480GB HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD Review

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HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe G2 x4 SSD

HyperX today released the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD! This highly anticipated drive was supposed to ship in February 2015, but was delayed a number of weeks in order to give Kingston time to perfect the firmware on their new highest-end SSD. Getting the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD firmware dialed in was important to everyone at Kingston as not only is this their flagship SSD in the HyperX lineup, but it is also Kingston Technology’s very first M.2 PCI Express drive! For some time now enthusiasts have found that new SSDs using the SATA III interface being speed restricted by the 6.0Gb/s theoretical bandwidth limit. The HyperX Predator PCIe SSD uses the PCI Express Gen 2.0 x 4 interface to deliver up to 1400MB/s read and 1000MB/s write for an ultra-responsive system! You are talking about sequential read speeds that are up to 2.5x faster, so one of these M.2 PCIe G2 x4 SSDs is like running a pair of older SSDs in RAID 0 and that is just the beginning of where PCI Express based storage drives will be heading.

 HyperX Predator PCIe SSD

The HyperX Predator PCIe SSD is available now in 240GB and 480GB capacities with a monster 960GB version coming hopefully in Q3 2015 if all goes as planned. The HyperX division will be offering this drive in a M.2 form factor or paired with an optional half-height, half-length (HHHL) adapter for use on desktop motherboards without a built-in M.2 socket.

HyperX Predator PCIe SSD Drives
Part Number Capacity and Features Sequential (R/W) Max 4K IOPS (R/W) MSRP Price
SHPM2280P2/240G M.2 Form Factor 240GB 1400/600 MB/s 160k/119k IOPS $382.00 $230.74
SHPM2280P2/480G M.2 Form Factor 480GB 1400/1000 MB/s 130k/118K IOPS $764.00 $458.74
SHPM2280P2H/240G HHHL Form Factor 240GB 1400/600 MB/s 160k/119k IOPS $400.00 $241.74
SHPM2280P2H/480G HHHL Form Factor 480GB 1400/1000 MB/s 130k/118K IOPS $782.00 $469.74
SHPM2280P2H/960G HHHL Form Factor 960GB unknown unknown Q3 2015

The HyperX Predator 480GB M.2 PCIe SSD is the drive that we’ll be looking at today and it features read speeds of up to 1.4GB/s and write speeds of up to 1GB/s. When looking at maximum random 4k Read/Write IOPS, you can expect to see up to 130,000 Read and 118,000 Write on the 480GB model. The performance numbers on the HyperX 240GB are different from the larger 480GB drive to due the amount of flash that is available and how it connects to the the drives Marvell 88SS9293 controller. The HyperX Predator PCIe 240GB drive has sequential read speeds of 1.4GB/s Read and 600MB/s Write and peak random 4K IOPS of 160,000 Read and 119,000 Write. The amount of NAND Flash memory on the drive also impacts the total bytes written (TBW) rating for the drives. The 240GB model can write 415TB (1.6 Drive Writes Per Day) and the 480GB model sports a 882TB rating (1.7 Drive Writes Per Day).

While the drives might differ in the baseline performance numbers they are identical with regards to many of the other features for this series of drives. For example both have a life expectancy of 1 million hours (MTBF), support TRIM, have a 3-year warranty with free tech support and have a safe operating temperature range of 0C to 70C. Kingston didn’t break down the power numbers by capacity, but stated that the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD drive has an idle power consumption of 1.38W and then will hit at most 1.99W during Read operations and then 8.25W in heavy Write situations. These are fairly high power numbers and while the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD series can work in both notebooks and desktop PCs, it is obviously best suited for desktop scenarios and not inside devices that are battery powered where battery life is a concern!

When it comes to pricing the MSRP on the bare M.2 drives by Kingston are $382 for the 240GB drive and $764 for the larger 480GB drive. This means you are looking at $1.59 per GB no matter what capacity drive you are looking for.  The good news that online pricing on launch day was $230.74 for the 240GB model and $458.74 on the 480GB PCIe SSD. This brings the price down to $0.96 per GB for both of the drives, which is much lower than we were expecting. The Plextor M6e series that we reviewed last year comes with the previous generation Marvell controller and actually costs more (runs $253.99 shipped)!  The prices on these drives are very aggressive!

480GB HyperX Predator PCIe SSD Bundle

Inside the retail packaging for the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD we found the M.2 drive already attached to the HHHL adapter. If your system features a slim desktop chassis fear not as Kingston included a low-profile bracket in the accessory bundle for you to switch to. You also get a HyperX sticker, SSD setup guide and a hard drive cloning software coupon key that you can use online to download the software if you needed it.

Predator PCIe SSD

The HyperX Predator PCIe SSD is aimed at enthusiasts and gamers, so we are glad to see that Kingston went with black PCBs for both the PCIe adapter card and the M.2 SSD itself. The M.2 drive is a standard 2280 SSD card that is held to the PCIe adapter with a single Philips screw. You can quickly remove the M.2 drive from the adapter and use it in another product that has an M.2 slot that supports cards with the M key connector. When we installed the HyperX Predator in our test system for the very first time we noticed that there are no LED lights whatsoever! When we reviewed the Plextor M6e and M6e Black PCIe SSDs we found up to five LEDs that were multiple colors that were flashing and constantly lit. It can be annoying to some people to have lights constantly on without any control over them, so if that sounds like you the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD should already be off to a good start.

hyperx-predator-pcie-back

Besides a couple resistors on the back of the PCB there is nothing significant to note!

