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Kingston HyperX Savage EXO Review: Fast Flash In A Slim Package

Our Verdict

The HyperX Savage EXO isn't quite the savage HyperX makes it out to be, but its strong read performance and fairly competitive pricing makes it an excellent game drive for PC and console gamers. The killer looks are a big plus, too.

For

  • Edgy aesthetics with a slim & lightweight profile
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface
  • Sequential read performance
  • Both USB Type A and Type C cables included

Against

  • Poor real-world file write performance

But Is It Really Savage?

Today, we take a look at Kingston’s latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 external SSD. The HyperX Savage EXO delivers up to 500/480 MB/s of sequential read/write throughput to help expedite your file transfers and game load times, and the edgy design looks good while it's doing it. Perhaps most importantly, it's compatible with game consoles like the Xbox One and PS4. But the specifications only paint part of the performance picture. Poor real-world write performance taints our outlook on this new external, although competitive pricing helps offset some of the drive's shortcomings.

High-speed Thunderbolt 3 NVMe external SSDs are coming to market, like the Samsung X5 and Patriot Evlvr we just reviewed. That makes it easy to overlook the other mainstream drives, but new external SSDs with the latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface are making their way to market with exceptional performance for the size and price.

The HyperX team has expanded its product lines greatly since their launch all the way back in 2002. Today, HyperX delivers gamer-focused products, like gaming headsets, keyboards, mouse pads, mice, and obviously RAM and storage products, that the company says offer the best quality and reliability available.

We just had to take a look for ourselves when we got wind of a new high-performance external SSD using the latest USB interface at CES 2018. Nearly ten months later, we finally have the chance. Unlike the new Thunderbolt 3 devices, the Savage EXO isn't designed only for traditional PC gamers that want fast flash storage – console gamers can take advantage of its flash goodness, too.

HyperX designed the Savage EXO for a range of applications, including expanding the storage of a game console and speeding gaming installs. The company also claims the drive will help “deliver 20% faster load times” than an HDD for a more fluid gaming experience, but that speed does come with a significant price premium over much cheaper and more capacious HDDs.

Specifications

ProductSavage EXO 480GBSavage EXO 960GB
Pricing$127.99$249.99
Capacity (User / Raw)480GB / 512GB960GB / 1024GB
Form Factor123.82 x 48.61 x 10.24mm123.82 x 48.61 x 10.24mm
Interface / ProtocolUSB 3.1 Gen 2 Type CUSB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C
Controller??
DRAM??
MemoryBiCS3 64L TLCBiCS3 64L TLC
Sequential Read500 MB/s500 MB/s
Sequential Write480 MB/s480 MB/s
EncryptionN/AN/A
EnduranceN/AN/A
Part NumberSHSX100/480GSHSX100/960G
Warranty3-Years3-Years

HyperX’s Savage EXO delivers up to 500/480 MB/s of sequential read/write throughput over its USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface. The SSDs are currently available in 480GB and 960GB capacities at prices of $127.99 and $249.99, respectively. Like many external SSDs, the Savage EXO does not have an endurance restriction that limits the three-year warranty. It also comes with free technical support over the warranty period.

HyperX rates the drive with a maximum power draw up to 4.5W. That shouldn’t be a problem for most USB 3.0 ports, but the power consumption is at the specification’s maximum limit.

In addition to game console compatibility, drive support starts at Windows 7 (SP1), Mac OS X 10.9, and Linux 2.6x (and newer versions). For testing, we formatted the drive with NTFS to take advantage of TRIM in our Windows test environment. TRIM keeps performance snappy even after extended use and works flawlessly with the drive.

Closer Look

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The Savage EXO has a single USB Type C port. The white indicator light shows when the device is active. Kingston includes two one-foot USB cables and a HyperX sticker in the box. One of the included cables is USB Type C to C, and the other is USB Type C to A. 

The drive measures 123.82 x 48.61 x 10.24mm and weighs in at just 56 grams, making it a very small and lightweight external. We couldn’t pry open the case to get the controller information without destroying the drive, but we know the internal SSD uses Toshiba's BiCS3 64-layer TLC flash.

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