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Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB m.2 PCIe SSD Review

Our Verdict

All things considered we're impressed with Kingston's entry into the PCIe SSD market. The HyperX Predator doesn't hit every mark but successfully fills in enough boxes to make it worthy of consideration. Throughput performance comes out higher than what's possible with SATA based products and the latency is among the best we've ever measured. Just don't use it in a notebook that relies on battery power for long periods of time.

For

  • Accessories • Onboard OROM • Performance

Against

  • Notebook power consumption • Price • Warranty

Introduction

It shouldn't come as a surprise to see Samsung and Intel leading the charge in PCIe SSDs, with innovative products that set the standard for performance and reliability. There is still a lot of room for other companies to introduce new and exciting products, though. Last year, Plextor introduced the M6e and M6e Black Edition native PCIe SSDs, the first retail products in this category. Several other vendors looked at the two-lane PCIe 2.0 controller from Marvell and found that its performance increase wasn't enough to justify the high cost over existing 2.5" SATA products. Marvell's new 88SS9293 is another story. Code-named Altaplus, it doubles the theoretical bandwidth with a four-lane interface and a real world performance ceiling that's twice as fast as SATA.

Marvell first displayed its four-lane PCIe 2.0 Altaplus controller at CES 2014 in a room reserved for customers and media. The first demonstration displayed some basic four-corner performance data, but by Computex in June, Marvell was ready to give us control of the keyboard and mouse to run additional tests. Fast forward another six months to CES 2015, and it looked like Altaplus was ready for prime time. We never did find out why it took a another quarter for this controller to surface. But it's here now.

Kingston is the only company (at the time of writing) with a retail 88SS9293-based product for sale. The HyperX Predator PCIe SSD ships in two capacity sizes and in two trims. The first set of SKUs includes the PCIe adapter card (shown above). For slightly less money, you can choose the Predator without an adapter.

Several motherboard manufacturers dedicated PCIe lanes to on-board M.2 slots. Some took a direct path to the CPU, others put the M.2 slot behind Avago (PLX) PCIe switches and we've seen implementations using the PCH's PCIe 2.0 connectivity. Of course, the fastest route is directly to the CPU, but it is also the least-utilized given an emphasis on reserving 16 lanes for graphics. The Kingston HyperX Predator uses PCIe 2.0, so it can sit comfortably attached to the PCH without the significant performance drop you'd see on a PCIe 3.0-based SSD.

Many enthusiasts are eager to adopt this high-speed storage interconnect. But M.2 SSDs are also gaining acceptance in the notebook space as well. Several new models released this year are compatible with both SATA and PCIe M.2, many shipping without 2.5" drive bays. Sadly, the OEM market has taken PCIe-based M.2 prices to 2010 SSD levels. One company offers a 512GB drive for $700. So, the doors are open for aftermarket upgrades that drastically reduce cost.

  • blackmagnum
    A fast and furious SSD most suited for desktops, but doesn't work well with mobile notebooks? I don't know how Kingston will be able to compete with this product!
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    "After using the software, you simply tell the BIOS to boot from the Kingston SSD and everything works as it should."

    After first disconnecting the old device though, because otherwise Windows won't boot - it assumes the presence of another Win inst with the same ID is suspicious. I'm surprised this isn't mentioned more often when free cloning sw is highlighted in an SSD's accessory package.

    Re pricing, the tiny difference between the M.2 and PCIe versions shows just how much one gets ripped off when buying other types of HBA, given Kingston is happy for the gap to be just $12, though I don't get why the gap is larger for the 480GB when it's the same item that's excluded for the M.2 version.

    Personally, depsite the performance of this device, the small warranty would put me off.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • MxMatrix
    How about adding nvme based Intel 750 400gb SSD to the equation?
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    15881456 said:
    How about adding nvme based Intel 750 400gb SSD to the equation?

    Yes, that and one good standard SATA3 for comparison, preferably the 850 Pro 512GB.

    Btw, is it just me for whom all the thumbnail images in the results galleries are blank?

    Ian.

    Reply
  • milkod2001
    it might be easier for readers to understand if you stick with just numbers instead of millions of colorful lines all over the place.

    it would be nice to have comparison with regular SSD. Is it better than that. I can't tell from this review :(
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    How about adding nvme based Intel 750 400gb SSD to the equation?

