Consumers who demand the absolute best performance from their PCs have a wide range of high-speed solid state drives (SSDs) from which to choose today. Kingston’s HyperX line of performance SSDs has been a staple of the PC gaming industry for years, but you don’t have to be a gamer to recognize the value of a blazing fast storage drive. The 2.5-inch Kingston HyperX Savage SSD isn’t the newest storage solutions on the market, but this drive offers significant speed boosts over traditional hard drives in an easy-to-use kit. Likewise, you can upgrade the low-capacity budget SSDs in your current laptop to a higher capacity drive. We took a closer look at the 480 GB HyperX Savage to see if it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
Simplified Way to Replace Your Hard Drive
If your current laptop uses a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) then one way to speed up your PC is to swap out that old spinning platter for a 2.5-inch SSD. Modern SSDs will read and write data at roughly four or five times the speed of a traditional HDD over the same SATA interface. Kingston makes life a little easier for notebook users who want to replace their old drive by including everything you need to perform a DIY upgrade inside the box for the HyperX Savage. Beneath the SSD you’ll find a screwdriver, an external USB enclosure for your old hard drive, and a software key to download and install Acronis True Image to clone your old drive directly onto the HyperX Savage.
We typically recommend that users install a new copy of Windows whenever installing a new boot drive because your old drive might have drivers installed that interfere with the new SSD, but the Acronis cloning software works extremely well and it saves you from the trouble of reinstalling all your software from scratch and resetting all your passwords.
Kingston selected the Phison PS3110-S10 controller and Toshiba A19 MLC Flash for the HyperX Savage to push the limits of the SATA interface as much as possible and deliver maximum read and write speeds that are about as good as you can get from any drive limited to 6 Gb/s.
Kingston HyperX Savage SSD (480 GB) Specifications
- Form factor: 2.5″
- Interface: SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) – with backwards compatibility to SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s)
- Controller: Phison PS3110-S10
- Power Consumption: 0.39W Idle / 0.5W Avg / 1.4W (MAX) Read / 4.35W (MAX) Write
- Operating temperature: 0°C~70°C
- Dimensions: 100.0mm x 69.9mm x 7.0mm
- Weight: 96g
- 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
- Advertised Compressible Data Transfer (ATTO): 560MB/s Read and 530MB/s Write
- Advertised Incompressible Data Transfer (AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark): 520MB/s Read and 500MB/s Write
- Advertised IOMETER Maximum Random 4k Read/Write: up to 100,000/ up to 88,000 IOPS
- Advertised Random 4k Read/Write: up to 92,000/ up to 89,000 IOPS
- Advertised PCMARK 8 Storage Bandwidth: 223MB/s
- Advertised PCMARK 8 Storage Score: 4,940
Performance Benchmarks and Comparisons
If you’re planning to replace a slow hard drive with a solid state drive you can rest easy knowing that you will immediately notice your notebook does almost everything faster. Unfortunately, the performance benefit for those replacing a low-capacity SSD with a higher-capacity SSD isn’t nearly as easy to guarantee. The jump from a storage drive that reads data at 100 MB/s to a SSD with a read speed of 540 MB/s is a much more obvious speed increase than the jump from a budget SSD that reads to 480 MB/s to a new SSD that reads at 540 MB/s. If your laptop already has a solid state drive then you probably don’t want to spend the money to upgrade the drive unless you’re also getting a drive with a larger capacity.
We compared the 480GB Kingston HyperX Savage against other 2.5-inch SATA drives; the 240 GB PNY CS2211 (Phison PS3110-S10-X controller) and 500 GB Crucial MX200 (Marvell 88SS9189 controller). We also used two different notebooks as test rigs for our benchmarks and performance comparisons; the ASUS ROG G750JX and the Alienware 17. We selected older gaming notebooks as our test rigs because these are the kind of notebooks that are likely candidates for upgrades with aftermarket 2.5-inch SATA SSDs.
The Savage repeatedly delivered faster random read and write speeds than either the PNY CS2211 or the Crucial MX200 but all three drives are similarly speedy when it comes to sequential read and write speeds. All three drives produced storage bandwidth and latency numbers so close they proved to be indistinguishable in real-world use. We timed each drive during level loading in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and Call of Duty: Black Ops III and all three drives loaded each level within less than 1 second of each other. We also timed how long it took each drive to complete a series of actions and filters in Adobe Photoshop; all three of these 2.5-inch SATA SSDs performed the batch of edits in Photoshop within 0.5-2 seconds of each other.
The only possible Achilles Heel for the HyperX Savage when compared to other 2.5-inch SSDs is its cost per gigabyte. At the time of this writing the retail price of the 480 GB HyperX Savage is around $160 and that’s the same price as the 500 GB Crucial MX200. That said, Kingston isn’t too far off the mark given that the 480 GB PNY CS2211 costs $170.
The 480GB Kingston HyperX Savage is a reasonably impressive option for adding a high-capacity SSD to your current notebook but doesn’t offer any clear performance advantages over the direct competition. This drive is certainly faster than a traditional hard drive, and the Savage is faster than older generation SSDs (particularly ones that have a SandForce-based controller). If your laptop is a few years old and is stuck with the original 64 GB or 128 GB SSD, then this is a clear improvement.
Unfortunately, the HyperX Savage is a victim of both the sizable amount of competition in the consumer SSD aftermarket and the latest changes to notebook technology. Two things motivate consumers to purchase SSDs: significant boosts to performance and the price per gigabyte of storage. Standard 2.5-inch SSDs have essentially hit the limit of the SATA3 interface and can’t do anything to deliver dramatically faster speeds. That’s why desktops and notebooks are moving to M.2 NVMe SSDs that have the bandwidth for 4-5 times faster read and write speeds compared to a SATA-based SSD like the HyperX Savage.
While the Savage is stuck behind the barrier of the SATA3 interface it’s also stuck in the middle of a competitive market where consumers want as much storage capacity as they can get for as little money as possible. Consumers aren’t going to purchase the 480 GB HyperX Savage if they can purchase a 500 GB SSD with similar performance for less.
That pretty much sums up what you need to know about the Kingston HyperX Savage. This drive is a good upgrade for older laptops with slow hard drives or a low-capacity SSD, and the box contains everything a consumer needs for a DIY upgrade. If you can find this SSD on sale it’s a good purchase … just be aware that the competition is equally impressive, so be sure to shop around for the best deal.
- Significantly faster than a HDD
- Retail box includes everything you need to replace your old drive
- Cost per GB is more expensive than some, cheaper than others
- Performance not better than direct competition