Kingston HyperX 120GB SATA 6Gb/s Rev 3.0 (SH100S3120G) SSD Review


The Sorcerer

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Jun 16, 2007
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Kingston Taiwan sent a HyperX 120gig SSD for review.




As the packaging says: More! Lets see how this Desktop upgrade kit does.

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Packaging and Specifications


The Kingston drives comes in a standard carton with the usual literature (advertised performance numbers, warranty period, packaging contents). The packaging feels more "premium" compared to the V series from Kingston that I've evaluated a very long time ago.










There are some changes over the usual desktop upgrade kit: aluminium finish plastic USB 2.0 case, 3.5" SSD tray, a SATA and a USB 2.0 cable, an acronis clone disk and a 3 bit screwdriver pen alongwith the usual drive.


The front is a plastic with a aluminium plate finish sheet. Rear is the gunmetal gray.

I have a drive from a rival manufacturer with the same controller but with a J Micron NAND who has made a major recall and also announced they have implemented a fix. I'll name the drive when they send me a replacement but for now lets call Mr. X!

Unfortunately, for a lot of people still have the issue even with the newer firmware as I encountered series of hangups and random locks, alongwith improper temperature readout. I ended up being one of them when I got the drive. According to their rep, "I didn't flash it properly".

Its not bricked. You can easily install OS, do a standard/secure flash, random/accidental shutdowns, use it as a secondary storage (I know- sucks!), but when it comes to being an OS drive turned out to be a lemon. Very important! When you get anything for evaluation, use the drive as your primary OS drive for sometime, open up different audio/video formats, play games, do the usual chores on your system, start, restart, keep an eye on the boot load time with and without start up items, different OS editions (with the , with and without service) filled up to the brim, format the drive multiple time, use it on IDE/AHCI Mode. Try it with different cables: SATA 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s ports: Both native and non native (890GPA-UD3H has a relabelled Marvell controller) and see if it just does fine. Still, I am sure there are many ways to stress test and ensure the stability of the drive.

When I checked a review from the mainstream Indian tech site (out of curiosity) I bumped into a review with the same drive and the same serial number, they only did 2 benchmarks: CrystalDisk Mark and SiS Sandra 2010. You're not supposed to just run Synthetic benchmark (Yeah, just 2) and if the benchmark scores are "convincing" you give it 8 out of 10. You're supposed to use it first and see how it feels and see if it works without any issues. A lot of drives were deemed great on numbers, but when it comes to out-of-the-box user experience, it was absolutely rubbish. Its exactly the reason why reviewers need to start spending more time with a product rather than simply benchmarking it. True, there are times when manufacturers releases newer firmwares and rev. versions a product turns out to be a lemon. Another reason why 1 should mention the rev version of the product and the firmware in the article.

The manufacturer's proprietary firmware and CrystalDisk info clearly shows the firmware is flashed properly. Still, I'll be having some hopes when they'll be send a SSD drive with a "factory flashed" firmware and I'll be keeping this. Once I get the newer SSD drive, I'll pop the hood and compare the PCB, just in case if they have made certain modifications I should be able to see it through.

This isn't the only company which used 25nm J Micron NAND. Many companies did say that they worked on a firmware fix but users ended up with different results. For some it worked, for some, it didn't- and for some it did under certain conditions. Unlike buyers in United States, I seriously doubt an Indian buyer would be able to opt for a cashback option, but that's a tale we'll leave it for another day.
Kingston HyperX SSD uses Intel 25nm NAND instead of J Micron's counterpart with Sandforce SF-2281 controller. My thanks for using the Intel's NAND.


The screwdriver is a pretty nice touch. It comes with 3 screw bits but You can use it to store your own screw bits there is adequate space inside the screwdriver pen. There's really not much to say about the USB 2.0 casing.

