KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE 480GB
£185 inc VAT • kingston.com/en
Kingston Memory has been catering for the general user with its SSDNow drives for several years, providing decent performance with entry-level pricing. But the company also knows how to market to PC gamers and computer enthusiasts with its more racily named silicon memory components. We’ve seen macho names like Ballistix, Predator, Impact and Beast bandied around by Kingston. Now, under the HyperX performance-tuned banner, we have the Savage SSD.
It stands at the top of Kingston’s range of performance SATA storage, although if you have a desktop PC you could also take advantage of the full-size PCIe card Predator drive, boasting up to 1400MB/s read speeds. The Savage though takes the traditional SATA Revision 3.0 connection with its nominal 6Gb/s speeds, in the usual slim 7mm enclosure.
What is less usual, even unique in our testing experience, is the choice of controller in the Savage. This is an S10 controller from Taiwan flash-memory specialist Phison, now infamously known as the maker of USB controller ICs that can be compromised by the BadUSB exploit. The controller here is based on a quad-core ARM processor with eight data channels, with 19nm NAND flash supplied by Toshiba.
To maintain its SSDs Kingston makes its own SSD Toolbox software for Windows, although this only supports its older drives based on SandForce controllers. At time of testing there was no software available for this Phison-based SSD.
The HyperX Savage is available as just a bare drive, or an installation kit with various accessories to help migrate from an existing drive. This includes a portable drive enclosure with USB 3.0 with support for UASP mode in Windows 8 and OS X, SATA cable and screws for desktop PCs, and a screwdriver with interchangeable Philips 00 and 1 cross-head tips.
Where many modern SSDs are simple constructions fashioned from lightweight pressed aluminium, the Savage has a heavier case in matt black metal, with a red and silver design covering its top skin.
It’s far from the most important metric of overall performance, but the HyperX Savage returned the joint highest sequential read speed on our PC test rig, reaching 564MB/s, and nudged into the highest write speed, too, of 543MB/s. It’s here that we can sense the limiting effect of the SATA interface, nominally 6Gb/s (750MB/s) but in effect around 560MB/s in real-world data transfers.
The similar results from CrystalDiskMark with and without compressible data showed the Phison controller is not using any data-reduction techniques, both tests returning results of around 490MB/s (read) and 480MB/s (write).
At the high 32-thread queue depth, we saw random 4kB reads at 358MB/s and random writes at 370MB/s, translating into good overall IOPS figures of 91,600 and 94,800 IOPS respectively. Turning to AS SSD and its version of the test with 64 threads, the Kingston showed a stronger bias toward read performance as it just nudged the 100,000 IOPS figure, while random writes fell slightly to 83,400 IOPS. The AS SSD benchmark gave this drive an overall nominal score of 1140 points, just behind the leading Samsung 850 PRO drive. VERDICT: The HyperX Savage turned in a solid performance among the leaders of the pack, and the flashy looks may appeal to those wishing to pimp up their rig. Its overall performance is just behind best from Samsung and SanDisk, and with a price that exceeds these drives, it just loses out on any overall recommendation.