Powered by a Phison S10 controller, 256MB of DDR3 cache, and 19nm Toggle-mode NAND Flash, the HyperX Savage is positioned as Kingston’s new high-end consumer SATA SSD.
August 10, 2015 by Lawrence Lee
2.5-inch Solid-state Drive
US$215 (upgrade bundle)
Compared to most solid-state drive manufacturers, Kingston has shown a surprising lack of bias as to what controller goes into their drives. While their competitors usually stick to one or two models, varying the cache and type of NAND used to differentiate their lineups, crack open a random Kingston SSD from their product history, and you might find a controller chip from Intel, Toshiba, JMicron, Marvell, or LSI/SandForce. As Kingston prefers to offer a broad range of devices at varying price/performance points, this strategy allows them to pick and choose the technology suitable for each SKU, so there is some method to this madness.
This year Kingston has turned to yet another company, Phison, to provide the brains for their newest high-end consumer SATA SSD, the HyperX Savage. Phison is not a household name but they have been making NAND Flash products for over a decade, just not on the consumer side of things as their controllers are found mostly in low-cost and OEM drives. Their latest S10 controller is capable of keeping up with the big boys, as it features a quad core processor featuring a new load-balancing system, eight NAND channels, and TLC support. Accompanying the S10 is 19nm Toggle-Mode NAND Flash by Toshiba, but only a most 256MB DDR3-1600 cache. The package is wrapped in an attractive black plastic enclosure with a stunning crimson red metal face plate.
The HyperX Savage is a 7 mm thick drive currently offered in four different capacities (120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB), of which there are two variants, a basic model and an upgrade bundle. Both include an adapter to make the drive the standard 9.5 mm thickness, a bracket for installation in a 3.5 inch bay, and an activation key for Acronis True Image HD to make it easier to upgrade and migrate data. The more premium package with a "B" in the model number (e.g. SHSS37BA/480G) also ships with a basic 2.5 inch USB 3.0 plastic enclosure and a fancy screwdriver to transform your old drive into a mobile external hard drive for an extra US$15.
Kingston HyperX Savage: Specifications
(from the product web page)
|Interface||SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) – with backwards compatibility to SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s)|
|Capacities||120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB|
|Compressible Data Transfer, Read/Write (ATTO)||120GB — 560/360 MB/s|
240GB, 480GB, 960GB — 560/530 MB/s
|Incompressible Data Transfer, Read/Write (AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark)||120GB — 520/350 MB/s|
240GB — 520/510 MB/s
480GB — 520/500 MB/s
960GB — 520/490 MB/s
|IOMETER Maximum Random 4k Read/Write||120GB — up to 100,000/84,000 IOPS |
240GB — up to 100,000/89,000 IOPS
480GB — up to 100,000/88,000 IOPS
960GB — up to 99,000/89,000 IOPS
|Random 4k Read/Write||120GB — up to 93,000/83,000 IOPS|
240GB — up to 93,000/89,000 IOPS
480GB — up to 92,000/89,000 IOPS
960GB — up to 97,000/89,000 IOPS
|PCMARK® Vantage HDD Suite Score||120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB — 84,000|
|PCMARK® 8 Storage Bandwidth||120GB, 240GB, 480GB — 223MB/s|
960GB — 260MB/s
|PCMARK® 8 Storage Score||120GB, 240GB, 480GB — 4,940|
960GB — 4,970
|Anvil Total Score (Incompressible Workload)||120GB, 240GB, 480GB — 4,700|
960GB — 5,000
|Power Consumption||0.39W Idle / 0.5W Avg / 1.4W (MAX) Read / 4.35W (MAX) Write|
|Dimensions||100.0mm x 69.9mm x 7.0mm|
|Weight:||120GB, 240GB, 480GB — 96g|
960GB — 92g
|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)||120GB — 113TB 0.89 DWPD|
240GB — 306TB 1.19 DWPD
480GB — 416TB 0.81 DWPD
960GB — 681TB 0.66 DWPD
Our samples were tested according to our standard
hard drive testing methodology. As of mid-2008, we have been conducting
most acoustics tests in our
own 10~11 dBA anechoic chamber, which results in more accurate, lower SPL
readings than before, especially with sub-20 dBA@1m devices.
Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:
These two types of noise impact the subjective
perception of hard drive noise differently depending on how and where the drive
Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and
subjectively. Airborne acoustics are measured in our anechoic chamber using a lab reference
microphone and computer audio measurement system. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter from the top
of the drive using an A-weighted filter. Vibration noise is rated on a scale
of 1-10 by comparing against our standard reference drives.
As of late-2011, we have been conducting performance testing. A combination of timed real-world tests is used to represent a workload of common activities for a boot drive including loading games, running disk-intensive applications, copying files, and installing programs. Synthetic tests are also run to better judge the performance across the entire span of the drive.
