When Kingston initially announced the HyperX Predator, we were extremely excited to see these in production and what kinds of speeds we could expect. I mean, realistically, a 512GB and 1TB USB drive is going to be pricey, any way you cut it. Now, take that amount of capacity and then consider that this drive carries the HyperX brand name. For Kingston, that simply means that this is their fastest product line and they tend to stand behind that. We reviewed the predecessor to the HyperX Predator, which was a 64GB HyperX USB 3.0 drive, and it simply blew our minds with the speeds that it was capable of delivering.
Now, the HyperX Predator comes in a small tin (for both 512GB and 1TB) which contains the USB drive, a fancy keychain, and a USB 3.0 extension cable for those scenarios where the USB drive is too big. Until you see the drive in use, you don?t realize how much space it takes up on the back or front of a computer. The drive itself, is the heftiest USB drive I?ve ever held in my hands, and when you look at the components inside, you can totally understand why.
The drive without the casing on (above) and (below) unfolded.
As you can tell, this drive uses three PCBs with a ribbon cable to connect them in order to enable the 512GB capacity. This is why the drive is as thick as it is.
With this drive, the use cases are fairly narrow and this drive essentially serves as an extremely portable mobile SSD. The real truth is that even if you compared this against some portable hard drives, they?re still about half as fast as this drive. Kingston rates this drive at 240 MB/s read and 160 MB/s write, which really does make it about 2x as fast as most hard drives, let alone one of the low-power 5400rpm mobile drives. This drive is not only more compact, more portable, and more durable, but it?s also significantly faster. These factors alone give the drive a very unique position for users that want a durable, compact, fast drive.
Kingston MSRP for this drive is $1,750 and retails on Amazon for $800, with the 1TB version expecting to go for about double. Looking at the standard HyperX, you can get the 256GB version for $400ish, which scales pretty well with this drive in terms of capacity per dollar, but we?ll have to see if the performance delivers at the same levels that we?ve come to expect from Kingston?s USB 3.0 drives.
The fact that the HyperX Predator 512GB doesn’t have a cap is a great thing, because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve lost the cap to my HyperX 64GB USB drive. It’s just not convenient at all.
In order to test the performance of this drive, we have decided to run a few synthetic benchmarks as well as one of our own real world benchmarks, which consists of a series of photos and videos since those files tend to be the ones that get transported most via USB nowadays and will take up the bulk of the drive?s capacity.
In CrystalDiskMark, we were measuring the various reads and writes of the USB drive. Even though the sequential performance of the HyperX Predator 512GB did not necessarily improve significantly (236 MB/s read and 161 MB/s write) over the Hyper X 64GB (235 MB/s read and 156 MB/s write), the 512K and 4K performance did improve significantly. The 512K reads improved by 20% and the writes by 40%, additionally, 4K performance improved by 33% on reads and writes by a whopping 95%. Admittedly, when you start out with 4K writes of 0.08 MB/s and upgrade to 1.618 MB/s that is a huge difference, but it also means that this drive does not seem to slow down when transferring smaller files.
AIDA64 Read Test Suite
In AIDA64, we were simply testing the various types of reads that this drive may experience including seeing the different read speeds that one may experience through the process of a single read. Looking at our results, it appears that the HyperX Predator 512GB is more consistent and delivers faster linear read and buffered read speeds, while the HyperX 64GB delivers faster random reads. This is likely due to the difference in NAND chips and NAND densities (capacity) being seeked by the controller. Linear read for the HyperX 64GB was 235.3 MB/s and random read was 254.8 MB/s, while buffered was 220 MB/s. The HyperX Predator 512GB reported 238 MB/s on linear reads and 240 MB/s on random reads. The Buffered read was 232.9 MB/s evening out the difference between the random reads that the two drives had.
SiSoft Sandra 2013
SiSoft Sandra pretty much is just another synthetic benchmark, and we ran it in order to confirm some of the read times and latency times we were getting in our previous tests. Looking at our results, it appears as though they are in line with what we saw in CrystalDiskMark and AIDA64. The HyperX 64GB USB drive got reads of 235 MB/s and access time of 0.81ms or 810ns. The HyperX Predator 512GB reported a slightly faster 241 MB/s and an impressive seek time of 0.28ms or 280ns.
Real World Read/Write Test
Based on the price of this drive, it?s hard to justify to most consumers. However, if the 256GB HyperX drive isn?t enough capacity for you, this drive will satisfy your needs and expectations. The truth is that this drive isn?t necessarily faster than the HyperX USB drive; however, it does have better latency and a much more sturdy build. You do get some added value with this drive with the key chain and USB cable that Kingston provides, but I get a feeling that this drive is expensive enough that Kingston is almost forced to do something special.
Overall, this drive is a complete and utter beast. It?s fast, and lives up to its expectations. In real world testing, we didn?t quite get the speeds that we were expecting from this drive, but many of our benchmarks did indeed confirm the speeds that Kingston reported. What still gets us, and basically anyone that sees this drive, is the fact that Kingston was able to cram 512GB (and soon to be 1TB) into such a small package. It takes a real serious level of innovation to be able to build a USB drive that can do 512GB, let alone 1TB. Yes, this drive is one of the fattest USB drives I?ve ever seen, but it?s also the largest capacity, ever.
Based upon this, we?re awarding this drive our Innovation Award because of the innovation that Kingston had to do in order to make this drive happen. This thing could also win an editor?s choice for prosumer, but I just feel like it would be more prudent to just go with a ?regular? HyperX USB drive if you want the speeds and don?t need more than 256GB (which almost nobody does).