Hello, and welcome all. Today I’ve got the Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD for you guys. As many of you know, this SSD was included in my ‘We Are Legion‘ Build, and it’s about time I got the review live to you guys.
Starting off on the front, Kingston reveals most of the necessary information about the SSD. It’s 120GB’s, uses a Sandforce Controller, has a 3-year warranty, is SATA-III compatible, and is a 2.5″ drive. They also state that the drive was able to achieve 555MB/s Read and 510MB/s Write speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.41… We shall see Kingston, we shall see.
On the back of the box Kingston tells us the two things that make an SSD superior to an HDD.
- Boots faster and loads applications quicker
Increased durability and reliability
And if telling it to you in English wasn’t enough, they also state those same facts in 23 other languages… Now that’s trust in your product. At the bottom we can see what is included with the HyperX Upgrade Kit (which this is). These HyperX 3K drives are available in a stand-alone form, which will not include any of the soon-to-be listed items, or the Upgrade Kit version, which runs you roughly $20-30 more, depending on the model.
- The Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD
- External USB Enclosure For Making Your SSD An External Hard-Drive
- A 2.5″ to 3.5″ Adapter Bracket (screws included)
- A 2′ Blue SATA-III Cable
- An Installation Guide CD, Which Also Includes Drive Cloning Software
- A Cute Little Screw-Driver With Multiple Bits Included
Honestly, I believe that the Upgrade Kit is worth the money, even if just to save you the time and hassle of hunting down the other items you may need, such as a SATA cable or a 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter.
Opening up the box reveals the Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD. Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of hands-on time with SSD’s prior to receiving this drive, and looking at it for the first time was a bit awe-inspiring. The craftsmanship is simply astounding, and to help protect their work, Kingston nestles the SSD in super thick, high-quality foam.
Taking the top piece of foam (including the SSD) out, shows us what was hidden underneath. Here we can see the USB Enclosure, Screw Driver, and the Software CD. Something I didn’t get a shot of is the 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter, which is actually in the foam on the bottom-side of the first piece where the SSD is.
Here we can see all of the aforementioned goodies that are included with the HyperX 3K. Something that I didn’t mention are the mounting screws, which are the smaller ones for installing the drive into your case, or onto the adapter, and the bigger screws for installing the adapter into your case. They also include a USB cable for the USB Enclosure. Whether this cable is USB 3.0 or not, I do not know (I’m 99% positive it’s USB 2.0). Something to note is that the USB enclosure looks to be of the same high-quality as the drive itself, but it is in fact just a really nice paint job. The Enclosure is plastic and feels much cheaper than the drive or the adapter bracket.
I actually had to turn the flash off on the camera to get a good picture of this drive. It’s so shiny and gorgeous that the flash pretty much renders the photo useless. There’s not a whole lot to talk about with the drive. The mounting holes are on the bottom like on all SSD’s, the drive has your standard two SATA connectors for hooking it up, and the drive is only 2.5″ in size. These SSD’s can not only withstand a whole lot more G’s than your standard HDD, they also have absolutely no moving parts, which renders them silent.
Installing the drive in the case was easy as pie, since I installed it in the Cooler Master HAF-XM, the included drive mounts are made for SSD’s, meaning I didn’t get to use the included adapter mount. Once installed in the Case, I simply ran a SATA connector to it, and installed the included SATA Data Cable to it and the motherboard.
Upon turning the PC on for the first time, I went into the BIOS and changed the SATA ports to AHCI from IDE, which is recommended for all SSD’s. Once done, I simply threw in the Windows 7 CD, to which they recognized the drive with ease. I then proceeded to install Windows 7, which in total, took less than 10 minutes from putting the CD in, to hitting the Desktop.
After that using the drive has been a breeze. Windows 7 is great with making sure that the TRIM features for the SSD are enabled, and that the drive does not get de-fragmented (which is huge). Please, please, please make sure you don’t de-fragment an SSD. I know that it becomes a habit for us PC-users to keep our PC’s running at tip-top shape, but de-fragmenting an SSD will do serious damage to it. Windows 7 automatically disables weekly de-fragment runs on the drive which is great, but make sure you don’t do it by mistake.
Using the drive was quick and amazing for the first week or two, but then I realized once I started benchmarking that the drive was getting nowhere near the speeds advertised on the box. In fact, running ATTO Disk Benchmark 1.41 like they did netted me speeds of 380MB/s each way. Fearing that my drive may not be able to live up to specs, I rebooted the PC and went into the BIOS. Once inside I realized that the drive was running as IDE again, even though I had changed it. So I changed it back to AHCI and rebooted, went back into the BIOS and again it was IDE.. Getting frustrated now, I decided to unplug my 1TB HDD and plug it into a different SATA Port, due to them being shown as running on the SATA 1 Master/Slave connections (not intentional). With the SATA ports changed, I went into the BIOS for a third time, changed it to AHCI, and rebooted. This time it stuck.
