Kingston HyperX 3K Series 120 GB SSD

Kingston HyperX 3K 120 GB SSD

Although J.A. Laraque has already reviewed the 240 GB version of the Kingston HyperX 3K SSD, I reviewed the 120 GB version, comparing it to the Patriot Memory Wildfire 120 GB SSD and to my 3 TB Seagate hard drive.

The drives were all tested on my main gaming PC, which may be familiar to you from my Gaming PC Benchmark Guides. The specs are the following:

OS: 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate edition
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 3.7 Ghz per core 6 MB L3 cache AM3+ socket processor
Video Card: Sapphire ATI 6870 1 GB
Memory: Kingston HyperX 16 GB (4 X 4 GB) 240 pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Quad Channel Kit non-ECC unbuffered CAS 9 1.65V RAM
Sound Card: onboard sound via a Realtek ALC889 chipset
Storage: Seagate Barracuda XT ST33000651AS 3 TB 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache SATA 6.0 Gb/s 3.5″ internal hard drive OEM
Case: Thermaltake Xaser III LANFire VM2000A Case
Power Supply: hec X-Power 780W (peak) 600W (mean) ATX12V v2.3/EPS 12V v2.91 SLI nVidia Hybrid-SLI Certified CrossFire power supply
Peripherals: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD Burner

If you are concerned with the features of the Kingston HyperX SSD please read J.A. Laraque’s review as he talks about them in detail.

The benchmarks I use to test hard drives and SSDs are the AS SSD Benchmark, ATTO Disk Benchmark, and CrystalDiskMark.

Under the AS SSD Benchmark the Kingston HyperX 3k 120 GB SSD yielded:

AS SSD Benchmark Kingston HyperX SSD

Let’s look at the numbers in detail using Excel:

AS SSD Kingston HyperX vs Patriot Memory Wildfire

Under the ATTO benchmark the Kingston HyperX 3k 120 GB SSD yielded:

ATTO Disk Benchmark Kingston HyperX SSD

Time to look at the numbers in detail in Excel again:

ATTO Disk Benchmark Kingston HyperX vs Patriot Memory Wildfire

Under the CrystalDiskMark benchmark the Kingston HyperX 3k 120 GB SSD yielded:

CrystalDiskMark Kingston HyperX SSD

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Mambo Number 5 and by that I mean it’s Excel:

CrystalDiskMark Kingston HyperX vs Patriot Memory Wildfire

Conclusion:

Overall, both the Kingston HyperX and Patriot Memory Wildfire seriously beat the hard drive in just about every test as shown in these tests. Comparing both SSDs to one another the Wildfire is faster under two of the three benchmarks and the HyperX is faster in one of the three benchmarks. I normalized the score of all three reviews and took the average of the normalized scores and I must conclude that the Wildfire under most operations is about 12.74% faster than the HyperX. In order words, the HyperX is only about 88.70% as fast as the Wildfire.

Now I know you must be saying “Well I thought this was a review on the HyperX, why did it get less performance than the Wildfire?” Well, the Wildfire is a more expensive SSD and the HyperX is more inexpensive and more mass produced. For what you get, both SSDs are highly recommended, especially when being used for your operating system drive. So yes, the Wildfire won the performance race but most likely you will end up buying a HyperX because the performance is slightly less and the price is significantly lower.

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD Review

When SSD’s first arrived on the market the price point alone made many people turn away from them, but as the prices began to come down, more and more people began to see the benefit to adding a SSD to their existing system. For more novice consumers and those who still find the price a little too high there are remaining questions about when and why to get an SSD. In this review we will cover the benefits of the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD as well as the overall advantages to using a SSD.

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD

Why an SSD?

So let’s start with the basics. An SSD is faster than your normal Hard Drive, much faster. The direct speed difference will vary on the model you get. Using the HyperX 3K we compared it to my previous hard drive, a 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s. The read and write speeds were many times faster with the SSD which translates into quicker load times and faster access of data. This means if you use it as your system drive Windows will boot and respond faster and applications will do the same.

