EXCLUSIVE: Kingston HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD Review (480GB)

This year is starting to look like a great one for consumer SSD storage. Competition is increasing, prices are lowering, and speeds are getting much faster…well they will be. We have started seeing a stronger push in the entry level market and there are quite a few SATA 6Gb/s M.2 SSDs available, however, there hasn’t been much push in the enthusiast market with M.2 PCIe SSDs. Sure, there is the Plextor M6e, but it is a PCIe 2.0 x2 M.2 SSD. Then there are the two other main options, the Samsung XP941 and just recently SM951, however they are hard to get as they are mainly OEM SSDs and there have been issues with getting them to work properly as boot drives as not all motherboards support them. Not only that, but their capacity ranges are limited to 512GB.

What we really need is a readily available consumer/enthusiast oriented M.2 PCIe SSD that starts to show the advantage of the PCIe interface…and that is exactly what Kingston did! If you remember earlier this year we took a trip to CES 2015 and got a first look at Kingston’s HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD. It is a PCIe 2.0 x4 M.2 SSD that offers speeds of up to 1.4GB/s, that’s about 3x faster than standard SATA 6Gb/s SSDs. Now, we finally have it on our Test Bench and boy does it perform well!

Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Main

SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY

This is Kingston’s first attempt at developing a high speed M.2 PCIe SSD and they took their time to do it right. The HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD utilizes the PCIe 2.0 x4 interface to achieve read speeds of up to 1.4GB/s and write speeds up to 1GB/s. When looking at IOPS, this SSD can deliver up to 160,000 read and 119,000 write! Sustained random 4K read/write is rated for up to 120K/78K respectively. Currently this SSD is available in 240GB and 480GB capacity, however a 960GB model will be released in the coming months.

HyperX Predator M.2 Specs

The MTBF rating is at 1 million hours. The operating temperature range is 0-70C as it is with most SSDs. The power consumption is rated at 1.38W idle, 1.4W average, and up to a maximum of 1.99W for read and 8.25W for write. The dimensions for the M.2 SSD itself are 80mm x 22mm x 3.5mm (M.2 2280 form factor) and the weight is 10g.

The 240GB HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD is rated for up to 415TB writes and our 480GB model is rated for up to a staggering 882TB! The warranty coverage is only for three years however. With these numbers, the SSD is rated for 1.6 and 1.7 drive writes per day. We would have really liked to see a longer warranty for such a premium and high performing SSD.

Now, pricing on these SSDs match their place in the market, the 240GB model will set you back $241.74 (w/ adapter) and the 480GB model is $469.74 (w/ adapter). They are also available without the adapter, but Amazon is listing them at higher prices at the moment. At these prices it is just under $1 per GB, or about twice the cost of that of a regular SATA 6GB/s SSD. Hopefully after there is some stronger competition we will see some lower prices, but these are the street prices for now.

PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS

As an enthusiast product, the HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD comes in packaging to match. The front of the box features an image of the SSD and is accented in a dark black and red grunge theme. The name and capacity are both in large print to draw attention. The M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 interface and listed speeds of 1400MB/s read and 1000MB/s write are listed on the package as well.

Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Packaging Front Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Packaging Back

The backside lists what is included as well. We can see there is also a quick start guide and HyperX sticker on top of the SSD, low-profile bracket, and Acronis True Image key.

Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Accessories Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Closer Look

Looking at the packaging it is apparent that they wanted to show case it in all its glory with the custom cut out foam insert. As a premium product, it demands it.

Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Front Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB BackOur HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD is mounted in a blacked out M.2 to PCIe bracket, this is great for people who are looking for high speed, yet do not have a motherboard with supporting M.2 sockets. We are glad that they have gone with a blacked out PCB with unmasked gold PCIe traces as a green PCB would not be anywhere near as good looking as this. The PCB is void of any flashing lights or any extra connections as the Plextor M6e Black Edition had in our review earlier this year. Also, while comparing the M6e, the Kingston Predator M.2 PCIe SSD does not have a warranty void sticker over the screw securing the M.2 2280 SSD card. This means that if you get the HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD with the adapter, you are not stuck with leaving it in the adapter, you can move it to an M.2 socket in your system freely.

Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Disassembled Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB Connector

Taking the M.2 PCIe SSD out of the adapter we can see that it has a thermal pad on the PCB behind the controller to help dissipate heat created by it into the adapter card. Also, as this is an M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 SSD, it features an M key connector.

The HyperX predator M.2 PCIe SSD is powered by Marvell’s PCIe 88SS9293 controller. We have seen this a few times at events last year and even CES and we are happy to finally be able to see how it performs in our hands.  This controller should prove to be popular for upcoming PCIe SSDs as it has low heat output and high performance. We even seen that the Plextor M7e will feature this controller later this year.

The NAND being used is Toshiba A19 Toggle. There are eight NAND packages in total, each 64GB in capacity. Once the SSD is formatted there is 447GB of usable capacity. As for the DRAM Kingston are using their own brand DDR3 1600 low voltage chips. There are two on our sample, each 512MB in capacity for a total of 1GB.

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Bill BarnesJoselito B. MacielJirka Horacek Czech RepublicIzludefla56 Recent comment authors
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lorki
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lorki

Nice review, thanks. Could you try this ssd on older motherboards (x58) that don’t support uefi, and check if it can boot from it?

