Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD Review
With its combination of excellent performance and a generous accessories package, the original Kingston HyperX original Kingston HyperX was—and still is—a great choice for enthusiasts who wanted cutting edge performance and are willing to pay a premium for the privilege. For consumers who are more sensitive to price considerations, however, the HyperX was well outside of their grasp. It may have taken Kingston awhile to alleviate this and offer a more budget-friendly solution, but with the introduction of the HyperX 3K 240GB SSD, they have finally done just that.
As the name suggests, the HyperX 3K doesn’t sacrifice performance in order to reduce its overall cost. Rather, it forgoes the Intel 5,000-erase-cycle ONFi 2 NAND that powers the original HyperX and instead uses fairly typical 3,000-erase-cycle ONFi 2 NAND. While a reduction of 40% lifespan may sound extreme, in reality the difference is not quite as significant. The 3K erase cycle specification is a conservative estimate, and in all likelihood the longevity of these NAND cells is higher. Given that the SandForce SF-2281 controller is also quite “gentle” on its NAND, most users will replace the drive for a larger and faster model long before the built-in over provisioning is exhausted.
The HyperX 3K 240GB has an MSRP of $319, which is reasonable but comparable to drives such as the Patriot Pyro SE 240GB, Vertex 3 240GB and many, many others that also use the same SF-2281 with 3K ONFi 2. It is also only about $30 less than the Intel 520 240GB. In the 3K’s favor, however, Kingston has not skimped on the accessories kit that accompanies their more budget-friendly HyperX model. While we don’t usually bother listing a drive’s included accessories, the HyperX 3K deserves a special mention. Not only will you get a copy of Acronis-based cloning software, but you will also get a USB 2.0 external enclosure, a SATA cable, a USB 2.0 cable and even a nifty little multipurpose screwdriver. This is well above average and should give this drive some competitive advantage over similarly priced and spec’ed models, provided any of these items catches your eye.
From the outside you will never be able tell that Kingston considers the new HyperX 3K model a lower-end drive. While it may use a black and silver color scheme instead of blue and silver, it is just as flashy and just as aggressive looking as its more expensive sibling.
While we would love to show you the internal architecture, the HyperX comes equipped with security torx bolts and we were unable—or at least unwilling—to remove these through force. Internally, it should have a very similar layout to other SandForce-based drives, with all 16 ICs populated with Intel-branded 25nm NAND dual die modules and a single SF-2281 controller. Only by paying close attention to the NAND itself would you notice that this is Intel ONFi 2 NAND rated for 3,000 erase cycles rather than 5,000 cycles. This is the only hardware difference between the two HyperX models.
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