Gadgets 150161

Published on June 7th, 2013 | by Greg


Kingston HyperX 3K SSD: Space And Performance

One of the most frequently asked questions about current computing technologies is: what the heck is an SSD, and what can they do? Most people understand the basic hard drive, at least intuitively- a spinning set of platters and a little tiny magnet that reads and writes to them. But smartphones and laptops made that technology very difficult to implement- kind of like the difference between a CD player and an iPod. The old portable CD players used to skip all of the time, because each time you moved, it was hard to read the spinning disk. SSDs, or solid state drives, don’t have moving parts- they are what allow your iPod or portable device to offer skip-free, shock-protected data storage.

Using them in a desktop machine isn’t common yet, but we strongly suggest it. If you’re upgrading operating systems, or are planning on re-installing your OS any time soon, then definitely consider upgrading to an SSD. The storage cost (basically, the price per gigabyte) is much higher than traditional hard drives, but you gain an incredible boost in speed. With today’s model, the Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD, you can boot up your computer in seconds and run your applications faster, transfer data at lightning speeds, and improve gaming performance.

There are a lot of technical specs that might not mean much to your average consumer- this one uses a SandForce controller, widely regarded to be superior to some competitors like Marvell, and includes support for things like S.M.A.R.T (common) and TRIM (a bit less common). Drives like these are always cool and quiet- no need for fans, and no noise. Solid state drives are also fairly easy to install- they usually have an option to include an installation kit, basically some mounting hardware so you can use the SDD in a desktop or notebook computer. If you’re a complete novice, then you might want to check in with a professional. But if you feel comfortable opening up your case and installing RAM, then it’s not a big step to get an SSD setup. Plus, this drive looks the best of any we’ve seen, with a bit of visual flair and solid build quality.

One interesting thing about NAND memory, the kind in this drive, is that it actually is destructive over time. You can expect a certain number of “cycles” before the drive is dead. It’s not that different from hard drives- they have a finite lifetime, though for mechanical reasons usually. In this case, you can expect to get 3000 P/E cycles (hence the 3K name), which equates to over 8 years of use. Outside of an enterprise environment, you won’t notice. We always run a few industry-standard tests- benchmarks like PC Mark and ATTO- and compare to other SSDs (comparing to traditional hard drives is like comparing a golf cart to a Ferrari). And what we found was fairly surprising- on most tests, this one blew away the competition, offering blazing speeds, even compared to other drives like the Monster Daytona. It held up well to another model, the Sandisk Ultra that we reviewed recently, with faster speeds in most real-world tests thanks perhaps to the nifty provisioning capability, which helps most with compressed files like MPEG, JPEG, and ZIP. Copying entire folders was faster, and we found we could copy 5GB or more of data in under 45 seconds, with read speeds of 550 MB/s and writes of 530 MB/s or so. Basically, it’s one of the better solid state drives out there at this price.

The Kingston HyperX 3K SSD is available in a few sizes, including 120GB and 480GB. The 240GB model as tested offers enough capacity for most people, plenty of space for key applications, games, and your operating system. Boot from an SSD and you’ll immediately see the difference! Available now for around $230, online and in stores.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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