If you’ve been keeping up with our SSD reviews, you should be familiar with this section of the article where we point out the level of overprovisioning and the logical allocation available to the user for the drive in question. As with nearly all consumer level SandForce drives, the Kingston HyperX 3K has ~7% overprovisioning for the controller to use for drive maintenance and wear-leveling duties. In terms of overall capacity, while the drive has 256GB (1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes) on board, logically the user ends up with 223GB (1GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes) as shown in the drive properties within Windows.
The benchmark results came out very much as we expected. Performance nearly mirrors that of the Kingston HyperX 5K drive and places itself amongst the best drives we have tested. The read/write specifications of 555MB/s and 510MB/s respectively are good to start with but we saw the writes exceed that specification in the ATTO benchmark by an additional 24MB/s. Real world scores were very good as well and since we’ve spent several months using the 5K drive in one of our 24/7 systems without incident, we expect to see the same consistent performance from the 3K drive.
Once again, the Kingston has done right by the HyperX brand by putting
out a great product. The original HyperX (5K) drive was one we felt was
(and still is) one of the best SSD drives available on the market. Given
the same generation controller, how were they to top it? Simple, offer a
more affordable version that has all the same performance save for the
endurance of the NAND flash included within. How big of a deal is having
an endurance of 3,000 PE cycles vs 5,000? In our eyes, for the average
consumer, they shouldn’t even give it a second thought. Depending on
usage, the useful lifespan of the drive should last anywhere from 5-10
years. By then, at the rate technology is changing, the majority of
users will have upgraded to a new drive and likely relegating this to
secondary drive duties where daily write volumes plummet and wear
Available online for $279, the 240GB HyperX 3K drive runs about $1.25 per usable GB which is on par with the enthusiast drives on the market but, again, we highly recommend purchasing the bundled drive if you decide to pick one up. The extra $10 spend is well worth it for what you get in return. The USB 2.0 connected drive enclosure can be used with just about any 2.5″ drive so it’s a very versatile tool. So the question everyone has skipped to the article to find out is – which is the better value, the 5K drive or the 3K drive? Unless you do an inordinate amount of write activity or plan to hang on to the drive for the next ten years, getting in on the lower pricing of the 3K is the way to go. Of course, if you just have to have the blue colored drive the choice is made for you.
Legit Bottom Line: Leave it to Kingston to take one of the fastest drives on the market and make it even more attractive by increasing affordability simply by cutting back the drive endurance – something the majority of consumers won’t even notice.