When I got back into Windows, it recognized that there was now an AHCI SSD plugged in. Now that the drive was running more towards the advertised speeds, I was ready to begin benchmarking.
AMD FX-6200 @4.2Ghz // Corsair H80 Water Cooler
Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD // Samsung 1TB 7200RPM HDD
Gigabyte 990FXA UD3 Motherboard // Raidmax 850W Gold Power Supply
HIS Radeon 6870 IceQ 1GB Video Card // Cooler Master HAF-XM
Crucial Ballistix Elite Memory 2x4GB @1600Mhz CAS7
The tests I chose to run are:
- ATTO Disk Benchmark 1.41
- AS SSD Benchmark 1.6.4
- Crystal Disk Mark
- PC Mark 7
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.41
Starting off with the program that made me realize the drive was not running at spec, is the same program that told me this drive is fully capable of reaching the speeds that Kingston listed on the box. Most people will tell you that a drive will never run at the speeds a company will tell you it will. Those people are wrong in this case. They stated the drive could hit 555MB/s Read and 510MB/s write. I got 553 MB/s Read and 492 MB/s Write. That’s pretty damn close to what they stated.
AS SSD 1.6.4
AS SSD is a benchmark which makes me curious as to how it tests the speeds. Not only are the speeds quite a bit lower than what you can achieve with ATTO, but the access time is also extremely slow as to what some other programs will list. Either way, the drive is still able to pull down a respectable 436 MB/s Read and a ridiculously slow 124 MB/s write.
BootRacer is a fun program. Basically what it does is time the PC from the moment it is reboot, until it’s 100% loaded at the Desktop (mine being 27 Seconds). Instead of going for the World’s Fastest speed, I decided to test the speeds by loading the computer up with programs, to see how fast this drive is when it actually has to load Sound Driver Programs, ATI Programs, Anti-Virus, everything. My benchmarks are always real-world performance, not what can be achieved in a testing lab somewhere.
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark works much like AS SSD and ATTO, by testing the speed of the drive when writing specific chunks of data. The reason why Crystal Disk Mark gets low marks is due to the fact that it can’t compress the data, which makes me think that possibly AS SSD is the same way. Either way the speeds revealed are still far faster than what you are going to achieve with an HDD Setup.
I use PCMark 7 a lot, and that’s mainly because it’s an extremely useful program for testing the performance of everything except the video card (that’s what 3DMark is for). Running just the Secondary Storage Benchmark Suite gives us a score of 4,973. Upon checking that score against other SSD’s in this price range, I found out that the HyperX 3K is blazing fast.
Overall, I may have hit a few bumps in the road, but those were all of my own doing. Once I got the drive running at the optimal settings, it provided optimal speed. Even when running in IDE mode, this drive blazed through everything I threw at it, but now that it’s running properly, it’s just flat out fast. There is no word to capture the speed you get from an SSD, especially the Kingston HyperX 3K SSD.
I’m not sure how Kingston was able to fit a drive this fast, that’s also one of the most well-built pieces of tech I have ever used into this price-range($139.99-159.99). Throw in all of the added accessories, and it’s hard to find a reason not to recommend this SSD to somebody.
If I had one gripe it would be the size of the drive… And that’s note even a complaint. If I wanted one with more capacity, I could buy one. These drives are available all the way up to 480GB’s…
A quick explanation of the award system. We have the main award category with three awards; Bronze (Good Overall Product), Silver (Great Overall Product), and Gold (Excellent/Near Perfect Overall Product) as the highest. Then we have two different Sub-Categories, Internal Hardware Awards for performance; Yellow (Low-End Performer), Orange (Mid-Range Performer), and Red (High-End Performer) as the highest. The third and final Sub-Category is for both Internal Hardware and External Peripherals; Black (Enthusiast/Gamer Qualities), Blue (Exceptional Build and Design), Green (Terrific Dollar To Performance Ratio), White (Innovative But Flawed)
- Extremely Fast
- Price Is Cheap For This Speed/Size Combo
- The Collection of Goodies Is Excellent And Useful
- Absolutely None!
- Make Sure You Run This Drive in AHCI (And That It’s Not Sharing A SATA Master/Slave Connection On The Motherboard)
- Don’t De-Fragment
I can’t recommend this drive enough. When you’re ready to join the SSD revolution click here!