Solid State Drives continue to be one of the more sought after (and effective) upgrades for both desktop and mobile systems. But as drives have matured, and newer generations have been released, the bandwidth limitations of the legacy SATA
interface have become increasingly more apparent. Even relatively affordable, mainstream solid state drives are bumping into the SATA bandwidth limit right alongside more expensive flagship drives, which makes it difficult to differentiate between them based on performance alone.
The answer to eliminating the bandwidth limitations of the SATA interface is PCI Express. The latest high-end solid state drives connect to a system using the PCI Express interface, which can offer up much more bandwidth than SATA in the right configuration—GB/s versus MB/s. One of the first true PCI Express solid state drives to arrive is the Kingston
HyperX Predator we’ll be showing you here today. While we’ve covered a number of drives that connect to a system via PCIe in the past, most of them weren’t true PCIe devices, but rather bridged multiple SATA-based controllers to PCIe. There have been exceptions, of course, but most of them were targeted at the enterprise, and commanded big bucks, save for the recently released Intel SSD 750 we showed you here
. Like the Intel drive, the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe SSD is targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts and is much more attainable than enterprise-class offerings. Take a look...
Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe x 4 M.2 SSD
Specifications & Features
|Form factor: M.2 2280|
Interface: PCIe Gen 2.0 x4
Capacities: 240GB, 480GB
Controller: Marvell 88SS9293
1.38W Idle / 1.4W Avg
1.99W (MAX) Read / 8.25W (MAX) Write
Storage temperatures: -40°C~85°C
Operating temperatures: 0°C~70°C
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)
Vibration operating: 2.17G Peak (7–800Hz)
Vibration non-operating: 20G Peak (10–2000Hz)
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
Find The Kingston HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD @ Amazon.Com
The Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe SSD is currently available in a couple of capacities and from factors. To be more specific, there are two drive capacities available—240GB and 480GB—and all of the drives adhere to the 80mm M.2 2280 “gumstick” form factor and have PCIe 2.0 x4 connections, but kits are sold both with and without a half-height, half-length adapter card (a 960GB drive is also planned, but is not listed on Kingston’s site just yet). We should note, however, that the Predator PCIe SSD does not make use of NVMe. If you’re unfamiliar, NVMe, or Non-Volatile Memory Express, is a low-latency, scalable host controller interface designed specifically for PCI Express-based solid state drives. It offers a number enhancements over legacy interfaces, like support for parallel operations and support for up to 64K commands within a single I/O queue to the drive. NVMe also offers many enterprise-targeted features like end-to-end parity data protection, enhanced error reporting, and virtualization, among other things. The Kingston HyperX Predator benefits from the bandwidth of PCI Express, but not the efficiency and latency advantages inherent with NVMe.
At the heart of the Kingston HyperX Predator in Marvel’s latest Marvell
88SS9293 controller. The Marvell 88SS9293 is paired to a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND. The drives are rated for read speeds up to 1.4GB/s and writes of 1GB/s and random 4K IOPS north of 130 – 160K. The 480GB drive you see pictured here is packing a total of 512GB of NAND—the additional capacity if used for over-provisioning and maintenance related operations.
Kingston rates the endurance of the drives at up to 415TB / 1.6 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) for the 240GB model and up to 882TB / 1.7 DWPD for the 480GB model. The MTBF is 1 million hours and the drive carry a three-year warranty.
The Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe SSD can connect to system via an appropriate M.2 slot, but as we’ve mentioned, Kingston also offers kits with a half-height, half-length adapter card. The card is relatively simple and does little more than bridge the physical M.2 connection to a PCI Express x4 card edge, for insertion into a slot. The PCB itself is a rich, black color, with gold accents, which should look right at home in an enthusiast system. There are no heatsinks or lighting to speak of, though there is a thermal pad sandwiched between the gumstick and the PCB to help wick heat away from some of the components on the drive.
Included with the drive itself (and adapter card, if you pick up a kit) is a HyperX decal, some basic documentation, and a key for the excellent Acronis True Image software package, which can be used to transfer data from one drive to another, should you want to migrate from an existing installation to the Predator PCIe SSD. Kits that include the adapter card also come with full and half height case brackets.