Predator PCIe SSD Thermal Pad

When we took the M.2 card off the PCIe adapter we noticed that it didn’t pop right up and that is because Kingston placed a small thermal pad under the power circuitry of the card to help dissipate heat into the adapter card itself.

Predator PCIe SSD Thermal Pad

Here you can see the M.2 socket along with impressions from the various components that the thermal pad is helping to transfer heat away from. This thermal pad wasn’t an afterthought as Kingston left one of the copper layers of their PCB exposed to improve the heat transfer.

Marvell 88SS9293

Kingston is using the Marvell 88SS9293 Altaplus PCIe 2.0 x4 SSD Controller on this drive series, which is the latest controller that Marvell has to offer. The Plextor M7e uses the same controller, but Plextor appears to be months away from launching that competing product. This controller is not capable of supporting NVM Express (NVMe) so there will not be a firmware update that adds support of this feature down the road. Kingston will allow end-user firmware updates on the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD if there should ever be a need for a firmware update to be released.

kingston DDR3 cache

The controller has 1GB of DDR3 memory at its disposal for caching purposes. Kingston when with some 1600MHz DDR3 ICs that they packaged in-house and there is one 512MB package on each side of the drive.

toshiba th58teg9 nand

Kingston went with Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND that feature part number TH58TEG8DDKBA8H. There are four of these 64GB NAND packages on each side of the M.2 module for a total of 512GB of storage space. By the time some of that capacity is used for over-provisioning and the drive is formatted there is 447GB of usable storage space that shows up in Windows.

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  • Alien

    After problems with a Samsung 840 EVO, TLC NAND is a big no for me.

  • Joselito B. Maciel

    Where is the ROM? In the adapter or in the m.2 module? Could someone please clarify this? Thanks.

  • jalardi

    As of 9/12/15, the Kingston Predator SSD pci does NOT upgrade to windows 10.

    ——-

    My upgrade to Windows 10 on my Predator drive is either very slow or fails. How can I resolve this?

    Kingston is aware of the Windows 10 upgrade issue and we are working diligently to resolve the matter. We will post a firmware update once a solution is found.

    Currently, the only work-around is to run a fresh install rather than an upgrade. Use the following link to create bootable disk to install Windows 10.

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

  • Simon Bullock

    OK its pretty impressive and i just installed one on my asus 97 gamer pro

    only downside is that if its plugged in m2 slot it runs 2x in stead of 4x in pcie slot so that’s a bad design secondly if plugged in a pcie 16 slot running at 4x it cuts off the two pcie 2.0 slots so no expansion cards can be used and seeing as i have a asus AC68 wireless card that will no longer function in these slots that’s also a negative design point . the only workaround on this is to place it in one of the pcie slots to get the wireless card to work but then you lose bandwidth on gen 3.0 graphics card from 16x to 8 x

  • LorinSo0

    I would be really cool to have such an
    efficient SSD hard drive to instead of my old Samsung external hard drive (read
    more information here: http://www.icare-recovery.com/howto/samsung-hard-drive.html
    ) that has been used for years and get problems from time to time. It is said
    the SSD often can work faster and more efficient than the traditional external
    hard drive. Is that right? Thanks for you review.

  • Just got a Samsung 250 Evo and thought it was fast till I read this 🙁

    • ardagii

      well it is fast, random reading and writing are important(and here it doesn’t deliver much), 1000mb/s u can achieve if u buy a second evo and put them in raid 0. The hyperx is interesting but ultimately not so relevant, especially taking into accout certain restrictions it imposes

  • panther063

    A comparative test with the Intel 750 would be nice to see.
    I think the Intel PCI-e SSD will beat both these drives.

  • anon

    Nice review,
    since I’ve seen positively answers to the use of the m6e
    on old platforms, detected as AHCI drive, could you test this drive in
    your X58 platform? (you’ve got a i7-920 there :D) Just to test if BIOS
    detects the drive and windows 7 can be installed upon it with its
    default driver.

    I’m looking for a pcie drive for my rampage II
    extreme given sata limitations (and the addin sata3 card poor
    performance), and I was waiting for the new pcie2 4x to pop up, because
    2x give almost same performance numbers than a sata 3 devices.

    It
    would be also interesting to compare IO and 4k read/write against
    samsung 850 pro, those 1,1GB/s transfer may look great, but thats not
    all that matters, specially in a system drive.

    Thanks for the review.

    • GanX

      The price is pretty high for something that has good but not insane performance. Have you considered buying some 120GB SSD’s and putting them in RAID0?
      Also with the PCIe cards there is usually some kind of boot up during post which slows down the start up time. I don’t have this particular model but i own a RevoDrive 3 X2.

      Anyways it is just a suggestion and might give you more bang for the buck. It is also easyer to reuse the parts for something else.

      • anon

        – Revo drives cost about 1100€ for a 0raided 4x old technology in 960GB size. Like the scorpion.

        – I currently use 2 drives of 120GB in raid 0, but sata II in raid 0 gives less performance than a single sata III fast drive, plus all raid 0 drawbacks.

        – is not insane performance, but its better than sata III which in most cases is not at reach of old platforms with LOTS of free pcie lanes to use, and far better than sata II.