Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD Review

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Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD Review

October 21, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Kingston HyperX 3K
120GB 2.5" SSD
Kingston Technology
Street Price

A year ago, a decent 120GB solid state drive cost around US$200, about twice what you would pay today. Back then we would have recommended purchasing the smallest capacity available that would fit your operating system, core programs and games. Thankfully since then, we've seen a nice, continual drop in solid state drive prices, making them more accessible to the masses. While this is great for consumers, the current affordability of SSDs makes choosing the right capacity a more difficult decision than in the past.

It's not simply about how much storage you require either — there are performance ramifications to be considered. The controller design and number and distribution of NAND flash chips can be a significant determining factor in how an SSD performs. A good example is the recently reviewed Crucial M4 64GB. The small capacity meant there weren't enough NAND chips to properly take advantage of its Marvell controller's eight channel architecture, resulting in very disappointing write speeds.

According the various spec sheets we've looked through, this isn't as big an issue with LSI's popular SandForce SF-2281 controller, but we've noticed that amongst the SandForce drives we've reviewed thus far, the 240GB models have been a bit faster than the 120GB ones. That being said, we haven't had both a 120GB and 240GB variant of the same drive model to make a proper apples-to-apples comparison until now. Today we'll see if the Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB can match up to its big 240GB brother.

Kingston HyperX 3K: Specifications
(from the manufacturer data sheet)
Form Factor 2.5"
Controller SandForce® SF-2281
Components MLC NAND (3k P/E Cycles)
Interface SATA Rev 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev 2.0 (3Gb/s)
Capacities 90GB, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
Sequential reads SATA Rev. 3.0
90GB / 120GB / 240GB – 555MB/s
480GB – 540MB/s
Sequential writes SATA Rev. 3.0
90GB / 120GB / 240GB – 510MB/s
480GB – 450MB/s
Sustained Random 4K R/W 90GB – 20,000/50,000 IOPS
120GB – 20,000/60,000 IOPS
240GB – 40,000/57,000 IOPS
480GB – 60,000/45,000 IOPS
Max Random 4K R/W 90GB – 85,000/74,000 IOPS
120GB – 85,000/73,000 IOPS
240GB – 86,000/60,000 IOPS
480GB – 75,000/48,000 IOPS
Power Consumption Idle – 0.455 W (TYP)
Read – 1.58 W (TYP)
Write – 2.11 W (TYP)
Dimensions 69.85mm x 100mm x 9.5mm
Weight 97g
Operating temperatures 0°C ~ 70°C
Storage temperatures -40°C ~ 85°C
Shock Resistance 1500G
Vibration Operating – 20G
Non-operating – 2.17G
MTBF 1,000,000 Hrs
Total Bytes Written (TBW) 90GB: 57.6TB
120GB: 76.8TB
240GB: 153.6TB
480GB: 307.2TB

The HyperX 3K 240GB is a very fast drive, in fact the quickest SandForce model we've ever tested, even beating out the Corsair Force GS 240GB which is equipped with supposedly faster, Toggle-mode NAND chips. On paper, the 120GB model sports the same sequential write/read speeds but there is some variation in random performance. Most notably, the 240GB version is twice as fast when it comes to sustained random 4K reads. We'll see how this affects real world performance.

Box and contents (SH103S3/120G).

The drive.

The package we received from Kingston this time around is a little lighter, lacking most of the amenities (USB enclosure, SATA cable, imaging software, screwdriver) included with the more expensive upgrade kit version of the drive (SH103S3B/120G). The barebones model (SH103S3/120G) contains just the drive, a brief instruction sheet, and a 3.5 inch internal drive adapter. The 9.5 mm thick metal casing is the same though, comprised of a slick, gun metal brush aluminum face with raised letters.

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