Kingston finally gets USB3 religion

IDF 2010: Datatraveler Ultimate and SSDs

Kingston LogoKINGSTON WAS SHOWING off three goodies at IDF, a USB3 SSD, the final version of water cooled DRAMs, and last, but not least, a USB3 memory stick. If you don’t think USB3 is worth it, read on.

Kingston water cooled DRAM

Full metal jacket, plus water

The final version of the Kingston water cooled DRAM sticks were on display at IDF, and they changed quite a bit from the prototypes we saw almost a year ago, and picked up the name HyperX H20. The boys at Kingston report the water jacket is good for <60 degrees C temps, a 12-14 degree drop from what you would normally expect. While it may matter to some overclockers, when was the last time your DRAM overheated? Then again, the target market for this is overclockers, and they don’t feel pain like we do.

HyperX Max 3.0

USB3 SSD – Check the connector

If you look closely at this prototype HyperX Max 3.0 USB3 SSD, you will see that it is no normal external 2.5″ drive. The first thing you see is the USB3 micro connector, note the notch in the middle. Although you can’t see it in the pictures, the drive is slim and sleek, plus you won’t be able to damage it through vibrations. It may be expensive, but if you screw up drives like I do, it is worth the extra money.

Kingston Ultimate 3.0

Finally, a USB3 stick

Last up, Kingston finally stepped into the world of USB3 flash sticks with their DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0. It uses 2 controllers bridged, and is rated at 80MBps read, 60MBps write, about what you would expect for a drive of this class. They come in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities, and are a bit chunkier than similar USB2 sticks. That said, the Ultimate 3.0 is a little sleeker than some competitors out there.

I have had one since IDF, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, just a large USB stick. In one of the few pleasant technical surprises of the year, the drive vastly outperformed my expectations. Without using it on a USB3 equipped PC, the performance was great. No, I didn’t measure numbers, it simply never slowed down.

If you copy a big file, or worse yet, lots of little files, to a USB flash stick, you have probably watched as it buffered the data, then slowed down to a crawl. Performance is good for a few hundred MB, then falls off a cliff.

What the Kingston stick did, or in this case didn’t do, is slow down, ever. Progress bars were linear, and anything that was thrown at the stick just copied smoothly. It was a minor revelation. Even without a USB3 PC, the Ultimate is worth the money, and USB3 should only make it better. Stay tuned, we’ll get a board to test this guy, say…a Gigabyte X58A-UDR3R…..S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate