SK Hynix is far from a newcomer in the storage space but it has been quite some time since they've had an offering in the consumer SSD lineup. They've been fairly involved in the OEM market, even with my Acer Aspire 5 having an SK Hynix 256GB M.2 SATA drive, but today is all about their new SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD.  The South Korean semiconductor manufacturer has brought this lineup to the market in a 240GB, 500GB, and 1TB flavors with reasonable pricing. When it comes to NAND and Controllers we're talking 100% in house, no sourcing from others here and that means they have greater control on consistency and quality, it also lessens the likelihood that in six months  you'll find they switch controllers or flash like we've seen happen in the past with other SSD vendors.

First Look At The SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD 1TB NVMe SSD – Unboxing And Closer Look

The packaging for the Gold S31 is solid, you feel like you're getting a premium product here and not a piece of plastic in a toy blister pack. This is a nice change since often 2.5" SSDs are treated as a basic commodity. The casing of the SSD itself is also premium in build quality when most of the competitors in this range are shipping out entirely black plastic cased SSDs with a sticker slapped on the S31 is a nice weighty metal.

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The interior of the SSD is easy to access by using a spudger to pop the cover off and reveals the entire in-house designed PCB, controller, DRAM package, and 3D-NAND flash with a 512GB module on both sides.

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SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Lineup

 SK Hynix Gold S31 250GBSK Hynix Gold S31 500GBSK Hynix Gold S31 1TB
ControllerSK Hynix ControllerSK Hynix ControllerSK Hynix Controller
NAND FlashSK Hynix 512GX8 NANDSK Hynix 512GX8 NANDSK Hynix 512GX8 NAND
Sequential ReadUp to 560MB/sUp to 560MB/sUp to 560MB/s
Sequential WriteUp to 525MB/sUp to 525MB/sUp to 525MB/s
Warranty5 Years5 Years5 Years
Price49.9969.99118.99

Testing Setup

Our test bench is now using the EVGA Z370 Classified K paired with an Intel Core i9-9900K at 5GHz paired with 16GB DDR4 3200 RAM and decided to go sans dedicated GPU. The reasoning for this is simple as I had to remove the GPU to access the secondary m.2 slot so that I could run the tests.  Before starting the tests I loaded the NVMe drive up to 60% capacity so that the testing would not be run on a clean empty drive.

ComponentModel
CPUIntel Core i9-9900K @5GHz
MemoryG.Skill Trident Z 2x8GB (16GB) 3200MHz CL16
PSUCooler Master V1200P
OSWindows 10-64 Bit
MotherboardEVGA Z370 Classified K
CaseLian Li T70X

SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD

ATTO Disk Benchmark

As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware software to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid-state drives, RAID arrays as well as the host connection to attached storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

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Crystal Disk Mark 6.0

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software Made by a Japanese coder named Hiyohiyo and is one of the simplest and most frequently used tests for storage due to its simple and easy to understand UI. It measure sequential reads/writes speed,measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed,select test data (Random, 0Fill, 1Fill).

Crystal Disk Mark 6.0
4KB Q8T8 Read
4KB Q8T8 Write
4KB Q1T1 Read
4KB Q1T1 Write
4KB Q32T1 Read
4KB Q32T1 Write
Sequential Reads
Sequential Writes
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
SK Hynix Gold S31
Toshiba TR150
WD Blue
Sandisk Ultra 3D

AS SSD

AS SSD is the opposite of ATTO as it uses incompressible data rather than compressible data and simulates the worst possible scenario imaginable for an SSD which gives the best understanding of performance when pushing the drive to its limits.

We separate the IOPS and MB/s in the results for ease of reading.

AS SSD IOPS
16MB Read
16MB Write
4K Read
4K Write
512B Read
512B Write
4KB 64T Read
4KB 64T Write
0
16667
33334
50001
66668
83335
100002
0
16667
33334
50001
66668
83335
100002
SK Hynix Gold S31
Toshiba TR150
WD Blue
Sandisk Ultra 3D
AS SSD MBs
4K Read
4k Write
4KB 64T Read
4KB 64T Write
Sequential Reads
Sequential Writes
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
SK Hynix Gold S31
Toshiba TR150
WD Blue
Sandisk Ultra 3D

ANVIL's Storage Utilities

Anvil's Storage Utilities benchmark may be a bit of an older benchmark, but it's still very much relevant today.  It takes various performance and response time metrics and gives them a score in read and writes then delivers an overall rating, which is useful to see where an HDD or SSD slots in general performance.

ANVIL Storage Utilities
Read Score
Write Score
Total Score
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
SK Hynix Gold S31
Toshiba TR150
WD Blue
Sandisk Ultra 3D

Conclusion

It is extremely easy to dismiss the traditional 2.5" form factor SATA SSDs with the recent price drops of M.2 SATA and NVMe drives to the point that price parity exists between the form factors. When given the chance I would go NVMe every time, but that's not always an option as M.2 slots are often limited to one or two at the most.  Older systems, OEM upgrades, and laptops are great candidates for this 2.5" drive. Another instance is if you have an NVMe drive already and need to expand the storage but do not want to deal with the slow-moving spinning rust then you're in luck. The SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD is right on the heels of other comparably priced consumer SSDs and manages very consistent performance. What stands to set the Gold S31 apart from the competition is SK Hynix's claim on reliability with a rated 1.5 million hours mean time between failures and 600 terabytes written longevity but still carries the relatively common 5-year warranty.  While the SK Hynix Gold S31 doesn't break any records and performs in line with competing SSDs it does offer a solid product with a welcome aesthetic for those who want to show off their SSD with flare. The Gold S31 is a solid and welcome addition to the selection pool and worthy of consideration if it is within your budget range for a 2.5" SSD.

8
Wccftech Rating

The SK Hynix Gold S31 is a solid and welcome addition to the selection pool and worthy of consideration if it is within your budget range for a 2.5" SSD.

Pros
  • Consistent Performance
  • High End for SATA
  • Attractive Casing
  • Reasonable Pricing
Cons
  • Write performance behind comparably priced drives
  • No included utilities

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