Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSD Review
With both their enthusiast and entry level models recently refreshed it comes as little surprise to see Kingston round out their new lean and mean lineup with a more mainstream orientated option. That option is new new HyerX Savage. In fact it is safe to say that their mainstream refresh was long overdue as their mid-tier models were flagging in both comparable performance and sales. What was not expected was the controller that Kingston has opted for.
In previous years Kingston opted for a wide variety of controllers ranging from Intel to SandForce and everything in between. The one thing all their new models had in common however was a relatively conservative controller selection as they avoided suppliers who didn't didn't have a proven track record. After the HyperX Predator and its ground breaking AltaPlus controller surprised everyone, Kingston has now turned to Phison for their Savage series.
This isn't the first time we have come across Phison powering a mainstream SSD, but it is still a very unusual choice since these controllers have typically powered value-oriented products. This time however they have introduced a new controller named the PS3110 which is completely unique in the way it goes about things. It is the result of outside the box thinking that on the surface certainly seems to have merit. We will go over it in greater detail a bit later but suffice to say its approach to load balancing is radically different.
Kingston's HyperX line of SSDs has always been quite aesthetically pleasing and the new Savage is no exception. Everything from its 7mm form-factor (with a 2.5mm adapter included) to its large red 'X' with 'Savage' imprinted in the black border simply exudes a sense of performance.
With so many types of NAND to choose from we were pleasantly surprised to see that Kingston opted for Toshiba A19 NAND ICs.
Toshiba's second generation 19nm Toggle Mode NAND's performance characteristics make it a great match for mainstream consumers and it is one of our top recommendations. With 16 ICs, the PS3110 controller not only has all 8 channels fully populated but also has good NAND interleaving per channel.
This NAND in conjunction with the Phison PS3110 controller, backstopped by a moderately sized 256MB DDR3-1600 ram buffer is precisely how Kingston intends to take back some of their lost market share. With that being said an asking price of $140-$150 for the 240GB model the Savage does indeed have its work cut out for it. This corner of the mainstream market is filled with excellent drives with more proven controllers but if any company can take on the likes of Crucial and their MX200 series, or even OCZ and their Vertex 460 series, it is Kingston's Savage.
Before we move on to the meat of the review we do feel it necessary to comment on the included accessories that accompany certain Savage models. As with previous generations Kingston offers a 'bare bones' model that consists of only the drive, and a model that is oriented towards making the transition from your old OS drive to your new one as painless an experience as possible.
Our sample is the latter and while it costs $10 more than the barebones version you certainly do get value for your money. For ten bucks you get a 2.5mm z-height adapter, a new SATA 6Gb/s cable, a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter plate, Acronis True Image HD imaging software, a micro-screwdriver set, and a USB 3.0 enclosure with USB 3.0 cable. This last addition means you can simply plug the Savage into the enclosure, plug the enclosure into your system, run Acronis HD and clone your existing drive to the new SSD. This will be a great boon to consumers whose systems only have one SATA port - such as laptops.
Of course, Acronis HD does have a few issues with cloning UEFI systems (especially Windows 8 systems) so things may not go as smoothly as Kingston hopes, but this is still one damn fine accessories list.
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