The SATA revision 2.0 interface was still relatively new and even fast SSDs we reviewed back then had trouble utilizing the full potential of its 300MB/s bandwidth. Within a few years that began to change of course, as flash became faster and controller chips such as Indilinx and SandForce began to catch up. It started to become apparent that SSD speeds were eventually going to outpace even the new SATA 3.0 interface, and one manufacturer turned to PCIe for more speed.
Executive editor Shawn Knight prophetically predicted in 2010 that OCZ, one of the SSD industry leaders at the time, was "taking the solid state drive in a different direction with the [PCIe-based] OCZ RevoDrive and I personally believe they are on to something much bigger than most may realize." Of course as with any leading edge technology, PCIe-based storage started out with a few hiccups as motherboard compatibility support was limited, the OS ability to boot from PCIe was a bit tricky to setup and the cards themselves were bulky and relied on combining multiple SATA based controllers in a stripe set, much like configuring two or more traditional drives in a RAID0 array.
Fast-forward five years and we find PCIe-based storage has evolved to the point it is becoming mainstream, with many manufacturers now producing PCIe drives, more compatibility among various motherboard and chipset platforms and a new M.2 interface that greatly reduces its footprint and eliminates all external cabling to the drive.
Today we have for review the Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB PCIe SSD. This is an M.2 format, 2280 size drive that comes with an optional half-height, half-length (HHHL) adapter card to fit a standard PCIe slot. It supports PCIe revision 2.0 and up to x4 lanes, which yields a theoretical bandwidth limit of 2000MB/s. Available in either 240GB or 480GB capacities, the HyperX Predator SSD features a Marvell controller and Toshiba NAND flash. Speeds are advertised at up to 1400MB/s read, 600MB/s write for the 240GB drive, and 1400MB/s read, 1000MB/s write for the 480GB drive. That's approaching three times the typical read speed of a standard SATA based SSD, due to the bandwidth limitation of the SATA 3.0 interface.
Join us as we take a closer look at the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe SSD.