As I’m sure is quite obvious, USB 3.0 was a major focus at this month’s Computex 2010 event , with vendors all over displaying their wares for our perusal. Many USB 3.0 companies at the moment consist of motherboard vendors or enclosure manufacturers, not to mention add-in providers, but there are also those that deliver the all-in-one storage devices that put those ports to good use.
Just under two months ago, Super Talent released its fleet of USB 3.0 devices in the form of thumb drives, while OCZ answered the 3.0 call in late May with its Enyo, a drive we’ll be taking a look at in the near-future. During a meeting with Kingston at Computex, though, we were given a preview of an upcoming USB 3.0 external SSD the company will be releasing. No surprise, this product will fall under the company’s HyperX line.
At the conclusion of our visit of Kingston’s factory in Hsinchu, the company gave us a quick preview of what we could expect to see from the drive when it launches this fall. When used in a USB 3.0 port, CrystalDiskMark delivered sequential results of 196.3 MB/s read and 151.4 MB/s write. Compared to our recently reviewed Super Talent SuperCrypt drive, Kingston’s HyperX is lagging a bit behind in the read department but truly excels where writes are concerned (150 MB/s vs. 100 MB/s).
The results of the latter tests are even more impressive, though, with the HyperX’s 512K performance settling in at 185.3 MB/s read and 145.1 MB/s write, compared to Super Talent’s 209.5 MB/s read and 69.45 MB/s write. Likewise for the brutal 4K test, Kingston’s drive delivered results of 19.21 MB/s read and 40.43 MB/s write, versus Super Talent’s 16.64 MB/s read and 2.50 MB/s write.
To be fair to Super Talent though, the company offers an even faster USB 3.0 thumb drive than the one we reviewed, the RAIDDrive, which might deliver even more impressive results. But after seeing what Kingston was able to muster here, I have to say it’s going to be a hard to beat. The read speeds are a bit lower than has become typical, but it’s arguably the writes that really matter, and the writes here are incredibly good.
Although it’s hard to top the announcement of its HyperX external SSD, the company followed-up with a look at its upcoming Class 10 SDXC memory card, weighing in at 64GB. You might recall us taking a quick look at this technology at last year’s CES show, where it was first announced. According to the SD Association, the governing body of all things SD, SDXC is capable of densities up to 2TB, which is obviously a lot of space for such a small card. Even our current desktop hard drives don’t exceed 2TB, so to picture that much in a mobile card is drool-worthy.
Of course, it’s going to be quite a while before we see densities like that, and for the most part, very, very few people would currently even take advantage of such a thing. It’s for that reason that the 64GB models, such as Kingston’s, would become a rather popular choice for those who need more than 32GB and have a camera or camcorder capable of handling SDXC cards.
As a Class 10 card, the average speed you will see is 10 MB/s write, although as the flash improves over time we should be seeing far faster speeds. According to technical documents, the maximum throughput for the SDXC bus is 104 MB/s, so there’s certainly a lot of room to breathe. As FAT32 has become inadequate when dealing with <32GB partitions, all SDXC cards will use exFAT, a file system that virtually imposes no limitations in file or volume sizes for the next while (exFAT’s recommended max file/volume size is 512 TiB (~560 TB)).
Availability for both of these products is currently unknown, and the same applies to pricing. The latter makes sense given that NAND prices could wildly affect the SRP at launch. I suspect we’ll see the SDXC card hit the market in the weeks to come, though, as it’s not only Kingston which seems to be ramping up for distribution.