Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 full review

The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 combines a fast SSD with a fast USB 3.0 controller, to make a very compact high-speed pocket drive

What do you get when you combine fast storage technology with a very fast connection standard? It ought to be a blazingly fast way to move your files around on a speedy drive.

The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 does just that, putting a USB 3.0 port on a 2.5in solid-state drive (SSD). It’s a simple-looking device, with one of the new-style flat USB 3.0 ports on one end and an LED that flashes green when in use. And that’s it.

Unlike other external drive makers, Kingston doesn’t even bother to put any flakey software bloat onto the drive, which is a welcome change.

This drive feels very sturdy enough in a hefty aluminium case that measures just 10mm thick. And at 110 x 69mm, with nicely rounded sides, it’ll slip into any pocket easily enough.

Our only concern is the rather under-engineered coupling of cable to drive. The introduction of a new physical interface should have inspired those designing USB 3.0 plugs to make something substantially better than the flimsy looking plug now required for these kinds of drives.

The The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 is available in three different capacities: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Whichever one you choose, it’s not going to be cheap - prices start around £150 for the smallest, stepping up to £250 for the 128GB, then up to around £500 for the 256GB version.

We can’t assume speed, though, just because of the new-tech boxes ticked in the feature list. When we tested Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3 thumbdrive, we were disappointed to find that performance of the USB 3.0 flash thumbdrive was no better than a slow 2.5in notebook hard disk.

The Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 is made from better stuff though. It uses a Kingston SSD inside, stripped of its regular SATA disk shroud to save space and weight, coupled to a USB 3.0 port by an internal SATA-to-USB 3.0 controller.

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0: Performance tests

We tested a 128GB version of the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0, first via a USB 3.0 link on the lab bench using standard performance software; we also tried it connected by USB 2.0 for good measure.

The ATTO Benchtest gave us averaged read speeds up to 204MB/s, and write speeds up to 179MB/s. From CrystalDiskMark 3.0, similar results were seen: 203MB/s and 190MB/s respectively.

In the latter benchmark, we also noted relatively fine results with smaller files. For 4kB files, the Kingston could read at 18MB/s and write at 37MB/s.

If you find yourself using the Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 on legacy USB 2.0 ports, it should also remain reasonably spritely – as quick as the older connection allows anyway.

In the ATTO test, we saw averaged speeds up to 35MB/s read and 31MB/s write - which is about as quick as it gets for USB 2.0.

Or quicker, if you change your benchmark. The Crystal Disk Mark test nudged those figures fractionally by reaping 36MB/s and 31MB/s respectively.

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Kingston HyperX Max 3.0: Specs

  • External flash drive
  • 64GB, 128GB or 256GB capacities
  • USB 3.0 port
  • 110 x 69 x 10mm
  • 116g (+27g cable)