Although Kingston hasn't made as big of a name for itself in the high-end SSD market as Intel and OCZ have, the company has remained highly competitive by focusing on the budget segment. Although its oft-used Toshiba controllers have modest read and write speeds of around 200MB/s, the Kingston SSDNow V+ range delivers surprisingly strong and affordable performance. On that particular drive Windows 7 boot times are surprisingly fast, plus the low power consumption means you should get a little more life out of mobile devices.
While Kingston has been content with Toshiba's controllers, it seems like everyone else jumped aboard the SandForce express. The SandForce SF-1200 (1222) controller was a big hit, with the shortlist of SSDs using it includes the ADATA S599, Corsair Force, G.Skill Phoenix, Mushkin Callisto, OCZ Vertex 2, Super Talent FT, Patriot Inferno, and Team Group Xtreem-S1. There were many others, but you get the point.
Furthermore, manufacturers didn't stop at a single SF-1200-based SSD. For example, OCZ released numerous iterations with the same SandForce chip, including the Vertex 2, Agility 2, Onyx 2 and RevoDrive. Having accumulated such a following, SandForce didn't hesitate to deliver its next series of flash drive controllers.
First demonstrated by OCZ's Vertex 3, the new SandForce SF-2200 (SF-2281) controller offers incredible read and write performance of over 500MB/s. Unfortunately, Toshiba has yet to produce a competing solution, so Kingston has adhered to the old adage "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Kingston's new HyperX SSD range comes four months after we reviewed Vertex 3, so it might seem like the company is a bit tardy. However, its late arrival could prove beneficial when you consider the firmware issues others have been experiencing.
Firmware is a major contributor to the speed of SSDs and this has been a big selling point of the OCZ drives, as well as Intel's. That said, OCZ has had a fair amount of trouble with the second-gen SandForce controllers, as users report various errors including BSODs when running Windows. While OCZ and other SandForce partners who released early SF-2281 products have been working hard to correct these issues, it certainly makes you question their reliability. Corsair even had to recall a faulty batch of their Force SSDs.
By sitting on the sidelines, Kingston has been afforded the luxury of refining its firmware. The company says it's spent time ironing out the bugs in order to bring a stable and high performing product to market. It also claims that the HyperX range has undergone extended rigorous testing and qualifications. With that in mind, it's only fair to believe Kingston's latest addition will be a rock solid representation of the SandForce SF-2200 controller. Let's press on here and see if the HyperX can live up to that expectation.