For many gamers, an SSD is added to their existing system to be used as their game drive. What this does is improve the loading and access time of a game and this also comes into play online. Now an SSD cannot help you if your ISP is slow or you have bandwidth issues, but if you have applications running in the background along with your game, say Ventrilo, an SSD can manage the data better meaning a smooth gaming experience with no choppiness, which is a key in FPS, RTS and MMO gaming.

Beyond the benefits for applications and games an SSD can make an older computers seem newer by expanding its usability. Many times, especially for users who are not heavy into games, find themselves with a slow PC, not because of CPU or memory, but their hard drive. The speed and performance of an SSD can inject new life into your existing system even freeing the need to upgrade other parts. Finally, an SSD contains no moving parts so if you move your system a lot it can take the wear and tear that a traditional hard drive cannot.

The Breakdown

We tested the 240GB version of the Kingston HyperX for this review. For people looking to add more programs and games in addition to their operating system, this size is a perfect fit. This model is also lower in price costing a litter over two hundred dollars. For your O/S 100GBs of space is a good number to go with. I personally have used as low as 50GBs with a few applications added, but was always low on drive space. With this 240GB drive, you will have more than enough room for your operating system, your applications and games. If you collect media like movies and music you could add them as well, but its best to run those from a traditional drive as it does not really impact performance.

First thing you will notice is the size. The drive is 2.5 inches with a 9.5mm height, so it is much smaller than your traditional hard drive. The drive comes with a sturdy shinny metallic 3.5 inch bracket and mounting screws, so it can fit into any desktop case. The drive also comes with a handy screw drive that holds various bits as well as the screws keeping everything together and making installation very easy. Of course, if you are not comfortable doing your own installation you can ask a friend, but it is very simple to do and there are many videos showing how to install an SSD.

 

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD

The HyperX 3K also comes with an USB external drive bay, which looks pretty cool design wise. This allows you to use your SSD as an external drive that you plug into your USB. This also allows you to take the drive on the road which is great for professionals or gamers that travel and since it supports USB 2.0 you will still get the speed and performance you expect.

The drive runs quite since it does not have any moving parts. This is ideal for those who want a silent running PC in their home or office. Another great thing about this drive is that it also draws less power and is cooler than a traditional hard drive meaning it will not add extra heat to your system or the environment it is in and overall is more energy efficient.

Here is a breakdown of the features for the SSD:

  • Features
    • SandForce controller technology
    • High-speed SATA Rev 3.0 (6Gb/s) transfer speeds
    • Advanced Wear-Leveling Technology
    • User-Configurable Over Provisioning4
    • Performance — incredible speeds for enhanced productivity
    • Reliable — much less likely to fail than a standard hard drive
    • Shock-Proof — dropping your notebook no longer means losing your data
    • Cool & Quiet — runs silent and with no moving mechanical parts to generate heat
    • Innovative — uses NAND Flash memory components
    • Supports TRIM — enhances device wear leveling by eliminating merge operation for all deleted data blocks
    • Supports S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology)
    • Guaranteed — three-year warranty, free technical support and legendary Kingston reliability.

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD

Defining Technology

So when looking at the top SSD’s you will want to understand the technology that comes with it. Let’s take a look at some of the terms and breakdown their meaning for those not familiar with them.

Sandforce Technology: Sandforce is the processor for Flash Storage devices. Also known as the controller, it is key component of the drive. Sandforce is known for making top rate SSD processors, which contains additional features that improve the performance and power optimization for a drive and the longevity of the SSD.

TRIM: TRIM in a nutshell is Windows 7 memory optimization for SSD’s and was best explained to me like this. When you write something to your drive think about writing on a piece of paper. When you want to get rid of the paper you would toss it away. With a computer you are not tossing the paper, but erasing whatever you wrote on the paper to use again. With an SSD, you may delete or erase a page, which can be a word doc or an entire program, but the SSD needs a stack of papers, or what is referred of as a block before it deletes them. However, when it’s time to delete the block, since there is more than one page to do, it can take time and that time taken can slow down the SSD. TRIM anticipates that you will need to delete that block sooner or later so it does it ahead of time so you do not run into that large block being erased that slows down your system and in turn your SSD runs at optimum speeds at all times.

