Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD Review

Storage
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Energy Efficiency

The HyperX 3K 120GB is the most energy efficient SF-2281 drive we've tested so far, but only by a hair, edging out its 240GB brother by only 0.02W. Like most SSDs, it uses less power than a typical 5400 RPM hard drive but the difference isn't significant enough to noticeably affect battery life.

Noise

As solid state drives have no spinning platters or moving parts of any kind, they are effectively silent storage devices. It is possible that there could be a tiny bit of electronic noise (typically a high pitched squeal) being emitted, either intermittently depending on task, or continuously, but the HyperX 3K 120GB was completely silent. The only SSD we've ever tested that made any audible noise was the Zalman S Series 128GB model which produced an odd high frequency squeal whenever it was accessed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Our Crucial M4 64GB review illustrated the possible performance implications of choosing a smaller solid-state drive. Thankfully the Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB doesn't suffer greatly in this regard — it lags behind the 240GB version but not by a whole lot; the larger model had just a 4% advantage in our real world tests. Its performance is almost indistinguishable from the ADATA SX910 128GB and Intel 520 Series 120GB. The ~120GB SF-2281 drives all kind of blend in with one another.

At this point it seems that SandForce SSDs are effectively becoming commodities given the minimal speed differences and the multitude of manufacturers now using the SF-2281 controller. All things equal, if you're having difficulty choosing a SandForce drive, we're tempted to simply recommend going with the company you trust the most with the length of warranty weighed into the decision. It's also becoming apparent that chip selection and firmware optimizations are not great differentiators — capacity, or rather having an optimal number of NAND Flash chips seems to be a bigger factor.

Price of course should always be a consideration, and at about US$100, the HyperX 3K 120GB is one of the least expensive SandForce drives, especially compared to the ADATA SX910 and Intel 520. However, we have to point out that SSD that has most impressed us doesn't employ a SandForce controller at all — the Samsung 830 Series 128GB remains our favorite. It can be found for around the same price, sports a bit more capacity, is the most energy efficient drive in its class by a significant margin, dominates our real world performance test suite, and doesn't rely on compressible data to produce good results. The downside is it might not be as long-lived as without compression, the 830 will perform many more writes over its lifespan.

Many thanks to Kingston Technology for the HyperX 3K 120GB solid state drive.

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Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB is Recommended by SPCR

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Intel 520 Series 120GB SandForce SSD
Crucial M4 64GB: Solid-State on a Budget
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB vs. Samsung 830 Series 128GB
Corsair Force GS 240GB: SandForce with Toggle-Mode NAND
Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives
ADATA XPG SX910 128GB Solid State Drive

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