On paper, Solid-State Drives (SSDs) promise to offer massive improvements in read/write speed over their more traditional Hard-Disk Drive (HDD) brethren – but at a cost.
Gig-for-gig, SSDs are about two to three times more expensive than HDDs, and the question remains if the promised performance boost is really worth it.
When we were handed a Kingston Hyper X 3K 240GB SSD for review we decided to answer that question. Is the bang really worth the buck?
Details on our testing rig:
- Dell XPS 17 L702X 17.3in FHD WLED TL (1920×1080) 3D with Intel Core i7-2720QM processor 2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.30 GHz;
- 12GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory 1333MHz;
- 1920×1080 120hz 3D panel with built in emitter;
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 3GB graphics;
- Windows 7 Professional, 64-Bit, English;
- Crystalmark to obtain our benchmark figures.
This machine was equipped with two drive bays, and Windows was installed on a Seagate Momentus XT 500GB 7200RPM Hybrid Drive with an 4GB SSD cache.
We tested the benchmark difference between these two drives.
If there is one thing that our consumer culture appreciates, it is presentation. Kingston delivers in the presentation department. Where other hard drives come in a static bag and nothing else, the Hyper X comes in attractive packaging, and includes niceties such as an external enclosure with USB 2.0, SATA cable, driver disk that includes cloning software, and a nifty screwdriver.
The drive itself is enclosed in brushed aluminum and dark grey plastic, and also comes with a metallic blue aluminium mounting bracket for installation in a desktop chassis.
When you open the packaging and notice the care taken with product presentation you really don’t mind the price tag as much. Not even the Seagate Hybrid came in such fancy attire.
We expected the Kingston Drive to perform well. Any SSD should perform better than “regular” hard drives – right?
Well, the Hyper X blew us away from the moment we benchmarked it. For a base score we took the Seagate Hybrid Hard Drive and got the following scores:
The hybrid drive is no slouch, the extra drive cache making sure the most is made out of the sustained throughput of the drive platters.
When we ran the same tests on the Kingston SSD however, we were absolutely blown away.
First, we benchmarked the empty SSD.
A more six times improvement with sequential read/write performance. The improvement is staggering.
Then we decided to load the hard drive with data and re-run our tests to make sure.
The expected performance degradation was not there. In fact, some of the smaller data write speeds improved slightly.
We could definitely feel this improvement when using the laptop we tested on during our normal usage. Microsoft Windows felt snappier when tooling around doing our daily work and boot up time improved from 22.33sec to 18.56sec. Launching Libre Office improved from 5.89sec to 3.71sec, and launching Battlefield 3 (timed up to where the launch videos started) went from 1min 5.39 seconds to 47.91seconds.
Is forking out the premium for an SSD worth it? Generally we’d say it depends on your needs, but the Kingston Hyper X is really worth the spend.
The packaging and presentation makes you feel like you spent your money wisely, and the increase in performance is really worth it.
The HyperX 3K range is available as a stand-alone drive or an upgrade kit, and ranges in capacity from 90GB – 480GB. Prices range from R1,426.00 to R7,534.00.