Many will recall that we had high praise for the Kingston HyperX 240GB drive we tested back in August of 2011. In fact, it won or Editor’s Choice award. As such, we were very interested when Kingston announced the release of the HyperX 3K drive which is ostensibly a more affordable version of the aforementioned HyperX drive we tested. Each have the ubiquitous SF-2281 controller and a SATA III interface. However, the NAND flash used in the build of the original HyperX drive has NAND with an endurance rating of 5,000 PE (program/erase) cycles and the HyperX 3K sporting NAND rated at 3,000 PE cycles (hence the 3K appellation). For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to the 5,000 PE rated HyperX drive as the 5K although Kingston gives it no such nomenclature. Happily, Kingston sent us over a 240GB 3K drive which allows us to do a nice head to head comparison drive we previously tested although there’s no realistic way for us to compare the drive endurance. We’ll just have to take Kingston’s word for it.
Performance-wise, they stack up very comparably, at least on paper, with both the 3K and the 5K drive having read/write specifications of 555MB/s and 510MB/s respectively. Each are available in the 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities but the 3K can also be found at the 90GB size. All capacities can be purchased as a standalone drive or with the upgrade bundle kit as we outline below. The 240GB bare drive currently prices out online to $279 while the bundle comes in at $289. Tack on an additional $70 for the 5K versions. Which is a better value? We shall see.
Like the 5K version, the HyperX 3K is covered by a 3-year warranty and Kingston offers customer support via their website. They also offer a toolbox software download to view info about the drive such as the firmware version and S.M.A.R.T. attributes although lacks any kind of secure erase functionality. This only works on Windows machines but the drive itself is equally at home on OS X machines as well – something we can attest to with real-world experience.
The only visual difference between the 5K drive and the 3K drive is the color. The 5K drive is silver and blue and the 3K drive is black and silver. Otherwise, the design is the same with the silver aluminum having a somewhat X shape.
As with the original HyperX drive, the included bundle is top-notch with a 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter plate, drive cloning software, SATA III data cable, a very nice external USB enclosure complete with cable, and finally a bonus pen-like screwdriver with self-contained changeable bits. This is the probably the best SSD bundle out there and frankly for an extra $10 it’s a no-brainer to go for the bundle.