Review: Kingston HyperX 64GB DataTraveller USB3.0

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Kingston reserves the HyperX brand for its top performing products and this stylish if a little chunky USB stick is no exception. Chunky is of course relative when you consider this is a 64GB pen drive – a capacity you would have had to go for a full size external drive for only a few year’s back.

Conforming to the USB 3.0 standard this little beast will also work on USB2 and when plugged into a USB2 port is simply maxes out that bus’s  data transfer performance peaking in our tests at 32 MB per second – actually higher than the quoted 30. Simply put I don’t think you will find a flash drive which will perform better on a USB2 port.

Of course that isn’t the end of it as once it is plugged into a USB3 port it simply sparkles. It actually became quite difficult for us to test as it simply outstripped the capacity of most of our source devices to send and particularly receive data. To really put it through its paces you would need one of the recent high quality SSD’s as a  receptor/source.

One caveat here USB3.0 does seem to be in it’s infancy and we found that different ports and drivers gave disturbingly different results (one port we tested only gave 25% read performance of another until we updated the driver) – although all still way faster than USB2 – it is certainly worth updating your drivers if the performance is not approaching the quoted speeds.

Kingston quote 225 MB per second Read and 135 MB per second write and we do not doubt these claims although our real world tests varied from 150 to 215 MB per second read and 80 to 120 MB per second write we think this was down to the limitations of the hardware we connected the DataTraveller to and not the device itself – Others (http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/12/26/review-kingston-datatraveler-hyperx-64gb-usb-30-drive-a-veritable-pocket-ssd.aspx?pageid=0) have managed to test under lab conditions and obtained higher than the claimed speeds.  Having said that we don’t test under Lab conditions as we want to see how things will really work when used by you and  we would have to say that even our real-world figures are pretty exceptional. Simply put if you are copying from a normal hard disk to one of these drives with a decent USB3.0 port the actual copying time going to be limited by how long it takes to copy off your hard drive not this USB stick.

One very interesting test I tried was to use the Data Traveller as a boot drive for my Media Center (replacing an OCZ 60GB SSD). Obviously boot times do vary but over ten boots the Kingston averaged a second quicker booting than the (admittedly early generation) OCZ. (It should be noted I had to use a UEFI enabled motherboard and enable USB3.0 legacy mode to even get the USB3 drive to boot – not a Kingston issue but shows how limited USB3 support really is at the moment)

One final thought is that using ReadyBoost in Windows 7 with this device has a great deal of potential.

Overall this is a great little device which lives up to the HyperX brand  it may cost – I have seen the 64GB version for sale at around 90 pounds so not the cheapest – but if you think of where SSD prices are not out of this world. I think I have seen the dawn of a brave new world – let us hope the ports and drivers catch up.

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