Features

  • SandForce controller technology
  • High-speed SATA Rev. 3.0 (6 Gb/s) transfer speeds
  • Performance — incredible speeds for advanced gaming, multitasking, and multimedia computing power
  • Reliable — much less likely to fail than a standard hard drive
  • Shock-Resistant — 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 S.M.A.R.T., TRIM and Garbage Collection
  • Guaranteed — three-year Kingston® warranty, 24/7 tech support

Specifications

  • Form factor — 2.5â€
  • Controller — 2nd Generation SandForce® Controller SF-2281
  • Components — Intel® 25nm Compute-Quality MLC NAND (5k P/E Cycles)
  • Interface — SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s)
  • Capacities 2 — 120 GB, 240 GB
  • Sequential reads 6Gb/s 3 — 555MB/s for all capacities
  • Sequential writes 6Gb/s — 510MB/s for all capacities
  • Sustained Random 4k Read/Write —
  • 120GB – 20,000/60,000 IOPS
  • 240GB – 40,000/60,000 IOPS
  • Max Random 4K R/W —
  • 120GB – 95,000/70,000 IOPS
  • 240GB – 95,000/60,000 IOPS
  • PCMARK® Vantage HDD Suite Score 4 —
  • 120GB – 81,196
  • 240GB – 81,394
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T. TRIM and Garbage Collection
  • Warranty/support — Three-year warranty with free 24/7 support
  • Power Consumption —
  • 120GB: 0.455 W (TYP) Idle / 1.6 W (TYP) Read / 2.0 W (TYP) Write
  • 240GB: 0.455 W (TYP) Idle / 1.5 W (TYP) Read / 2.05 W (TYP) Write
  • Dimensions — 69.85 x 100 x 9.5mm
  • Weight — 81g
  • Operating Temperatures — 0°C ~ 70°C
  • Storage Temperatures — -40°C ~ 85°C
  • Shock Resistance — 1500G
  • Vibration Operating — 2.17G
  • Vibration Non-Operating — 20G
  • MTBF — 1,000,000 Hrs

Do note the life cycle that is underlined and highlighted. Usually SSDs are known to come with 3K lifecycle, this seem to be different in HyperX's SSD case.


I've added Anvil Benchmark utilities to test storage drives. I would be running Anvil's endurance testing to stress test every storage drive. Taking the words from the creator and Xtremesystems member "Anvil":

It creates files at a random size, every second file is between 1KB and 128KB in size, the other files can be from 1KB up to the size of a typical digital photograph. ( 10MB+). The point is that it creates a files at a random size just like we do in real life.

By clicking Start you will by default fill the drive until there is 12GiB free space left, you can change this by modifying the value found top left "Min GiB Free".

Max # of files to create regulates how many files as a maximum to create per loop.

Loops lets you set a specific count of loops unless you want the test to run "forever"

When each loop is finished it will

-delete the files created in the loop

-perform random writes on a designated file, this file is not deleted between loops.

-take a 5 second pause

-optionally perform an MD5 test

The stress test that I've be doing will be with 50 loops, so that takes around 12 hours to complete. This should give a good idea about the lifespan of the storage drive.

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Test Setup and Benchmarks


I'd like to thank Gigabyte, Kingston and Western Digital Providing the resources for test bench setup that is used to evaluate other hardware. Just to add further, I'll be replacing the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H Rev 1.0 with Asus 990FX Sabertooth that was given to be by Asus India during the power user meet.
The system is on AHCI mode with a Clean OS install.



Boot Load Test



From Pass 1-5 the drive maintains all time low.

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AS SSD Benchmark





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CrystalDisk Mark





Judging based on AS-SSD and CrystalDisk benchmarks, the drive performs well with deeper queue depth writes.

Do note that the drives I've compared are all SATAII drives, with Momentus XT being a mechanical drive.

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ATTO Benchmarks





I would like to compare this drive with the current offerings from others but this is where she stands.

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Anvil Benchmark




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Conclusion

The drive does what it should do and she is fast. Comparing my experience with this drive, and another SATA 6Gb/s SSD drive with 25nm Micron NAND (and the issues with it), she does the job. 5K P/E Cycle is very long...for a non-toggle NAND.

Sandforce is a very popular controller and reliability of the 25nm Intel Flash NAND. Kingston did have a Intel relabelled SSD drive- Kingston SSDNow E.

Kingston has 2 kits for this drive: Standalone and Desktop Upgrade Kit. Standalone comes with the 3.5" to 2.5" SSD mounting bracket whereas the upgrade kit comes with Acronis True Image HD migration software, mounting bracket, USB 2.0 case and a blue HyperX SATA cable.

India: N.A. U.K.: £181.10 U.S.:$259.99

I need to find out the pricing for India. The difference between standalone and Desktop Upgrade Kit is about $10. You're getting a USB 2.0 case and a screwdriver for that $10.

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aaa

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Apr 19, 2010
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I love the way how TE is growing..
Great review
Cheers !