S.M.A.R.T: This stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. This is the early warning system that something is going to happen to your disk drive. SMART monitors your drive and its main function is to detect and report and various indicators of reliability giving you a heads up of potential issues. When SMART finds something wrong you have the option to prepare for an outage by backing up your data and getting a replacement drive. In addition to having a warning to back up your data disk drive manufactures may be able to use the SMART data to find out where issues occurred in their drive and even help them make changes to prevent other issues from occurring. Think of it as the little black box for your SSD.

ATTO Disk Benchmark on my old drive
ATTO Disk Benchmark on my old drive
AS SSD Benchmark on my old drive
AS SSD Benchmark on my old drive
Crystal Disk Mark on my old drive
Crystal Disk Mark on my old drive

Testing

One thing to keep in mind when testing is how the drive is being used. You will often see faster speeds if you run tests on a free drive being used for gaming than one that you already installed Windows on and then ran the tests. The HyperX features 555MB/sec read and 510MB/sec write speeds, but again these can vary depending on the software and testing conditions. However, the overall speed difference over a traditional hard drive is unmistakable as you can see in the benchmarking screenshots below.

AS SSD Benchmark on the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD
AS SSD Benchmark on the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD
ATTO SSD Benchmark on the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD
ATTO SSD Benchmark on the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD
Crystal Mark SSD Benchmark on the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD
Crystal Mark SSD Benchmark on the Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD

As you can see compared to my previous hard drive the HyperX is much much faster in both read and write speeds. As far as daily use, the different is night and day. When logging into Windows after a reboot the load time is cut down to a few seconds. With my old drive, it would be up to a minute before all my programs would open and be ready for use.

This is another point for SSD’s specifically the Kingston HyperX. If you run a lot of programs and/or have a number of programs that start automatically like instant messenger programs and anti-virus software, a faster drive dramatically drops down the loading time of those applications. Even using programs such as Microsoft Office I can see the different when it auto saves or I save the program myself. Finally, for those who work with audio or video programs an SSD is a must for quicker access of your work and loading times.

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD

Final Thoughts

Kingston offers a 3-year warranty with this SSD as well as customer support via their website. In addition, a toolbox software download is available. The Kingston Toolbox enables you to read your drive information such as Serial Numbers, Firmware versions, and S.M.A.R.T. attributes.

Overall the Kingston HyperX SSD is one of the fastest drives on the market at with a price in the low 200’s, it is perfect for the advanced or novice user of any budget. The speed and reliability you get with this drive will make any system better, and for those who demand the best performance it is a must have.

Patriot Memory Wildfire SSD 120 GB Review

Patriot Memory WildFire 120GB SSDPatriot Memory Wildfire SSD 120 GB Review by Honorabili

In recent years we have seen SSDs drop a lot in price and are becoming more standard each passing day. Most people will get one just to run their operating system on as well as allocating all their virtual memory on it, since the performance benefits of an SSD over a typical hard drive are significant. We decided to test how significant this difference is by testing a popularly selling SSD versus a pretty strong hard drive. I tested the Patriot Memory Wildfire 120 GB SSD and compared it to my main system’s Seagate ST330006 51AS 3 TB hard drive.

For the testing suite I decided to use AS SSD Benchmark, ATTO Disk Benchmark, and Crystal Disk Mark. Each of them have their own benefits, but the data will show us the real advantages of having an SSD over a hard drive.

Under the AS SSD Benchmark, the Wildfire yielded the following numbers:

AS SSD Benchmark Patriot Memory Wildfire SSD

Under the AS SSD Benchmark, my hard drive yielded the following numbers:

AS SSD Benchmark ST330006 51AS

Let’s get down and dirty with the number analysis of the AS SSD Benchmark: (click picture for full resolution image)

AS SSD Wildfire final benchmark results

Based on this data, the Wildfire was insanely faster than the hard drive in every performance aspect, not just in raw speed but in responsiveness as well. In a the pure MB/s tests, both including reading and writing, it was about 90.97 as fast as the hard drive. That is a huge difference and in the real world I felt this when I compared how fast the SSD would load games and copy data over in comparison to my hard drive. Under this benchmark, the Wildfire responds 203.29 times faster than the hard drive on the average for any kind of activity. The benchmark gave us a score where the Wildfire is 19.28 times as fast as our lovely hard drive.

