The Best SandForce SSD Today?
Today we’re reviewing another SandForce SF-2281 based SSD product – the Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD. You might be wondering what makes one SandForce-driven SSD different from the rest, but so far we have seen quite a bit of variance in the products we’ve tested. This includes the Intel 335, which uses 20nm flash, the Vertex 3 Max IOPS which uses 32nm Toggle flash, providing plenty of channels to saturate the controller, the Intel 520 with its 5 year warranty, and others. The fact is, there is more to an SSD than its controller chip.
Kingston have two SSDs that carry the HyperX name – the original HyperX (blue), and the HyperX 3K we’re looking at here. If you’re wondering what is the difference between the HyperX and HyperX 3K, they are actually almost identical. It all comes down to the original blue HyperX having hand-picked extra durable NAND. It is rated for 5000 Program/Erase cycles, while the HyperX 3K is rated at 3000 P/E cycles. This is similar to what Intel is doing with their 520 series and 335 series drives (although the original HyperX only had a 3 year warranty).
Don’t assume that this isn’t a long lasting drive though. While Kingston doesn’t state the TBW (Total Bytes Written) spec for the original HyperX, the 240GB 3K has a rating of 153.6 TB. That means to wear out the flash within the 3 year warranty, you’d have to write 86 GB per day of 100% random data (normal data is around 50%). Every day, for 3 years. Unless you are purposefully trying to wear out your drive, there is practically no way that will happen in a normal desktop system.
Knowing that, you can probably assume that the original HyperX is pretty much ‘obsolete’ (in fact, I don’t think it’s in stock at many stores anymore). My guess is, Kingston wanted to put out the most high end SSD possible at the time, but soon realized that it’s not worth it for them to offer 5000 cycle NAND on a consumer drive. Most customers just want performance as long as the durability isn’t lower than average.
On the next page, we’ll take a closer look at the drive before moving on to performance results.