When Solid State Drives (SSDs) were first released, you were expected to pay an arm and a leg for the luxury of quietness, reliability and full on performance benefits they offer. As time has passed though, SSDs are becoming a lot more affordable and there’s very few reasons not to invest in upgrading your current hard drive.
That brings me to one of the affordable performance drives on the market, Kingston’s ‘HyperX 3K’ SSD. Claiming read speeds of 555MB/s and write speeds of 510MB/s, plus a baseline price of just £74.99 for the 120GB version – it’s an upgrade that won’t be breaking the bank. You also have the option of going for the installation kit (like me) which comes up to £95.
Without getting too technical, the lower cost (relative to other SSDs) is down to the ‘3K NAND’ memory, which basically means that the SSD should last up to 3,000 full write cycles as opposed to the 5,000 full writes that the original HyperX 5K can manage. What you need to know is, unless you’re doing ridiculously intensive work on your computer, those 3,000 cycles will last you easily over 5-8 years.
Installation Kit Unboxing
Kingston provide a nice kit to help you install the SSD.
Inside the box you’ll find the 2.5″ SSD, a USB enclosure for your old hard drive, a 3.5″ mounting bracket to use if you’re installing it in a desktop, a SATA data cable, hard drive cloning software and a multi bit screwdriver.
Being a sucker for good design I automatically noticed the brushed metal surface and loved it. I actually felt bad knowing that its good looks were going to be hiding away inside my MacBook Pro but it’s nice to know that Kingston spent some time on making it look good anyway.
Fortunately, the HyperX’s branding and design was kept consistent on the USB enclosure, so you’ll still be able to appreciate the good looks. Design aside, Kingston’s decision to include the enclosure was really useful because it meant I was able to keep using my hard drive as external storage once I had replaced it with the HyperX SSD.
Installing the SSD in my MacBook Pro.
Although I won’t run through it in detail in this review, you will need to make sure you do the following before you start messing with the hardware:
- Back up all of your data
- Make sure you have a bootable version of your operating system. This will normally come as a CD with your computer when you purchased it, or if you’re using Mac you can create a bootable OS using a USB drive.
For this particular upgrade, I used my MacBook Pro (late 2011) which has a 2.4GHz i5 Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM (upgraded from 4GB).
The video below from CazuaLLUK shows you how simple the upgrade can be, and dealing with other laptops will mostly work in the same way. If you want specific instructions for your own computer though, a simple Google/YouTube search should find you what you need.
What’s great about doing this kind of upgrade is that with so many online tutorials to help, plus the right tools (which Kingston conveniently includes in the Installation Kit), you just need a little bit of time & patience to get the job done. Once you’re finished and left with a computer that feels brand new, it’ll be worth it trust me!
Testing & Results
Once I installed my operating system and fitted the SSD, I immediately noticed the difference in performance.
My MacBook Pro started up in between 21-23 seconds; an incredible speed difference from the previous 50+ second boot time.
To test actual data transfer speeds I used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and achieved 215MB/s write speeds and 390MB/s read speeds. That’s quite a way off what Kingston propose the HyperX can do – but let me explain the numbers.
Blackmagic is an application that tests using incompressible data (e.g. Photoshop , video and audio files) so simply put – the read/write speeds from this test are in a worst case scenario.
In a real-world setting most data on your computer will be compressible and so you’re far more likely to achieve the 500MB/s read/write speeds that Kingston state the HyperX can do.
Kingston HyperX 3k SSD: The Bottom Line
I found very little to fault in the HyperX SSD. Kingston have done a great job with their Installation Kit to make it easy for even non-technical people to pull it off themselves and with the resources available online to guide the installation – there’s very little reason to not do this yourself.
The performance upgrade it delivered on my MacBook was impressive, both in terms of boot up times and opening files & applications and I think that as an entry level SSD it offers high value for money. Having said that, there are now plenty of stronger alternatives in the market although they do cost a little bit more too.
Ultimately, if you’re a light user who’ll be doing a little Photoshop editing and general every day usage, then this is a great SSD for you. If you’re a little more serious about specs and performance in the long term – you may need to look at stronger alternatives.