Choosing a solid state hard drive can be confusing. What's the differences from drive to drive? From different SATA numbers to the "Read / Write" speeds. Picking the right drive, at the right price can quickly become a daunting task. Are they that much different?
Today we at PDXLAN just wants to give you a breakdown of the Kingston SSD line up, and give you a chance to win a 240GB Kingston HyperX 3k SSD. (June 4th-June 14th 2012)
What is a Solid State Hard drive? (Geek 101)
WIKI: A solid-state drive (SSD), is a data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data. SSDs do not employ any moving mechanical components, which distinguishes them from traditional magnetic disks such as hard disk drives (HDDs) which are electromechanical devices containing spinning disks and movable read/write heads. Compared to HDDs, SSDs are typically less susceptible to physical shock, are silent, and have lower access time and latency.
SSDs share the input/output interface technology developed for hard disk drives, thus permitting simple replacement for most applications.
What is SATA 2.0 / SATA 3.0? (Geek 102)
Easily put, SATA is the interface that HDDs, SSDs, and CD Roms use to deliver data for processing by your computer. Data is pulled into a buffer and delivered to your processor / GPU for processing. Traditionally mechanical drives connected with SATA's predecessor for hard drive (PATA / IDE) pulled data in at a fraction of today's SATA speeds.
As with all technologies revisions occur and things get faster. SATA 1 was 1.5GB/s, SATA 2 3.0GB/s, and SATA 3 is the fastest at 6.0GB/s. This is very important as once the interface is saturated it then becomes one of many bottlenecks in your computer, perhaps the largest bottleneck.
Kingston SSD Lineup: (Geek 201)
Kingston has been producing SSDs since the technology went mainstream about 2007. As with differing technical needs, some SSD's are fast, and some are so fast they nearly time travel. We have put together a chart that compares four generation/models of Kingston SSD's.
The HyperX line generally is the performance/enthusiast line, while SSDNOW tends to be the consumer/business line.
*Prices from Newegg or Amazon on 6-4-2012
Kingston SSD Speeds: (Geek 202)
It is important to note that all Kingston drives are compatible with a SATA 3 interface, but compatibility with an interface does not mean the drive can function at the higher speed.
For example the SSDNOW V200 series can only support up to SATA 2 speeds. (300MB/s). All other drives compared do support SATA 3 transfer speeds, and boy does it show! (Nearly 2X speeds in all cases)
The fastest Kingston SSD drive is the HyperX 3K drive. This drive boasts 555MB/s read speeds, and 510MB/s write speeds. The drive also scores a whopping 60,000 in PCMARK Vantage.
How fast do you need to go? What are the benefits of SSD? (Geek 205)
Generally SSDs are used primarily for your OS (C:/) and files you wish to have access to fast. I personally have Windows 7 installed on a 240GB HyperX 3k. The thing you will notice first about an SSD as your OS drive is just how much faster your OS loads over a traditional Mechanical Hard Drive. In addition, waking from sleep / hibernate is much faster.
The other important thing SSDs do for your gaming is load up games faster, switch maps faster in games like Battlefield 3, and start sooner (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo 3). Generally in Battlefield 3 the first people loaded in on the map are the ones with SSD's.
This all begs the question... What do you really need? First off if you have a mechanical HDD still, change that. It's holding you back in terms of load times, boot times, and map changes.
The next concern most have is the price of the SSD compared to the HDD. Yes, the price is higher than a traditional HDD, and yes, the space is smaller. It is very important to remember that you are paying for the speed, and technology with SSDs. (Not to mention better controllers, but that is the Geek 302 class)
If you are looking for a budget upgrade, then the 90GB SSDNOW V+200 is the sweet spot at $90.00 - This should give you enough space for your OS install, and a few programs, but not your entire Steam Library. Obviously if you can spare another $19.00 you can get the better HyperX 3k SSD with MLC (Multi-level cell) memory. (Opposed to SLC, Single-level cell memory).
The Kingston HyperX 3k 240GB SSD
When we received the 240GB 3k we noticed that the box was of high quality, protecting the awesomeness that was inside.
When we opened the box, the SSD was sitting in a very nice neo-prene slab custom fit for the drive.
Under the first level of neo-prene we found a second level slab with a external drive holder, and a Kingston screw driver.
The packaging reminded us of unboxing the iPhone - very classy, very organized. To us we felt if a company made it look this good before we even plugged it in, we knew we could expect quality from here on out.
In total this is what was in the box:
- SSD 2.5" to 3.5" tray
- USB cord
- SATA 3 cord
- 240GB SSD
When I first learned that I would be reviewing the Kingston HyperX SSD I was worried that I might not notice a difference from my current SSD, a 256GB Crucial C300. I knew the jump from mechanical to SSD was huge, but how huge could the jump between two SSDs be?
Let me answer with "Huge". I was impressed. OS load times were nearly cut in half on the Intel DX79SI motherboard, and my computer was snappy. After using the Kingston Hard Drive for 2 weeks - I have been so impressed at the difference ~ and I am still surprised I see so much difference.
Diablo 3 Instantly loads new levels where as my wife's computer takes 1-2 seconds longer. I am first, or near first when a map change happens in Battlefield 3. Photoshop is loading fast - the computer is a dream - everything working in perfect harmony.
Which Kingston Drive should you choose?
Kingston has a great line up for all your SSD needs. From blistering fast drives with just 60GB storage to massive 480GB SSD's with extreme performance.
The most important advice I have is go with a SATA 3 Drive that supports 6.0GB/s. This is more important than space. Load up your OS on that.
Now if you still have money, find the sweet spot in price per GB and see if you can afford more. You may not be able to fit ALL your games on the drive, but you should be able to fit your favorite.
No matter what you choose, we'll see you on the Battlefield!
Please Comment on our post about this review. What did you like? What questions do you still have? What has been your experience with SSDs?
Forum post here: http://www.pdxlan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=15176
Facebook Contest for a 240GB Kingston HYPER-X SSD here: http://woobox.com/kxpmer
(June 4-14 2012)
Post review notes:
>> One thing that I did not talk about was the difference between the two HyperX SSDs. It seems that one of the main differences is how many times something can be written in the SSD's lifecycle. Here is a video explaining it more:
>> Also, I found this video talking about the HyperX drive from Kingston - check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93ov6SpF6AY
Post review notes: