Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB looks nothing like your traditional Serial ATA solid state drive, and this is because it is not your traditional solid state drive. On the other hand, it is no OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB either. Sure, they are both PCI Express cards on the surface, but the nature of the product is fundamentally different. While the OCZ RevoDrive 350 is literally a PCI Express based storage device, the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB is actually an M.2 2280 SSD plugged into on a half-height, half length (HHHL) PCI Express adapter board. If you are not familiar with the M.2 standard, M.2 2280 means it the size of the drive is 22mm by 80mm, hence its numerical designation. The actual SSD can be physically detached from the adapter board, which you can see in the following photo. If you have no need for the adapter board, such as if you have a Z97 motherboard or a compatible laptop, you can go without it for about $10 less at press time. A label on the HyperX Predator M.2 SSD carries miscellaneous information such as its serial number and place of assembly. Like many flash storage solutions we have reviewed in the past, this Kingston drive is made in Taiwan. Removing the label in question will void your three year warranty, but there is no real reason why you need to do that.

Upon closer inspection of the sleek black printed circuit board, it reveals a fairly simple layout. Electrically, the M.2 form factor can interface natively with either SATA or PCIe. The Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB takes the PCI Express route, and uses four lanes for up to 2000MB/s bandwidth. You can see how the adapter board electrically connects to your motherboard by inspecting the traces from the PCIe slot pins to the actual drive. The entire HHHL PCB with a standard bracket spans 180.98mm in length, 120.96mm in width, and 21.59mm in height with a specified weight of 73g. Replace it with the included low profile bracket, and the dimensions reduce to 181.29mm in length, 80.14mm in width, and 23.40mm in height with a specified weight of 68g.

Flipping the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB around, and you will find no components of interest. Since the HHHL adapter board is not just an adapter board by name, but actually an adapter board even by engineering standards, all electronic components we are interested in are located on the detachable M.2 SSD instead. Our photo above shows the 480GB Kingston HyperX Predator module disconnected from the PCB. In order to take it out, simply remove a screw located near the end, and slide it out of the slot. A small adhesive thermal pad sits between the ICs and passive components on the board, which is backed by a soldermask opening with exposed copper. I am not sure how thermally conductive the thermal pad is, I doubt the components in question generate much heat anyway. What I can assure you is the thermal pad is not electrically conductive, because the exposed copper on the HHHL adapter board is also electrically ground. This is pretty standard practice for PCB designers, and you can usually tell by inspection, especially considering the amount of vias going between the layers. Just to verify what I have said, I actually tested it with a multimeter, haha.

At the heart of Kingston's HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB is a Marvell 88SS9293 Altaplus PCIe 2.0 x4 controller. It was a hotly anticipated controller demonstrated at CES 2014, which was well over a year ago. Other than being a native PCI Express solution on the M.2 socket to overcome traditional Serial ATA bandwidth bottlenecks, there is not much else to talk about here from a technical standpoint. On the SSD itself, it is rated at 1.4W average power and 1.38W in idle mode. The maximum read and write operation power consumption is rated at 1.99W and 8.25W, respectively, which is far from being the most efficient, but this is a high performance product after all.

Rated at 1400MB/s read, 1000MB/s write, and up to 130,000 IOPS over PCIe 2.0 x4, these figures are really impressive. It is nearly three times to speed of a regular SATA 6Gb/s drive, and runs just below hardcore internal RAID solutions like the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB. To see how it translates to numbers in our benchmarks, we will pit them against the big boys of this game to see how this new flagship from Kingston steps up against all the popular SSDs from manufacturers like Crucial, OCZ, Patriot, SanDisk, and even Kingston themselves in the next seven pages or so.

A total of eight NAND flash chips are found on the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB solid state disk, with four on each side. The chips used are Toshiba's TH58TEG9DDKBA8H NAND flash memory, with a capacity of 64GB per integrated circuit chip. These are multi-level cells manufactured on the 19nm fabrication process. Its rated write endurance is a whopping 882TB, which equates to roughly 480GB per day for five years. 32GB out of the 512GB total capacity (Just under 7%) is provisioned for the drive controller for overhead, so the actual usable space is 480GB, as advertised. You will see 447GB in Windows. Two Kingston branded D2516EC4BXGGB 512MB DDR3L-1600 chips are present for a total of 1GB; it is used by the Marvell 88SS9293 controller for system memory.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U14S (2x Noctua NF-A15)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
RAM: Kingston HyperX Savage HX324C11SRK2/16 2x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 2GB
Chassis: SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E (Noctua NF-S12A PWM, Noctua NF-P12 PWM)
Storage: SanDisk Extreme II 240GB; OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional

Compared Hardware:
- Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB
- Crucial BX100 500GB
- Crucial MX100 256GB
- G.Skill Phoenix EVO 115GB
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB
- Kingston HyperX 120GB
- Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB
- 2x Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB RAID 0
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB
- OCZ Agility 3 240GB
- OCZ Agility 4 256GB
- OCZ Octane 512GB
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB
- OCZ Vector 150 240GB
- OCZ Vector 180 240GB
- OCZ Vector 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 160GB 25nm
- OCZ Vertex 2 60GB 34nm
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 4 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
- Patriot Blaze 240GB
- Patriot Pyro 120GB
- Patriot Pyro SE 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme II 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB
- SanDisk Ultra II 240GB
- Silicon Power Slim S80 240GB

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
10. Conclusion