Under the ATTO Benchmark, the Wildfire yielded the following numbers:

ATTO Disk Benchmark Patriot Memory Wildfire SSD

Under the ATTO Benchmark, my hard drive yielded the following numbers:

ATTO Disk Benchmark ST330006 51AS

Let’s analyze the numbers of the ATTO Disk Benchmark results: (click picture for full resolution image)

ATTO Disk Benchmark Wildfire final benchmark

If we look in detail at the data from the ATTO Disk Benchmark we see that for super small file transactions, the hard drive is actually faster but as data density increases it cannot keep up with the raw speed and superior hardware architecture of the Wildfire SSD. At one point the Wildfire is only 0.578 as fast as the hard drive but when we get to huge file operations the Wildfire is 3.148 as fast as the hard drive. On the average, ATTO shows us that the Wildfire is 2.088 as fast as the hard drive. This benchmark I think is both more and less useful than the other ones. It’s good for analyzing speed with data density but since in the real world you’re not going to do stuff based on data density it’s not that useful. It’s useful for a geek like me!

Under the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, the Wildfire yielded the following numbers:

CrystalDiskMark Patriot Memory Wildfire SSD

Under the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, my hard drive yielded the following numbers: (click picture for full resolution image)

CrystalDiskMark ST330006 51AS

Numerical analysis of CrystalDiskMark data:

CrystalDiskMark Wildfire final benchmark

CrystalDiskMark just cares about raw MB/s performance tests. In this benchmark we see the Wildfire on the average is 70.59 as fast as our Seagate hard drive. Again, the speed difference is HUGE.

If I had to compare the difference between the Wildfire to my hard drive in car engine terms the Wildfire would be like a supercharged V12 and the hard drive would be an inline 6 engine. Sure the inline 6 gets the job done but it’s not a monstrous supercar engine like the Wildfire is.

An SSD feels as difference from a hard drive as a hard drive feels as fast as an old floppy disk. It’s like the load speed for a console that uses a cartridge versus one that uses slow CD technology. This technology is the present and future, now if only their price could drop further, we will all start using them as our primary drives, rather than just the performance enthusiasts using it for the majority.

As far as the Patriot Memory Wildfire SSD, I really like the packaging, the mount for the drive looks really cool, and the fact that it is MADE IN USA! I hadn’t seen that on a computer part for years and it really brought a smile to my face. Right now the cheapest Wildfire, which is the 120 GB one we tested, is sold at newegg for $224.99 (with rebate, if not 264.99) and that’s a good chunk of change but it’s not incredibly expensive. Most enthusiasts will spend easily $1,000 on a custom computer and that’s about a 22% difference which might make or break this option for some people. It depends on how much you need the crazy performance but as a system drive you will see a huge difference in your computer, that’s for sure. Load times will be a thing of the past.

I’ve had the Wildfire since about late August 2011 and I’ve used it a lot. I haven’t had any problems with it as far as reliability goes. I usually spend a good hour or two a day recording and editing a lot of audio and it’s been a dream to use this card to almost autosave my projects. The card also has been amazing for last minute backups of some of my client’s data that never back their stuff. I used it to open up their desktops and just copy stuff immediately off their dying machines. Really useful in the real IT world!

Conclusion:

If you’re a hardware enthusiast, you should be using this or another SSD already. If you’re in IT, I recommend having at least one for crazy last minute backups. Since I got the card the price has dropped to 224 dollars from the 300 it was when I first got it. It might go down in the future but it’s already becoming really affordable. The only advantage that hard drives have over SSDs are huge capacities and lower prices. For the performance, it’s totally worth having an SSD over just having a hard drive. I remember reading about SSDs in the mid 90s and I’m glad that they’re finally here in force. Welcome to the 21st century!