A good-looking and reasonable-value drive, but there are cheaper and quicker rivals
120GB sata solid state disk
Kingston’s HyperX branding is reserved for its top-end SSDs, but the new HyperX 3K range is designed to deliver similar levels of high-end performance at a cheaper price.
The reason the drive is cheaper is because Kingston has fitted lower-specification NAND memory modules, which are rated at 3,000 program/erase cycles rather than the 5,000 of the fully-fledged HyperX. This shouldn’t be a problem for home users, though, as 5,000 cycle chips are more suited to enterprise users. You’ll still want to upgrade the drive to a bigger or faster model long before it wears out.
There aren’t too many differences between the 3K and original HyperX drive. Both are powered by SandForce’s familiar SF-2281 controller, and both take advantage of the faster SATA3 interface. Both also use 25nm NAND chips and, aside from fewer program and erase cycles, they’re similarly specified MLC parts. And, as before, it’s a good-looking bit of kit; the metallic HyperX logo in one corner, a black border, and gunmetal grey across the drive.
This all sounds like a recipe for a reasonably quick SSD, but the Kingston drive delivers a mixed bag of benchmark results. Its file writing scores were poor. In the large file test it scored 130MB/s and when handling small files it ran at 75MB/s. Those scores pale in comparison to the Intel 330 Series 120GB but, more importantly, they’re also slower than the Crucial M4 SSD 128GB, our favourite budget SSD. The Crucial drive scored 277MB/s and 80MB/s in the same tests.
The HyperX 3K at least managed to narrow the gap in our file reading benchmarks, working with large and small files at 351MB/s and 59MB/s. That’s not far behind the M4, which tore through those same benchmarks at 378MB/s and 60MB/s.
Kingston intends the 3K to be a budget drive and in that respect, it’s succeeded. The latest HyperX costs £103 for 128GB, which works out at 85p per gigabyte – one penny less than the Intel 330 Series. Again, though, the Crucial M4 is better value, with the 128GB version coming in at just £83, or 64p per gigabyte.
The HyperX at least manages to outpace the Crucial drive when it comes to accessories. The M4 doesn’t include any extras in the box, so you may have to budget extra for a 2.5in to 3.5in bracket to fit the SSD in your case – the Kingston 3K has one in the box. The Kingston drive’s accessories and decent price are scant consolation when its performance is relatively poor, though. Crucial’s M4 is cheaper, faster, and comes with a five rather than three-year warranty, so remains our favourite budget SSD.
|Price per gigabyte||£85.00|
|Noise (in normal use)||N/A|