Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB vs. Samsung 830 Series 128GB

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Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB vs. Samsung 830 Series 128GB

August 26, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Kingston HyperX 3K
240GB 2.5" SSD
Samsung 830 Series
128GB 2.5" SSD
Kingston Technology
Street Price
US$225 (upgrade kit)
(stand-alone drive)
US$135 (notebook kit)
US$130 (desktop kit)

(stand-alone drive)

Like many other memory manufacturers, Kingston has relied on third party controllers to power their SSDs, despite the controller being the key ingredient to good performance, reliability, and longevity. They have released numerous models over the years with controllers produced by the likes of Toshiba, JMicron, Intel, and LSI (SandForce). This has given them a good amount of flexibility, allowing them to hit many markets and price-points and enabling the convenience of switching technology depending on their needs.

Samsung has taken a distinctly different approach, being more selective with their process and focusing primarily on their own in-house controller. This gives them the advantage of having full control over how their drives operate and the developers who write the firmware are inherently more familiar with the hardware. It's no coincidence that Samsung also happens to be a big manufacturer of NAND flash. As their SSD production is vertically integrated, it's not far fetched to suggest their drives might be better optimized than their competitors.

The Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB and Samsung 830 Series 128GB.

Today we pit two of their top consumer SSDs against one another, the Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB and Samsung 830 Series 128GB. The HyperX 3K is powered by the ubiquitous SandForce SF-2281 and Intel 25 nm synchronous MLC NAND chips with a 3,000 erase-cycle, thus the "3K" in the model number. The 5,000 erase-cycle chips used by the expensive vanilla HyperX were shed as it was deemed unnecessary in light of SandForce on-the-fly compression which decreases the amount of wear and tear; the 3K is a more affordable and pragmatic alternative. The 830 Series on the otherhand uses Samsung's 3-core MCX controller with faster 2x nm Toggle-mode NAND and 256MB of low power DDR2 cache memory. The 830 is also has a sleeker 7 mm casing giving it the added advantage of being compatible with a variety of new slim ultrabooks that require these smaller form factor drives.

Comparison: Specifications
Drive Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB Samsung 830 Series 128GB
Design 2.5" (9.5 mm thick) 2.5" (7 mm thick, ultraslim form factor)
Capacity 240GB 128GB
Interface SATA 3.0 6 Gbps SATA 3.0 6 Gbps
Controller SandForce SF-2281 Samsung MCX
NAND Flash Type Intel 25 nm synchronous MLC 2x nm Samsung Toggle DDR MLC
Sequential Read Speed 555 MB/s 520 MB/s
Sequential Write Speed 450 MB/s 320MB/s
Random Read Speed 86K IOPS (4K, max.)
40K IOPS (4K, sustained)
80K IOPS (max.)
Random Write Speed 60K IOPS (4K, max.)
57K IOPS (4K, sustained)
30K IOPS (max.)
Power Consumption 0.455 W idle (typical)
1.58 W read (typical)
2.11 W write (typical)
0.078W idle
0.127W active
Weight 97 g 0.13 lb (59 g)
MTBF 1,000,000 Hours 1,500,000 Hours
Warranty 3 Years 3 Years

On paper the HyperX 3K appears to be the faster drive but it's hard to tell as most of the performance figures are maximums rather than typical. From previous experience, we know that SandForce drives don't hit near their rated speeds without good amounts of compressible data for their compression algorithms to take advantage of. Also noticeable are the Samsung 830's ridiculously energy efficiency claims that are orders of magnitude lower than the HyperX 3K.

Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB (upgrade kit) package.

A closer look at the included USB enclosure.

Our HyperX 3K sample is the upgrade kit version which has a comprehensive package including a 3.5 inch drive adapter, a SATA data cable, imaging software, a fancy multi-bit screw driver and if you're upgrading an existing 2.5 inch drive, an external enclosure is provided. The enclosure is a bit subpar being constructed of plastic and having only USB 2.0 connectivity but it's a nice accessory to have regardless. Other manufacturers like typically offer this in a separate notebook upgrade bundle without the 3.5 inch drive adapter.

The bright red color of the Corsair Force GS 240GB attracts the interest of wild PC enthusiasts and gamers with case windows.

Samsung's package includes a copy of Norton ghost, a 3.5 inch adapter, a SATA data and power cable, and a voucher for a digital download of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The game's inclusion was announced two months ago with the disclaimer "while supplies last" but it was present in our retail sample which was purchased only a couple of weeks ago. Future Soldier is a US$40 value and has received fairly good reviews.

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