Kingston Ironkey Vault Privacy 80ES 480gb portable SSD Review

Kingston is a brand many know for their high speed DDR4 & DDR5 RAM, fast NVMe SSDs like the Fury Renegade, and other memory products. Today we’ll be looking at Kingston’s Ironkey Vault Privacy 80ES 480gb. Like the previously reviewed Ironkey Keypad 200, this product offers hardware encryption and requires a password to access to the storage.

Packaging and Included Contents

The outside packaging is a thin cardboard, which protects the box inside of it.

Opening the box reveals the carry pouch for the SSD

Below the carry pouch is the quick start guide, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and a USB-C to USB-C cable.

The contents of the carry pouch are accessed by a zipper, which pulls down to reveal the SSD.

The SSD shell is comprised of a metallic blue metal shell with black plastic highlights surrounding the USB port and the front display.

Setup and Installation

When you first connect the device, it performs a self test and then a short boot up which takes just a moment to complete.

Once the boot is complete, the device reminds you that it is a touchscreen and then prompts you to setup a password.

Once the setup is complete, the home screen is displayed which allows you to connect normally, in read only mode, or go to the setttings. Kingston recommends usage of a stylus with the touchscreen, but doesn’t include one with the device. The globe icon on the left allows one to quickly change the language options.

Once connected, the device displays a screen showing it’s status and the option to quickly end the connection with the host computer.

The settings menu offers a small handful of options. These include customization options like brightness and language settings, as well as the ability to have the drive disable itself automatically after a set period of time.

There are also security related settings such as enabling read-only mode, the ability to disable (or enable) the key layout generator, and a secure erase feature. Calibration options for the touch screen are also available.

Security Features

Randomized Layout

To enable access to the device, one must enter the password every time it is plugged into a new host computer. By default, the layout of the keypad is randomized – preventing someone from easily gaining access to the device.

XTS-AES 256-bit Hardware Encyption

The storage media is hardware encryption with safeguards against brute force attacks and BadUSB with digitally-signed firmware. The SSD is FIPS 197 certified with XTS-AES 256-bit encryption Common Criteria EAL5+ (CC EAL5+) certified secure microprocessor, and is TAA compliant.

One has the ability to enter an incorrect password up to 15 times by default – although you can extend that up to 30 times via the options. However, after the maximum attempts limit has been reached the device’s encryption key is erased and all of the data which was saved on the SSD will be lost.


Crystal Disk Mark

Now Kingston’s IronKey Vault Privacy 80ES is focused on security – not speed. As such, it’s not the fastest drive on the market

CrystalDiskMark is a great tool for testing, but it’s default profile is more of a “best case” scenario. With read speeds of over 270MB/second recorded, the results here are slightly faster than Kingston’s advertised rating of 250MB/second. This isn’t particularly fast, approximately half the maximum speed of a SATA SSD.

CrystalDiskMark’s “Real World” profile is supposed to represent performance more akin to that encountered in common workloads. Most SSDs show worse performance in this test (in comparison to the default test), but surprisingly the results here were almost exactly the same as in the default case – which means most of the time this SSD will maintain near its maximum speeds.

PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark

PCMark10’s Data Drive benchmark is designed to test drives that are used for storing files rather than applications. It’s performance isn’t exactly record breaking here, running at about 1/5 of the speed of PCI-e 3 internal SSDs.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80ES

Final Fantasy Loading Times

Now nobody in their right mind would ever buy this drives to play games on, but if you just so happened to want to use it for that – I tested Final Fantasy’s loading times. The performance here actually surprised me – I had expected loading times to take over twice as long as a PCI-e 3 drive, but they weren’t quite that bad at 17.8 vs 11.2 seconds.


While it isn’t the fastest storage media on the market, if you’re looking for a secure portable drive with ample amounts of space Kingston’s IronKey Vault Privacy has you covered with sizes starting at 480GB. It’s hardware encryption keeps your files safe from the prying eyes of unwanted users.

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