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Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe SSD 480GB review

Tom Morgan
9 Aug 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
360
inc VAT

Insanely fast and surprisingly affordable: the HyperX Predator PCIe isn't the ultimate SSD, but it's as good as it gets for under £400

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Specifications

Capacity: 480GB, Cost per gigabyte: £0.75, Interface: M.2/PCI-Express, Claimed read: 1,400MB/s

PCI Express-based SSDs are nothing new; OCZ, Plextor and Asus all released disks in 2013 and 2014, but because they all used similar two-lane, PCIe 2.0 controllers, the speed advantages over traditional SATA3 SSDs weren’t enough to justify the much higher costs. Kingston’s first PCIe SSD is different. The HyperX Predator uses the new new four-lane Marvell 88SS9293 controller, making it the first consumer-friendly SSD to truly break the bandwidth limits of SATA3 without also breaking the bank.

The HyperX predator is essentially an M.2 SSD designed to use the PCI-Express interface rather than SATA. The model we looked at includes a PCI-Express mounting bracket, which lets you use it in a motherboard that lacks an M.2 slot, and ensures you get the best possible performance from the disk. This is because not all motherboards dedicate PCI-Express lanes for storage, but instead route them through the platform controller hub, or PCH, which is slower because it shares bandwidth with other I/O controllers and peripherals.

You can buy the Predator without the PCI-Express mounting kit, but unless you’re sure your motherboard won’t be a limiting factor we think it’s better to buy the bundle – partly because it includes a copy of Acronis True Image, which makes it easy to clone your existing hard disk onto the SSD.

Kingston has opted to use the M.2 2280 form factor, in order to squeeze on as many NAND flash modules onto the circuit board as possible. This puts it among the largest M.2 devices around, which could be problematic if you’re looking to add this to a laptop. Make sure to check your hardware has room for one before you buy. Happily, the HyperX Predator can be used as a boot disk, unlike other M.2 SSDs, so there’s nothing stopping you from upgrading a laptop if the module will fit inside.

Compared to a traditional 2.5in SSD, which is restricted by the bandwidth of the SATA3 interface, the HyperX Predator PCIe is able to reach much higher read and write speeds - Kingston claims monstrous 1,000MB/s writes and 1,400MB/s reads are possible on the 480GB version. While we didn’t see quite such astronomical figures in our testing, we were still impressed with the Predator’s real-world performance.

In our large files test, we saw write speeds of 715MB/s and read speeds of 862MB/s – roughly twice the performance we’ve seen from most SATA3 SSDs. Read speeds were understandably lower in our small files test, with 622MB/s showing how much of a strain small files can be on an SSD, although we were impressed that write speeds were consistent at 716MB/s.

It was our Huge files test, which uses single 2.5GB files, where we saw the best performance; write speeds of 884MB/s and read speeds of 961MB/s are of course faster than any SATA SSD. The only disk we’ve seen that’s faster is Intel’s £900 NVMe SSD, which is almost three times the price of the Predator.

The HyperX Predator is undeniably fast, and can beat any SATA3 SSD purely because it isn’t bandwidth restricted by the interface. You do need a free PCI-Express X4 slot or M.2 socket to actually achieve those speeds, however, making it unsuited to small form factor PCs or older motherboards. You’re also paying around twice the price of a traditional SSD, making it something of an odd stopgap between SATA and the much faster NVMe. If you simply can’t wait, this is one of the fastest disks around for less than £400, but if you plan on upgrading your PC when Intel’s Skylake processors arrive, you may be better off waiting for NVMe to drop in price instead.

Hardware
Capacity480GB
Cost per gigabyte£0.75
InterfaceM.2/PCI-Express
Claimed read1,400MB/s
Claimed write1,000MB/s
ControllerMarvell 88SS9293
NAND flash typeToshiba A19 MLC
Mounting kitYes

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