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We’re finally beginning to see more manufacturers bring M.2 SSDs to market, and Kingston HyperX now has SATA and PCIe interface units available. The SATA interface M.2 SSDs offer similar performance to the standard 2.5″ design we’ve been using for some time now, but with the advantage of much smaller space requirements. Of course, the most intriguing M.2 interface is PCIe, which promises wicked speeds over and above 1000 MB/s. Kingston sent over one of their new HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe x4 SSDs so we can see for ourselves what these drives are capable of. Let’s get started and see what Kingston has in store with this new offering.
Specifications and Features
The HyperX Predator PCIe M.2 SSD comes in capacities of 240 and 480 GB and can be purchased with or without the Half-Height, Half-Length (HHHL) PCIe expansion card. To power the drive, Kingston chose the Marvell 88SS9293 controller, which was first revealed over a year ago at CES 2014. Both capacity drives are said to reach up to 1400 MB/s read, but the write speeds vary quite a bit between the two capacities, depending on the benchmark. The unit is backed by a 3-year warranty, which includes free technical support.
|Kingston HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe G2 x4 SSD Specifications|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCIe Gen 2.0 x 4|
|Compressible Data (ATTO)||240GB – 1400MB/s Read and 600MB/s Write|
480GB – 1400MB/s Read and 1000MB/s Write
|Incompressible Data (ASSSD/CDM)||240GB – 1290MB/s Read and 600MB/s Write|
480GB – 1100MB/s Read and 910MB/s Write
|IOMETER Random 4k R/W||240GB – up to 120,000/ up to 78,000 IOPS|
480GB – up to 117,000/ up to 70,000 IOPS
|Anvil Total Score (Incompressible)||240GB – 6,500|
480GB – 6,700
|Power Consumption||1.38W Idle / 1.4W Avg / 1.99W (MAX) Read / 8.25W (MAX) Write|
|Dimensions||80mm x 22mm x 3.5mm (M.2)|
180.98mm x 120.96mm x 21.59mm (with HHHL adapter – standard bracket)
181.29mm x 80.14mm x 23.40mm (with HHHL adapter – low-profile bracket)
73g (with HHHL adapter – standard bracket)
68g (with HHHL adapter – low-profile bracket)
|Life Expectancy||1 Million Hours MTBF|
|Warranty/Support||3-year Warranty with Free Technical Support|
|Total Bytes Written (TBW)||240GB: 415TB 1.6 DWPD|
480GB: 882TB 1.7 DWPD
Most of the features are noted in the specifications table above, but Kingston did provide a couple in-house test results that clearly show the massive performance benefits this drive has over a SATA 6 GB/s SSD. We’ll find out for ourselves when we run our own benchmarks.
Before we have a close look at the product itself, here is what Kingston HyperX has to say about the Predator M.2 PCIe x4 SSD.
Ferocious performance for serious users.
HyperX® Predator SSD offers large capacities and incredible speeds with both compressible and incompressible data to take your system to the edge. Faster than SATA-based SSDs, it delivers speeds up to 1400MB/s read and 1000MB/s write for ultra-responsive multitasking and an overall faster system. It features a PCIe Gen 2.0 x4 interface for high performance and an M.2 form factor to fit the next generation of desktops with an M.2 PCIe slot. A Half-Height, Half-Length (HHHL) adapter that works with many existing motherboards with at least a PCIe x4 slot open is available. The HHHL adapter comes with both standard and low-profile brackets to fit in slim profile desktop builds. Prey on the competition for years to come. HyperX Predator SSD comes with a three-year warranty and free technical support to keep you winning.
As you can see by looking at the box top, the unit we were provided comes with the PCIe expansion card. The box top provides a nice picture of the unit, the model, capacity, and other branding. At the bottom of the box, you’ll find a multilingual marketing blurb, another picture of the unit, and the box contents. The box sides have additional HyperX branding and mentions the 3-year warranty and free technical support.
Once the box is opened, there is a HyperX sticker, a getting started guide, and an Acronis True Image HD activation key. Acronis True Image is a great application for cloning your existing operating system to a new drive, and it’s a nice value add to the package. Under the first layer, you’ll find the SSD installed in the PCIe expansion card and sitting in a protective foam bed. Kingston also includes a low profile bracket in case you need it for smaller profile systems.
With the PCIe expansion card removed from the box, you can see the drive is easily removable from the expansion card by removing one screw. The beauty of the PCIe expansion card is that you can use the SSD on a motherboard that does not have a M.2 port. If you have a motherboard without a M.2 port and upgrade later to one that does, you can simply remove the SSD from the PCIe expansion card and utilize the M.2 port instead.
Looking at the SSD a little closer, we can see that Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND is used. Kingston uses a pair of their own 512 MB low voltage DDR3 1600 (1 GB total) for cache memory. We can also see Marvell’s PCIe 88SS9293 controller, which is probably going to be the most used controller as more of these PCIe M.2 drives come to market.
Testing and Benchmarks
Here are the components used in the SSD test bed.
|Test System Components|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VII Formula|
|CPU||Intel i7 4790K Devil’s Canyon|
|Memory||G.SKill TridentX DD3-2400 MHz 2x8GB @ 1866 MHz 9-9-9-24|
|SSD||Various (See Comparison List)|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1050 Professional Series|
|Video Card||EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified|
|Cooling||EKWB Supremacy EVO Water Block – 360 mm Radiator – MCP35X Pump|
We’ll test the HyperX Predator using a PCIe slot on our motherboard and compare it to a few different drives. On tap for comparison is the Visiontek Fusion PCIe SSD, and the recently reviewed ADATA Premier Pro SATA 6GB/s M.2, Patriot Ignite 480 GB, and Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB. All of the review samples we tested on Z97/Z87 chipset motherboards, and where applicable, hooked to an Intel SATA Port.
Each SSD was Secure Erased (SE) before each and every benchmark run, which ensures we get the best results possible for each test run. Here are the benchmarks we run with a brief description.
- Crystal Disk Mark – Run at Default Settings (5 Pass)
- AS SSD – Run at Default Settings
- ATTO – Run at Default Setting with QD Set to 10
- IoMeter 2010 – Ran Manually, aligned, and QD32 for the 4K Tests
It’s not really a fair fight to pit SATA 6 GB/s SSDs against the HyperX Predator, but it does give you a good idea of performance gains between the PCIe and SATA interfaces. For the most part, what you’ll see throughout the testing is the HyperX Predator substantially ahead of all the other comparison samples, even the PCIe based Visiontek Fusion. The HyperX Predator did have difficulty in a few of the 4K tests and didn’t finish on top of a lot of those results.
The CrystalDiskMark (CDM) results show almost exactly what we described above. The HyperX Predator dominated all the tests here, except for the 4K read and write tests.
AS SSD shows an almost identical pattern as CDM during the read and write tests. When we examine the access times, we see the HyperX predator falling just a tad behind the Patriot Ignite and Samsung 850 Pro. The scoring portion of AS SSD was a sweep for the HyperX Predator with an impressive total score of 1562.
The IOMeter 2MB read and write tests show the HyperX Predator dominating these tests and reaching its advertised speeds. The 4K testing held true to what we saw above with the read test favoring the HyperX Predator, but it struggled a bit in the 4K write test. The 4K IOPS advertised speeds are 70K write and 117K read, which is almost exactly what the test result shows. They also claim much higher burst IOPS, but we perform sustained tests lasting several minutes.
ATTO is the go-to benchmark for manufacturers to base their speed claims from. The HyperX Predator had no problem reaching advertised speeds once the test got around to the higher data sizes. Down at the 1K and 4K testing, the HyperX Predator again fell behind the Patriot Ignite and Samsung 850 Pro.
The Anvil Storage Benchmark came close to the advertised 6700 score, but the 6501.51 score we got is within the margin of error. We used the 100% compression option here, which could explain the score being a tad lower than advertised. Still a great score though!
Overall, the HyperX Predator is the fastest SSD we’ve come across to date. If this is just the beginning of what PCIe M.2 SSDs are going to bring PC enthusiasts, we’re excited to see what the future holds. Any way you look at it, up to 1400 MB/s read and 1000 MB/s write is quite an accomplishment. Kudos to Kingston HyperX for getting the Predator to market as we know a lot of people have been anxious to get their hands on a device like this.
So, the burning question is how much are these HyperX Predator drives going to cost. The short answer is you can expect to pay right around $1 per GB. Kingston informed us of the street price for all four SKUs, which are available at Rakuten.com.
|HyperX Predator||Description||Street Price|
|SHPM2280P2/240G||240GB HyperX Predator PCIe G2 x4 (M.2)||$230.74|
|SHPM2280P2/480G||480GB HyperX Predator PCIe G2 x4 (M.2)||$458.74|
|SHPM2280P2H/240G||240GB HyperX Predator PCIe G2 x4 (HHHL)||$241.74|
|SHPM2280P2H/480G||240GB HyperX Predator PCIe G2 x4 (HHHL)||$469.74|
Availability at places like Amazon and Newegg should happen rather quickly, but the prices will probably be similar to what you see above. Considering there isn’t any competitor offerings on the market as of yet, the price is about right. As you can see, there is only a small premium to pay for the units that come with the HHHL expansion card. Because of that, it might be worth grabbing one that comes with the HHHL expansion card just to have around.
In the end, we have a great performing PCIe M.2 SSD in the HyperX Predator that will appeal to the PC enthusiast. It’s a wicked fast drive that’s definitely worth considering if you’ve been looking for a PCIe based SSD to add to your system.
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