    At the time I didn't have the Intel SSD 750 400GB. I do now and the review should come out very soon.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    it might be easier for readers to understand if you stick with just numbers instead of millions of colorful lines all over the place.

    it would be nice to have comparison with regular SSD. Is it better than that. I can't tell from this review :(

    I'm just about finished with an article that puts the SM951-NVMe and SM951 AHCI against an 850 Pro.

    Even without the data to compare in this review we know that the 850 Pro (512GB and 1TB) does roughly 550 MB/s sequential read, a bit over 500 MB/s sequential write, 98K random read IOPS and roughly 90K write IOPS in my testing.

    If you compare equal capacity sizes, nearly every product in this review performs better than 850 Pro.

    I'm up against a hard limit of the number of products I can put in the charts without needing a magnifying glass to look at the data. I'll see about coming up with something a little better for the Best of SSD Monthly column.
    Reply
  • milkod2001
    it might be easier for readers to understand if you stick with just numbers instead of millions of colorful lines all over the place.

    it would be nice to have comparison with regular SSD. Is it better than that. I can't tell from this review :(

    I'm just about finished with an article that puts the SM951-NVMe and SM951 AHCI against an 850 Pro.

    Even without the data to compare in this review we know that the 850 Pro (512GB and 1TB) does roughly 550 MB/s sequential read, a bit over 500 MB/s sequential write, 98K random read IOPS and roughly 90K write IOPS in my testing.

    If you compare equal capacity sizes, nearly every product in this review performs better than 850 Pro.

    I'm up against a hard limit of the number of products I can put in the charts without needing a magnifying glass to look at the data. I'll see about coming up with something a little better for the Best of SSD Monthly column.
    it might be easier for readers to understand if you stick with just numbers instead of millions of colorful lines all over the place.

    it would be nice to have comparison with regular SSD. Is it better than that. I can't tell from this review :(

    I'm just about finished with an article that puts the SM951-NVMe and SM951 AHCI against an 850 Pro.

    Even without the data to compare in this review we know that the 850 Pro (512GB and 1TB) does roughly 550 MB/s sequential read, a bit over 500 MB/s sequential write, 98K random read IOPS and roughly 90K write IOPS in my testing.

    If you compare equal capacity sizes, nearly every product in this review performs better than 850 Pro.

    I'm up against a hard limit of the number of products I can put in the charts without needing a magnifying glass to look at the data. I'll see about coming up with something a little better for the Best of SSD Monthly column.
    it might be easier for readers to understand if you stick with just numbers instead of millions of colorful lines all over the place.

    it would be nice to have comparison with regular SSD. Is it better than that. I can't tell from this review :(

    I'm just about finished with an article that puts the SM951-NVMe and SM951 AHCI against an 850 Pro.

    Even without the data to compare in this review we know that the 850 Pro (512GB and 1TB) does roughly 550 MB/s sequential read, a bit over 500 MB/s sequential write, 98K random read IOPS and roughly 90K write IOPS in my testing.

    If you compare equal capacity sizes, nearly every product in this review performs better than 850 Pro.

    I'm up against a hard limit of the number of products I can put in the charts without needing a magnifying glass to look at the data. I'll see about coming up with something a little better for the Best of SSD Monthly column.

    great thanks, im looking forward to that

    im currently on Sammy 830 and just wanted to know if this product would give me more performance. I wanted to know what difference i will see in boot times, loading applications/games times and basically if it's worth to get PCI SSD over regular SSD in real world applications.

    There's something which is not directly an issue of the review, something what you might want to forward to this site development team though. It's the slider arrows. Probably the biggest ever :) It's OK in this review but in many cases in overlaps important content. There might be an option to pick different styles with smaller arrows,make them visible only when hover over etc. I bit of CSS could easily do miracles :)
    Reply
  • dark_wizzie
    I would LOVE another article with trace-based analysis of game loads to figure out what type of load a game puts on a drive. I can't find a good tool to do it myself.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    Great drive! I'm planning on saving up for the 240GB version (unless better nvme drives come out soon).

    While the power usage is a little high compared to other m.2 drives, this drive is designed specifically for desktops (you can tell from PCIE adapters, to the looks of the drive, and the power consumption) not notebooks.
    Reply