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Tom's Hardware's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2, Last-Minute Luxury

Flash Drive: Kingston HyperX 128 GB USB 3.0 Drive
By: Tony Celeste

The Kingston HyperX 128 GB flash drive enters the market this holiday season with a set of very impressive credentials. After all, it's a 128 GB SSD with a Toshiba HG2 controller in a durable aluminum shell, armed with 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 connectivity. Don't have a USB 3.0-enabled machine? No worries, the drive is compatible with USB 2.0 as well. But trust us on this one; you'll get much more of a kick from Kingston's creation if you're capitalizing on its USB 3.0 interface.

Kingston’s HyperX flash drive has been tested with a sequential read speed of up to 195MB per second, and a sequential write speed of up to 160MB per second.  Of course, benchmarking total read/write speeds isn’t always the best measurement of a drive’s capabilities, so Kingston also ran tests using real life file transfer scenarios. These results were equally impressive.

Care for an idea of how fast USB 3.0 can really go? A 10 GB video file, moved from a PC to the drive, transferred in just 1:12. Compare that to to 5:52 using USB 2.0. A set of 475 MP3 files transferred in 20 seconds on the USB 3.0 port, versus 1:16 over USB 2.0. And 4 GB of TIFF and JPG images transferred in 55 seconds using USB 3.0 compared to 2:37 seconds using USB 2.0. 

Since the Kingston HyperX has no moving parts, it's also completely silent. Although the flash memory and Toshiba controller inside still heat up, Kingston's attractive aluminum housing helps dissipate the heat effectively. You have to appreciate the lack of moving parts. That's part of what makes solid state storage so robust in a mobile application, and one of the attributes you give up in making the switching an external drive based on mechanical storage. In fact, before writing this gift guide entry, we played a quick game of Hot Potato with the HyperX drive, just to prove that it'd live to see another day. A lamp in the office was lost, but Kingston's offering transfers on. We also have to like the fact that this drive gets all of its power from the USB 3.0 connector. After owning enough products that require two separate cords (requiring extra babysitting when you take them anywhere) or daisy-chained USB 2.0 plugs just to get enough juice, we certainly appreciate the simplicity here.

The Kingston HyperX is compatible with Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista (SP1 and SP2), Windows 7, and Mac OS X (note that at the moment, Macs only support USB 2.0). Of course, the drive operates using native Windows or Mac drivers, so there’s nothing to install, providing true plug and play functionality.

A drive like Kingston's HyperX 128 GB flash drive isn't just a good give for power users. After all, almost everyone has some form of storage on them nowadays. Your mom or dad might not be able to fully comprehend what an SSD is, how fast USB 3.0 might be, or that you just dropped nearly $300 on 128 GB of storage. However, they do know what is means to fill up a dinky thumb drive, they know what it means to sit there waiting forever to transfer movies and music, and they'll know that this little drive solves all of that. 

The Kingston HyperX may not yet be available at your preferred etailer or retailer, but Kingston tells us that the drive should be available starting December 20th.