In today's market, there are a lot of high-performance USB 3.0 drives
claiming to be the fastest or claiming to deliver the best performance in some obscure category. In many cases there have been USB 3.0 drives that simply were the fastest that we had seen and we available for a pretty reasonable price, like the Corsair Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0 drive
we recently reviewed.
Today, though, we're going to explore the realm of the much less reasonable. The realm of the awesome and ridiculous, that is, the realm of the HyperX. HyperX has always been Kingston's performance brand and has generally been known to offer some of the fastest products that Kingston and in many cases the world has to offer. They make HyperX RAM
and HyperX SSDs
and now, they make HyperX USB drives
. Now, the real question that we have to ask ourselves for this review is whether or not this USB drive is really worthy of the HyperX name especially when we know that Kingston already has some 'high performance' USB 3.0 drives available.
The Kingston HyperX DataTraveler 64GB USB 3.0 drive is a pretty simple USB drive coming with the obvious 64GB of storage space with paper speed specifications of 225 MB/s read and 135 MB/s writes with USB 2.0 speeds of 30 MB/s on both reads and writes since that is essentially the max one can expect out of USB 2.0 ports. In addition to that, Kingston backs this drive with their standard 5 year warranty and sells it for a retail price of $149. Due to Holiday madness, this product is currently selling on Newegg for $109.99 with a mail in rebate.
In addition to that, the drive itself is actually quite compact for being 64GB as previous generation drives have been much thicker and larger than their predecessors in order to obtain such a large capacity. With the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 64GB, we're effectively sticking with the same size as USB drives always have been, except it is a little thicker.
The drive also comes with a lanyard attachment loop and a cap that snaps onto the drive itself for safe keeping. We found the overall design of the drive to be quite unique and exciting and we really appreciated Kingston's efforts to keep the drive small and aesthetically pleasing.Test Methodology/Set Up
For our testing, we will be testing both the theoretical speeds as well as the real world performance speeds of this drive. Based on those findings we will be determining if this driver really deserves the HyperX name and whether or not it really gives you great performance per dollar, even at the high end.
Our test bench was using the Intel X79 reference board, also known as the DX79SI. On this board, there is an NEC USB 3.0 controller as the X79 nor any other Intel chipset currently supports USB 3.0 natively. With Ivy Bridge and subsequent Intel chipsets, there will be native USB 3.0, but that won't happen until well into 2012. We found that simply testing USB drives between different motherboards and controllers really gave us a crazy amount of variation and as a result we really found ourselves wishing that motherboard chipset manufacturers, namely Intel and AMD would natively support USB 3.0 so that there wouldn't be such a wild variation between performance of different controllers.
We also found that different driver versions and even firmwares (BIOS updates) also affected USB 3.0 performance, so that is something to consider. Furthermore, with Windows 8 approaching in later 2012 we can expect a further boost to USB 3.0 performance in systems that already have a USB 3.0 controller.
Another thing that we noticed in our testing was that because of the HyperX's insanely fast speeds, some SSDs simply did not have the write speeds to accommodate the drive's 225 MB/s+ read speeds. As such, one must consider that this drive's speeds will indeed be limited by your hard drive or SSD if its write speeds (in the real world) are not faster than 225 MB/s. One solution would be to purchase one of the latest and greatest SandForce 2281 controller based drives from vendors like OCZ, Corsair, Patriot or even Kingston. Many of these drives will deliver good enough real world writes to accommodate this drive's speed. As such, we recommend that if you want to get the full performance out of this and possibly future USB 3.0 drives, you will want to grab a new SSD or get some SSDs in RAID 0 like we had on our X79 test bench.
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