Kingston, longtime manufacturer of memory products, got it’s start in the SSD market years ago. Over the years, Kingston has evolved into a major player and now enjoys a partnership with LSI SandForce.
Last year Kingston released the well-received HyperX SSD. A SF-2281 controller paired with Intel’s special, higher grade 25nm Synchronous ONFI 2.2 flash set the drive apart in a crowded marketplace.
This higher binned NAND was said to be available only to Kingston (aside from Intel’s own drives, of course). The upside was fantastic performance coupled with 5,000PE cycle NAND, but the down side was the premium price attached; the highly binned flash is definitely more expensive than regular 3,000PE cycle flash. That special NAND didn’t necessarily result in more speed, although it was incredibly fast. Endurance and reliability were enhanced, however those features don’t necessarily show up in benchmarks.
Kingston’s HyperX enthusiast line is now getting a second addition of HyperX SSDs, but with a twist. Instead of using cheaper, slower asynchronous NAND to create a “budget enthusiast” product, Kingston wisely chose to create the HyperX 3K. The 3K, named for its use of Intel synchronous NAND rated at 3,000PE cycles, is identical to the original except for the lower bin of NAND it uses. The 3K uses the same kind of Intel flash used in drives like the new Vertex 4 and other SF drives, like the ADATA XPG SX900.
The new HyperX 3Ks are visually distinctive, retaining the gunmetal-grey chassis inserts, except with black trim instead of the blue. Like the first HyperX, the 3K is available packaged with or without installation kits and the full kit includes Acronis migration software, a USB2.0 encloure, SATA cable, screwdriver, and a 3.5″ desktop installation bracket.
Kingston’s product datasheet shows four new 3K drives capacities, these being 90GB, 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB. Performance has changed slightly over the original HyperX, but this is probably due more to the newer SandForce reference firmware than different flash.
Check back as our detailed review of the Kingston HyperX 3K should be out within the next day. The Kingston HyperX 3K datasheet can be found here.