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Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator 512GB USB 3.0 hands on

24 Jan 2013

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 512GB USB flash drive

Kingston Technology's DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 is not only the highest capacity USB memory stick we have ever seen, but the firm also claims it is the fastest of its type available.

However, with a recommended price of £595, potential buyers will need a compelling reason for buying 512GB of flash storage in a pocket-size format that could potentially be easily misplaced.

As announced earlier this month, Kingston will deliver a version capable of storing up to 1TB sometime later this quarter, though pricing for that one has yet to be disclosed.

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator USB 3.0

As its name suggests, the DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 is a USB 3.0 device, compatible with the USB 3.0 or "SuperSpeed USB" specifications that support data transmission speeds of up to 5Gbit/s, making it 10 times faster than USB 2.0.

In practice, the raw throughput of a USB 3.0 link is a maximum 4Gbit/s, which equates to about 400MB/s when transferring files.

To achieve anything like this, users need to have both a USB device and computer that supports USB 3.0 ports integrated onto the motherboard. However, you can still plug a USB 3.0 memory stick such as the HyperX Predator 3.0 into a USB 2.0 port, or conversely use a USB 2.0 memory stick in a USB 3.0 port - you will just be limited to USB 2.0 speed.

Kingston lists the HyperX Predator 3.0 as having a read speed of up to 240MB/s and a write speed of up to 160MB/s.

In our tests, the device actually exceeded this, achieving a read speed of 274.2MB/s and a write speed of 165.2MB/s under the freely available CrystalDiskMark benchmark tool.

In comparison, a standard USB 2.0 memory stick transferred data at a read speed of just 19.2MB/s and a write speed of 8.3MB/s, making the Kingston drive over 10 times faster.

The device itself is quite chunky and heavy when compared to a standard USB memory stick, possibly to make sure you won't forget you are carrying it around.

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 compared with USB stick

In fact, it is so bulky that we had to raise our test system - Dell's XPS 12 ultrabook - off the surface of the desk in order to connect the HyperX Predator 3.0 to one of the USB ports on its side. This is obviously a problem Kingston has encountered during its own tests, as the drive comes with a short USB extension cable included.

Our review sample was delivered in a case resembling a tobacco tin, alongside the USB extension cable and a key fob. The latter is presumably to enable you to attach the pricey HyperX Predator 3.0 securely to your belt while carrying it around.

What would you want with a 512GB memory stick? Well, this capacity is larger than that of most hard drives, if your computer is more than a year or two old, so the HyperX Predator 3.0 could be used as a backup drive.

Another potential use is to boost your PC's performance using the ReadyBoost feature in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

However, we suspect that the HyperX Predator 3.0 will simply be used by those who work with very large files or datasets, as the high data transfer speed means you won't be kept waiting as long when copying to or from a compatible computer.

It should be borne in mind, though, that even at USB 3.0 speeds, it will still take about half an hour to transfer the half a terabyte of data that the HyperX Predator 3.0 can hold.

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