Les@TheSSDReview
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I can address this. The earliest renditions of the M.2 (then NGFF) could not boot on any system and this changed with the earlier Plextor drives where the boot files were actually on the SSD. This is what is necessary for this drive to boot from an older system and I don’t believe it is equipped with the necessary boot files. Short of that, the motherboard needs to recognize the newer M.2 and enable its ability to boot from within the bios. Even then, the fact that the Plextor SSD had the boot file for loading still never guaranteed it… Read more »

lorki
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lorki

Thanks, still, if you have any old motherboard laying around and you could try it, i would be grateful.

I believe that a lot of people with older motherboards that don’t have m2 sockets and are bottlenecked from sata3, would be interested in pcie ssds , but of course with the ability to boot from them. When they ask for your opinion, i think you should mention it, if you, of course, agree with this.

Les@TheSSDReview
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We are working on confirmation but have just received news from Kingston that, using the HHHL adapter, it ca be used as a boot drive in older systems. We are awaiting confirmation.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

As stated by the Kingston team: “We do have Boot ROM code on the Predator SSDs. For the drive to be recognized and work properly the host system BIOS must be able to enumerate a device plugged into the PCIe sockets. In our labs we’ve been able to upgrade motherboards starting back at Intel 6x chipsets but this test is by no means exhaustive. Users should consult their system / motherboard manufacturer on this before purchasing.

Bill Mathews
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Bill Mathews

“host system BIOS must be able to enumerate a device plugged into the PCIe sockets.”
Noob question: What does this mean? Obviously something more than ‘recognize and then use once the O/S is loaded’, but what? And is there a way to see if my BIOS will do that, short of buying the card and trying it? (Also X58 +ICH10)

Les@TheSSDReview
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‘recognize’ If it is not recognized it will not boot. We saw this with earlier motherboards and the XP941 SSD.

Bill Barnes
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Bill Barnes

I just installed the HyperX Predator Half-Height, Half-Length (HH-HL) 240GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SHPM2280P2H/240G (with HHHL Adapter on my Gigabyte990FXA-UD3 REV 4 motherboard and had a problem with setting my Boot drive configuration! The SSD was installed on 2 different slots PCIe x4/2 and PCIe 16/2 for testing purposes! On my initial install it reconized the drive immeadiatly but everytime I tried to set up boot options I could not locate my optical drives nowhere to be found? Checking the drive devices options or list only the Predator showed up on the list no the… Read more »

Izlude
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Izlude

Old post, but hoping someone sees and replies. There appears to be “mixed results” regarding the ability to Boot Win10 on this FuryX Predator m.2 on x58 boards. The one I own is Rampage III Extreme (original, not black edition).

It boots some of those revodrives, but m.2 is definitely a different animal. Can anyone out there confirm for this board?

Jirka Horacek Czech Republic
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Jirka Horacek Czech Republic

My experience with HyperX predator m.2 PCIe G2 4x. It work on my old MB ASUS P5K3deluxe, but there is any problem with boot, I must press Enter few times after message Insert boot media…, then works fine. Jirka Horacek Czech Republic

Incognito Jay
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Incognito Jay

I have an ASUS x58 Sabertooth then upgraded to a Maximus VI Hero, which is a nice board. For you however I’d hold out until Skylake. I’m personally waiting for Cannonlake since Intel is infamously only marginally raising actual performance (since Sandybridge) and focusing on fluff like onboard graphics and other useless features so a three generation skip should give a meaningful upgrade. AMD needs to push them but start with much better power efficiency. Without onboard cutting into the chip’s costs it should still cost less than an Intel chip and even put extra cores where the onboard graphics… Read more »

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Does this support NVMe or are they atleast planning on supporting it ?

Sean Webster
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No NVMe support for now, I am not sure about later down the line.

Raoh shiro
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Raoh shiro

What’s the price for the 960GB version? BTW, it’s not listed on Amazon….?

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

There is no 960GB version.

Les@TheSSDReview
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As the report details, the 960 will be available in the future.

Raoh shiro
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Raoh shiro

Oh? But none of the others are listed on amazon? What happened?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

They are selling like hotcakes.

numeric
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numeric

‘cannot enable Ultra Fast Boot in your UEFI, only Fast Boot’

You should give a brief description of ‘Ultra Fast Boot’ and ‘Fast Boot’. I expect several of your readers, even regulars, do not know what these phrases mean. (at least I do not know)

What is part number of HHHL carrier/adapter board? I struggle to make it out from photo. My guess: 2024858-001 A00.

For those who may not know, HHHL refers to half hight (a.k.a. low-profile), half length.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

These are bios settings when you are setting your system. They may differ slightly depending on board.

Incognito Jay
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Incognito Jay

Would you recommend this for 4k viewing and gaming? I currently have a 250 GB Crucial MX100 and using an old Octane 128 GB as a storage drive (was a brick for awhile until I went into disk management and marked it as active NTFS from RAW) for a little extra storage (I’m halfway full on a 1TB Western Digital Black HDD) and the Predator looks like a great upgrade. SATA III seems to be bottlenecking traditional SSDs (which could explain why they all seem to be 550MB read and write.)

Les@TheSSDReview
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4k viewing may show some noticeable improvement but gaming might not as the SSD decreases only transition times between scenes for the most part.

Donny Stanley
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Donny Stanley

To reaffirm Les’ comments. Where you’ll see improvements (if any) is with very large 4K video files, stored locally. If you have large library of video, a faster drive such as this one will cache those video files and make them not only quicker to find, but play and seek faster. How much the improvement will be over other SSDs is questionable, but there will definitely be large increases over mechanical storage. As for gaming, this will only help with initial installation, and map/level loading, even then the difference over any other SSD may not be perceivable to the naked… Read more »