Summary of primary HDD testing tools:
Key Components in LGA1155 Heatsink Test Platform:
Real World Performance Test Tools:
Real World Benchmark Details:
A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments
are relevant to the samples we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There
are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without
Ambient conditions at time of testing were 10.5 dBA and 20~23°C.
We start off with synthetic tests results. They don’t tell the whole story of course, but it’s a quick and dirty way of gauging relative performance between drives, and of course, it’s easily reproducible by our readers at home.
With average sequential transfer speeds of above 300~340 MB/s, the HyperX Savage is squarely in the middle of the pack, though interestingly it’s the only SSD I’ve tested more biased towards writes than reads in this test. Access time are quite low, close to that of the Samsung 840/850 Pro which happen to be our two all-around fastest drives in both synthetic and real world tests.
Random performance too shows stronger results when writing with a ~100 MB/s advantage over reading using a 512K block size. It’s not uncommon to see asymmetric results for SSDs but usually reads are favored over writes. Overall, the results suggest it’s a competent drive with both small and large block sizes.
According to the specifications, the HyperX Savage delivers improved read results when dealing with compressible data but the CrystalDiskMark results with 0/1 fill data was so similar, it’s barely worth mentioning.
Real World Performance
Our real world performance testing begins with a Windows 7 image, loaded with our test suite, being cloned to a 50GB partition
at the beginning of each drive. The suite is run start to finish three times with a defragmentation (except for SSDs and hybrid drives) and reboot
Average times were collected for comparison. For hybrid drives, we perform six runs with only the last three averaged to give it some time to learn and cache frequently used files.
Despite loading both the O/S and Far Cry 2 fairly quickly, it takes about 5 seconds longer loading Call of Duty 5 than most of the SSDs compared. This deficit is sizable enough to make the Savage’s total complete time the worst of the bunch.
In our application tests, the Savage is about on par with the fastest drives, though to be fair, we’re talking about fractions of a second here.
Copying files is one area where the Savage excels, finishing a couple of seconds behind the last two Samsung Pro 256GB drives. Its performance is noticeably better than most of the other drives.
The Kingston drive struggles installing PowerDVD, again bringing down its overall score to the bottom of this series.
To get a sense of the overall performance of the drives, I’ve assigned each model a proportional score in each real world benchmark series (loading, application, file copying, and installation), with each set and each individual test within, equally weighted. The scale has been adjusted with HyperX Savage as the reference point in 100 points. SSDs are depicted in blue and a couple of the faster 3.5 inch hard drives appear on the chart in green to give you an idea of the improvement over mechanical models.
Despite finishing poorly in two of our benchmark series, its superb results in the file copy tests raises the HyperX Savage’s standing up all the way to third place, about 5% slower than the 840 Pro 256GB and 7% slower than the 850 Pro 256GB. Another high capacity drive, the Crucial MX100 512GB trails only slightly, while most of the older SandForce based models lag behind by about 8%.
At just over half a watt, the HyperX Savage uses an average amount of power when idling compared to most SSDs, but during seeking is noticeably more efficient, especially compared to SandForce models. As a laptop hard drive replacement, it’s one of the better choices for increasing battery life, though not by much.
The Kingston HyperX Savage 480GB falls short of the performance levels of the last two generations of Samsung Pro 256GB drives, but edges out Crucial MX100 512GB. In real world tests, the Samsung drives consistently lead the other models we’ve tested, while the Savage is more inconsistent, really only excelling in our file copy test. Synthetic tests also place the Kingston drive a rung or two below, especially in read performance. However, it does offer a sizable improvement over SandForce-based drives like the older HyperX 3K.
Its only real problem is the incredibly competitive consumer SSD market. Currently selling for around US$200, it’s in a difficult position. If you want a performance drive, the Samsung 850 Pro is clearly faster and the 512GB variant can be had for US$40 more, with the difference lowering to US$25 if you factor in the extra 32GB of storage. If you’re looking for a value drive, the successors to the Crucial MX100, the BX100 and MX200, have 512GB variants available for US$165 and US$180 respectively.
Overall, the HyperX Savage 480GB is decent mid-range model that should satisfy most users but would benefit from a little extra speed, size, and/or affordability, to escape the gravity exerted by the behemoths that are Samsung and Crucial.
Many thanks to Kingston Technology for the HyperX Savage 480GB solid-state drive sample.
The Kingston HyperX Savage 480GB is recommended by SPCR
* * *
SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Crucial MX100 512GB & Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSDs
Seagate Enterprise Class v4 6TB Hard Drive
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD
ADATA XPG SX300 128GB & Intel 525 Series 180GB mSATA SSDs
Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD Review
Intel 520 Series 120GB SandForce SSD
* * *