Drive capacity is lessened from the actual 128GB physically onboard with some overprovisioning and Windows taking its administrative cut leaving a usable 119GB. Without TRIM being supported, the overprovisioning will be even more critical and it would be in one’s best interested to not fill the drive for the best long term performance.
Though TRIM is not supported through the USB 3.0 interface, garbage collection will still do its thing and we saw no real diminished performance after heavy use if left idle for a period of time to let the process work. A secure erase a few times a year couldn’t hurt though. I just know the thought of not having TRIM will give some a nervous tic but keep in mind that a drive used as the OS drive gets hammered with small writes daily. Conversely, an external storage drive sees larger files and limited writes so not having TRIM is even less important.
Overall performance of the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 was great. It exceeded Kingston’s rated specifications in our synthetic benchmarks and although limited by the USB 3.0 interface from really stretching its legs, it’s a welcomed change from the slug that is USB 2.0. In case you missed it the Kingston HyperX MAX 3.0 has a read speed of up to 195MB/sec., and a write speed of up to 160MB/sec. We were able to hit 206MB/s read and 189MB/s write in ATTO. Fit and finish are excellent and the rounded edge design makes it comfortable to hold and small enough to fit in your pocket although it’s obviously a fair amount larger than a thumb drive. Covered by a 3-year warranty, it’s sturdy construction feels like it would take some substantial abuse although I wouldn’t go dropping it in any puddles.
While currently listed for $320 at online retailers, supply is thin at the moment so expect to see it settle in the neighborhood of $280 in a few weeks. This works out to around $2.35 per usable gigabyte which is a little more than what you’d pay for a USB 3.0 thumb drive at the same capacity but those don’t offer anywhere near the same performance either. Right now, this is going to be the best bang for your buck in terms of combined capacity, speed and portability. Maybe we’ll see some stiffer competition once CES rolls around in a few weeks.
Legit Bottom Line: The Kingston HyperX MAX 3.0 drive is an extremely fast and portable storage solution for those that have the USB 3.0 hardware to support it. While thumb drives may be more cost effective, they cannot match the raw speed of Kingston’s diminutive yet rugged external SSD.