereens.
Incredible read speeds are backed up by supremely impressive write speeds. Far and away though the biggest highlight has to be the Hyper X performance with smaller file sizes. It makes mincemeat out of the RAID 0 Velociraptor setup.
Pull those belts up tight, we're about to go into warp-drive. Whilst we're some way off of the absolute maximum speeds claimed (although we can hit those as you'll see in a couple of pages), AIDA64 is a more realistic test of how a drive will read those big old files. The answer, in case the graph doesn't make it clear, is "very quickly indeed". Stunning stuff.
PC Mark Vantage
Away from the synthetic speeds we get from linear read and write tests, and into the real world of varying data chunks being written at varying times, PC Mark Vantage shows what a quantum leap forwards the Hyper X drive is when compared to two pretty quick setups. Only in the Media Center test does either the SSD Now V+ or Velociraptor RAID options get remotely close to the titan that is the Hyper X.
Finally ATTO tests the drives with different sized data chunks. Every drive slows down the smaller the file size just because of the nature of writing tiny clusters. As the size increases, so the drive gets into its stride. The Kingston Hyper X shows phenomenal consistency across the board.
Even on the creaky old SATA II the Hyper X is blazingly fast. Not that you'll ever use a drive of this calibre on something as limited as SATA II, but it's a good demonstrator of how the Hyper X just uses every last inch of bandwidth.
They say a picture paints a thousand words. So how many does this paint?
Back at the start we wondered if the decision to put the highly respected Hyper X brand onto an SSD, especially when they hadn't done so even with their speedy SSD Now V+ drives, would diminish the Hyper X or if the confidence of Kingston was well placed.
Unquestionably the faith and wisdom of Kingston is well placed. The Hyper X SSD absolutely demolished everything that has come before it, and everything we could put in front of it.
So many drives sacrifice their write performance on the altar of absolute read speed because the public love those gaudy numbers. The Hyper X though with its combination of SandForce controller and 25nm Intel MLC NAND has mind-blowingly big read speeds, but still keeps the write speed high. Perhaps even more impressive is how the speeds remain so consistent. Often at the bleeding edge of technological capability there are tests that highlight weaknesses, or don't allow something to perform to its full capacity. The Kingston Hyper X, if anything, became even more jaw-dropping the deeper into testing we moved.
Synthetic benchmarks normally give us the shouty numbers that are kicked into touch once the real world stuff kicks in. Yet the Hyper X was even more impressive in PC Mark Vantage than it was in something like Crystal Disk Mark. And it was damn impressive in that.
Yes of course there is a steep price to pay for this speed. Around £400 for the 240GB model on test today. But this isn't a product for the everyman. This is shamelessly elitist. It's for the most demanding user. Those who absolutely must have no compromise whatsoever. You wouldn't put chip pan fat in your Audi R8 TDi, so why settle for an average drive in your HexCore i7 system? The Kingston Hyper X SSD redefines fast. Anything that can make a RAID Velociraptor, or SSD Now V+ setup look positively sluggish and lumpen gets out vote. Indeed the performance is so astonishing that £400 is almost cheap, especially when compared to other large capacity SSDs.
With Trim and garbage collection support, great packaging, fabulous looks and speed to burn, the Kingston Hyper X SSD is not only worthy of the Hyper X branding, but our OC3D Gold Award too.
Thanks to Kingston for providing the Hyper X SSD for review. Discuss in our forums.