Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/240G
As you saw on the first page, the HyperX 3K is quite the looker. It’s almost as if Kingston designed the drive specifically for me – I am a huge fan of the matte black/gunmetal look used on products like the NZXT Phantom 410 Gunmetal and the EVGA Z75 SLI motherboard.
At the bottom you can see our good old friends, security torx screws. Kingston loves to use these things in addition to the warranty sticker. However I have found that they are easy to open with a standard 1mm flat screwdriver. Let’s break that warranty and see what’s inside:
As you can see, the PCB is actually quite a bit shorter than the drive’s enclosure. The NAND are a bit mucked up from the thermal interface material, but they are IMFT model 29F16b08CCME3 (the 5000 P/E version is labeled 29F16b08CCME2). Each chip has a pair of 8GB dies inside, which means there are up to 32 interleaving channels available to the SandForce controller. This is why larger drives like this perform better than smaller ones.
Note that although there is 256 GB of memory onboard, only 240 GB is available to the end user. This is called over provisioning, and is required by SandForce based drives to operate at peak efficiency. Technically you could give it access to the full amount of memory, but as soon as you go over 240 GB of capacity, you would run into major performance problems. So even a “256 GB” SandForce drive (they do exist) would only work as a 240 GB device anyway.
The HyperX 3K is available in two configurations – most will want to opt for this barebones kit though:
My only gripe is that the drive bay adapter doesn’t match the drive itself.
There are two programs available that work with the HyperX 3K. One simply reads the SMART data, while the other is for updating the firmware. I really appreciate it when SSDs like the Intel 335 and Samsung 830 come with useful software, though you could say that the HyperX 3K is all about performance without the extras. Besides, it’s easy to secure erase an SSD in Windows by using its TRIM capability.