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Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD
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by Rob Williams on February 9, 2011 in Solid-State Drives

Often on the go and require a super-fast storage solution to take along? Portable SSDs are not exactly new, but they are constantly being improved. Though Kingston was a bit late to the party with its HyperX Max 3.0, we’ve found it to be the best portable SSD we’ve tested to date. It features huge speeds, and very good performance consistency.

Test System & Methodology; Iometer, HD Tune Pro & PCMark

For most of our performance-type content, we hold nothing back when explaining our methodologies and beliefs. But as this is simply an external storage review, we don’t feel there’s quite as important a need to do that. If you’ve read our other performance content, you already know how seriously we take our testing practises, as it’s obvious that coming up with an accurate end score for any benchmark is very important. In the case of flash drives, we repeat all tests at least twice to verify that our results are accurate.

Component
Model
Processor
Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition – Quad-Core, 3.20GHz, 1.30v
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 (Rev 1.0) – X58-based, F5 BIOS
Memory
Kingston HyperX – 12GB DDR3-1333 7-7-7-24-1T, 1.60v
Graphics EVGA GeForce GTX 285 1GB – GeForce 197.45
Audio
On-Board Audio
Storage
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.11 – OS
Intel X25-M G1 80GB – (Data Transfer > USB Device)
Power Supply
Chassis
Display
Dell 24" 2408WFP
Cooling
Et cetera

For our real-world transfer tests, the source files are stored on Intel’s X25-M G1 solid-state disk, which avails us a top-end read speed of around 250MB/s. Unless the USB device we’re testing with is able to write in excess of that, there should be no bottleneck.

Iometer 2006.07.27

To start things off, we’re using Iometer, a popular storage benchmarking application that’s as effective as it is customizable. It’s for both of those reasons that we choose to use it, and also thanks to the fact that it’s capable of outputting the results to both MB/s and IOPS (in/out operations per second). The latter is the value we focus on, as it’s become a standard for measuring performance in enterprise/IT environments.

Admittedly, running this test on most USB flash drives, especially 2.0 models, is not entirely important given the typical manner they’re used, but it’s our goal to see where one excels over another when dealing with such an intensive test. IOPS performance would be very important if you were to install an OS on a flash drive, as long as the bandwidth throughput is also good.

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD

Kingston doesn’t stress over IOPS in its SSD products, and the case seems to be the same with the company’s “thumb drive” products. While both OCZ and Super Talent scored higher in the IOPS department, Kingston’s drive performed on par with an external hard drive. Where external storage is concerned though, IOPS isn’t nearly as important as throughput, and unless you’re running an OS on it, it’s not important at all.

HD Tune Pro 3.5

One of the simplest methods for testing storage is with HD Tune, and as it’s able to give reliable and repeatable results, we like using it in our testing. Although the program offers a good range of testing methods, we use the basic test that gives us read speeds and also access latencies.

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD

Kingston’s portable SSD isn’t able to keep quite up to the Super Talent and OCZ equivalents, but it still delivers outstanding performance overall – 174.3MB/s average read!

PCMark Vantage

One of the more popular storage benchmarks currently is Futuremark’s PCMark Vantage. Even though this is a suite designed to benchmark your entire machine, it’s HDD suite test is quite robust and is good at delivering scores that scale well with the storage device you are benchmarking. Almost all of the storage companies we deal with regularly recommend using it, so we do.

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 128GB Portable SSD

Up to this point, OCZ and Super Talent have surpassed Kingston’s HyperX Max 3.0 in throughput and IOPS, but according to PCMark Vantage, Kingston is way, way ahead of the pack in overall use.

Page List:
Top

1. Introduction
2. Test System & Methodology; Iometer, HD Tune Pro & PCMark
3. CrystalDiskMark, ATTO, Real-World
4. Final Thoughts