Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB Solid State Drive Review

by - 6 years ago

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Introduction


HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-package

HyperX is Kingston’s high-performance product division and it is logical that they released their new M.2 based SSD under this label. Today I’m taking the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB Solid State Drive for a test ride on my test bench to find out just how great this new M.2 SATA-based drive can perform.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-m2-top

The Predator SSD offers a large capacity up to 480GB, but it is also available as a 240GB model for those that need less storage or just don’t want to spend as much on a storage drive as others. The drive is rated for speeds up to 1400MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing and it is a perfect drive for ultra-responsive multitasking as well as just an overall faster system.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-pcb-top

The drive is built around the PCIe Gen 2.0 x4 interface and comes as either just the M.2 drive or coupled with a half-height, half-length (HHHL) PCIe adapter like the one I’m having a look at today. The drive is a lot faster than the traditional SATA SSDs thanks to the increased bandwidth that the PCIe connection offers over the relative old SATA standard.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-controller-closeup-drive-pop

The drive is powered by a Marvell 88SS9293 controller and coupled with Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND to achieve this great performance. The drive further has 1GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory in two 512MB packages for caching purposes and general operation. All in all, that is a lot of hardware packed onto this small 2280 gum stick shaped solid state drive.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-m2-bottom

Kingston’s HyperX Predator PCIe SSD has a mean time before failure of 1 million hours and this 480GB version is rated for 882TB total bytes written (TBW) which equals to 1.7 full drive writes per day (DWPD). The smaller 240GB model has an almost identical rating with 1.6 DWPD which equals to 415TB TBW over the drive’s lifetime.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-controller-closeup

Kingston opted for a fully black device and I like this. The black PCB is a nice touch and one that is followed through from M.2 SSD to PCIe adapter board. There is also an extra foam pad mounted next to the connector to stabilize the inserted M.2 drive and prevent accidental damage.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-pcb-angle

Kingston backs this drive with their great customer service and a three-year warranty. The package with the PCIe adapter also included a low-profile replacement bracket for mounting abilities in SSF chassis, a key for Acronis True Image disk cloning software, and a cool HyperX sticker for your case.

Time to dive into the tests and see how this drive performs, it sure sounds like an awesome one.

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Test Procedure


HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Photo-m2-top

Test system:

Software used:

  • AIDA64 Storage Benchmark
  • Anvil’s Storage Utilities
  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • ATTO Benchmark
  • CrystalDiskMark
  • PCMark 8 Storage Benchmark
  • IOMeter

In a bid to make our testing as thorough and as accurate as possible, we have devised a testing methodology to give us the maximum amount of data. Whilst this means that testing each drive will take considerably longer to test – nearly 36 hours in fact, the picture that we are able to build upon the overall performance of each drive is far clearer, providing a more accurate analysis at how a drive performs under different conditions.

I will be testing the drives performance when it is clean and fresh out of the box and then start to fill it up with data, namely 25%, 50% and 75% of the drives capacity and rerun the tests under each of these scenarios. I’ll be using the same sample files under each test to keep the results as consistent as possible. The files in question are a collection of files from my personal NAS, composed of a mixture of small and big files, media, programs, and archives.

On top of this, I will also take the wear on the NAND into consideration and this process obviously takes a long time to perform – so long under real world conditions that it is simply not practical. In order to accelerate this conditioning process I will use the SSD endurance test that lies within Anvils Storage Utilities and read / write 10TB of data to the drive through a process of filling the drive with thousands of small files of various sizes and compressibility (with randomised duration between each of the writes), then reading each of them back with a randomised time between each file. After this has completed, the data is then erased and the process starts again. This process of conditioning the drive can take anywhere upwards of 12-15 hours on a typical 256GB SATA III SSD, however, the performance and capacity of the drive will influence the time it takes to condition the drive.

Following the conditioning process, the benchmarking process described above is repeated again with the volume filled with the same sample data to each percentage between test runs. Furthermore between each benchmark, the drive will get a TRIM command sent and further left alone for a while to make sure the TRIM command has done its job. TRIM can heavily impact a drives performance as it takes place, so allowing a period of time between tests will eliminate this factor and any subsequent false performance figures.

On each page that follows with the benchmark results, I have inserted the screenshots from the benchmark results, created a drive analysis chart for fill-level as well as a drive comparison chart for each software used, where possible.

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AIDA64


AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. It provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring.

It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives and is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has a disk benchmark tool, and that is the one I’ll be using.

Fresh Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view on the drives overall performance from start to end.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-read-liniar

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-write-liniar

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-read-random

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-write-random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-read-accesstimes

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-aida-write-accesstimes

Conditioned Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view on the drives overall performance from start to end.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-read-linear

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-write-linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-read-random

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-write-random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-read-times

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-aida-write-times

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Anvil’s Storage Utilities


Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a new benchmarking utility that we have started using here at eTeknix, it’s completely free to download and has the ability to test mainly hard drives and solid state drives, but also any other form of storage medium that you can throw at it.

As well as testing the drive in a variety of benchmarking tests, it also has a drive endurance test that consistently reads and writes data to the selected medium to give days, months and potentially even years of use in a shorter period of time to see how the drive copes in the longer term.

Fresh Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-anvils-compressible-75

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-anvils-incompressible-75

Conditioned Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-anvil-compr-75

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-anvil-incompr-75

Drive Performance

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DA_Anvils_compressible

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DA_Anvils_incompressible

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DC_Anvils

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AS SSD


The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively. To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests. Special the copy test is one that I think is relevant on the consumer level as it gives the user a view into one of the operations he’s going to do many times.

New Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-asssd-combined

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-asssd-compression-75

Conditioned

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-asssd-combined

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-asssd-compr-75

Drive Performance

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DA_ASSSD

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DC_ASSSD

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ATTO


The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Fresh Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-atto-75

Conditioned

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-atto-75

Drive Performance

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DA_ATTO

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DC_ATTO

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CrystalDiskMark


CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random 4KB/512KB read/write speeds.

Fresh Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-cdm-75

Conditioned

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-cdm-75

Drive Performance

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DA_CDM

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-DC_CDM

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IOmeter


OMeter is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It is used as a benchmark and troubleshooting tool and is easily configured to replicate the behaviour of many popular applications. One commonly quoted measurement provided by the tool is IOPS.

IOMeter allows the configuration of disk parameters such as the ‘Maximum Disk Size’, ‘Starting Disk Sector’ and ‘# of Outstanding I/Os’. This allows a user to configure a test file upon which the ‘Access Specifications’ configure the I/O types to the file. Configurable items within the Access Specifications are Transfer Request Size, Percent Random/Sequential distribution, Percent Read/Write Distribution, Aligned I/O’s, Reply Size, and TCP/IP status among others.

Fresh Drive

The first IOmeter benchmarks run are the 128K Sequential read and write tests. With 1272.53 MB/s read and 989.76 MB/s write speeds, the HyperX Predator PCIe SSD does more than great here.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-iometer-sequential-read

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-iometer-sequential-write

The second test is a 4K random benchmark where we measure the IOPS the drive can perform. Kingston’s HyperX Predator scored 97.9K IOPS at reading and 69.5K IOPS at writing. Again a very good score for an SATA-based drive.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-iometer-random-read

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-iometer-random-write

Conditioned Drive

After the conditioning of the drive, the 128K Sequential read and write tests still show great speeds with the a result that lands at 1071.95 MB/s read and 922.57 MB/s write speeds.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-iometer-sequential-read

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-iometer-sequential-write

The 4K random benchmark scored better results after the conditioning and we’re seeing the Kingston’s HyperX Predator score 99.0K IOPS at reading and 78.4K IOPS at writing.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-iometer-random-read

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-iometer-random-write

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

PCMark 8


PCMark 8 Storage benchmark is used test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test any recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

Fresh Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Fresh-pcmark

Conditioned Drive

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Bench_Condi-pcmark

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Final Thoughts


Pricing

You won’t have to go far to find the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB SSD, as it is available at almost any reseller. At the time of writing, NewEgg has it listed for $535.44 and Amazon for $503.88. UK readers can find it at Overclockers for £429.98 or at Amazon for £408.61. In Germany, the price starts at €490.44 plus postage at the cheapest shop via Geizhals. The M.2 model alone without the adapter package is a little cheaper and perfect for those who plan to build it directly into their system.

HyperX_Predator_PCIe-Chart-Price

Conclusion

Kingston’s HyperX division is known to create not only great performing solid state drives, but also some of the best looking designs which is a great bonus for modders and people who just want to show off their great hardware. It is no different with their new Predator PCIe SSD that comes with a superb finish and a look that is worth showing off. Kingston used black PCBs all the way around from the PCIe adapter to the M2 modules that is placed upon it. The module itself has large bold Kingston sticker to give it the final touch and hide away the chips underneath.

The drive is powered by a Marvell 88SS9293 controller and paired with Toshiba’s A19nm Toggle NAND. This is a great combination especially when we loosen ourselves from the bonds of the SATA3 interface. Kingston also packed the drive with a gigabyte of their own DDR3 1600MHz memory for caching purposes and to keep up a steady performance under heavy loads. The result is a great performing drive as we’ve seen on the previous pages.

It is far from the cheapest drive on the market, in fact it’s one of the most expensive ones. But you also get a drive that delivers a performance you’ll otherwise only find with four SATA3 drives in RAID and there isn’t a drive that we’ve tested prior that comes in with the same kind of performance.

The drive is AHCI based so it can’t deliver the same amazing performance that the new NVMe drives can do, but in return we get a far better compatibility. The NVMe support is still spotty at best in the consumer market and that is where Kingston’s HyperX Predator hits the sweet spot. A great performing drive that you can use in your desktop or M.2 enabled notebook or SFF system.

Kingston’s Predator PCIe SSD had no trouble living up to its performance rating. We saw sequential speeds up to and over 1500MB/s when reading and 1020MB/s at writing. The drive also did well in the 4K random tests where it easily scored 100K IOPS reading and 90K IOPS writing.

The Kingston SSD Toolbox didn’t recognize the drive in my test system and it isn’t listed as download option either, but I’m sure that’s just a matter of a new version being released.

Pros

  • Top-score performance
  • Good reliability
  • Looks great with black PCB
  • Accessory bundle includes low-profile adapter and Acronis key.
  • Availability

Cons

  • Price

“If you want the fastest SSD drive we’ve tested to date that is compatible with almost any system, then Kingston’s HyperX Predator is just the right match. Unbeatable performance and it also looks great.”

Extreme-Performance

Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Thank you Kingston for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Test Procedure
  3. Aida64
  4. Anvil's Storage Utilities
  5. AS SSD
  6. ATTO
  7. CrystalDiskMark
  8. IOmeter
  9. PCMark 8
  10. Final Thoughts
  11. View All

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