Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD Review

Kingston has realized tremendous success with their original HyperX line of premium SSDs for enthusiasts. With the SSD market becoming more value-driven, Kingston has responded with a new HyperX 3K model. Today we will look at the performance of the newest member of the Kingston family.

Kingston HyperX 3K Basics

Kingston originally released its HyperX series of enthusiast-oriented SSDs with 25nm 5K NAND from Intel. This "5K NAND" provides the ultimate in endurance over the long run, but this high-quality NAND does carry a premium. 5K P/E Cycle NAND means, in the simplest terms, that you can physically write and delete the capacity of the attached NAND 5,000 times before the amount of NAND cell failures will become too problematic to manage. This is typically a conservative measurement of overall SSD life expectancy.

CPUs are binned at higher specs for certain batches of chips, and the same is true for NAND. The overwhelming majority of 25nm NAND is only rated for 3,000 P/E cycles, and the 5,000 P/E cycle NAND is simply born from higher quality batches of NAND.

This 5K NAND provided Kingston a definite advantage at the high end, enjoying its position as the only SSD that carried this high-endurance 25nm NAND due to a agreement with Intel. Almost all other SSDs at the time were using the typical 3K NAND.

Up until Intel's launch of the 520 with similar 5K NAND, the Kingston was the SSD to buy for enthusiasts. Several conditions in the market have now changed, one being the launch of the Intel 520 series, which is now competing directly with Kingston's high end offering with the same type of NAND.

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The market prices for SSDs have also taken a big nose-dive recently, dropping down to, and sometimes below the invisible $1 dollar per Gigabyte barrier. While this has been a boon for the casual user and enthusiast alike, it has increased the competitiveness of the market accordingly.

With several manufacturers now carrying very similar SandForce products the differences between drives can be slight, at best. Manufacturers must remain competitive in the pricing department, and that is a big part of the motivation behind this new 3K version of the HyperX.

Kingston has also taken the approach of offering more accessories than other competitors and this is a great way for companies to differentiate its products. For enthusiast users it is great to know manufacturers are stepping up in the accessories department to gain our dollars, but Kingston is also offering accessory-free versions that will allow for users to enjoy slightly lower price points if the accessories have not personal use.

The "HyperX" brand is important to Kingston, and is synonymous with higher performance products that enthusiasts and normal users alike can trust. Developing a newer version of the HyperX with lower endurance to remain competitive creates a big challenge for Kingston.

The first HyperX branded SSDs are widely known for exceptional speed. The challenge for Kingston is to deliver a product with more value-centric pricing that will still deliver great performance that is worthy of the HyperX brand. Today we will put the HyperX 3K model through its paces to see if it lives up to its marketing.