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SK hynix Gold S31 Review: An Excellent Replacement SSD

The recently released SK hynix Gold S31 solid-state drive (SSD) is not a novelty. There are plenty of standard SATA SSDs on the market. But considering its fast speed, longevity, and friendly cost of as low as 12 cents per gigabyte, it’s still a great find.

The SK hynix Gold S31 is a new option in retail standard SSDs.
The SK hynix Gold S31 is a new option in retail standard SSDs.

SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD

8.2

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Fast performance
  • Longevity

Cons

  • Storage caps at 1TB
  • No user-accessible features

SK hynix Gold S31: A new drive that’s familiar

You might not have heard of SK hynix, but this is a popular OEM storage maker. Opening a Dell or Asus computer that runs a stock SSD, chances are it’s an SK hynix drive. Having owned many Dell laptops, I’m quite familiar with SK hynix SSDs and found them to be fast and reliable.

The Gold S31 is the first retail drive from the company, and in that sense, it’s a new development. Now for the first time, you can easily buy an SK hynix SSD as a replacement drive for any computer. It’s always a good thing to have another competitive option on top of the well-known brands, including Samsung, WD, Crucial, and so on.

At its core, the Gold S31 is a standard drive, taking the shape of a 2.5-inch internal laptop drive. Like most new drives, it’s 7mm-thick as opposed to 7.5-mm of a regular hard drive — it will fit tight places. The drive will work in the place of any traditional SATA hard drive though you might need a caddy (not included) to install it in a desktop computer.

SK hynix Gold S31’s detail photos

SK Hynix Gold S31 BOX

The SK hynix Gold S31 is a standard SATA SSD.

SK Hynix Gold S31

SK Hynix Gold S31 Bottom

SK hynix Gold S31: Hardware specifications

InterfaceSATA III
Product TypeInternal SSD
Form FactorStandard 2.5”
SSD capacity1TB/500GB/250GB
Endurance (Terabytes Written)600 TBW (1TB), 300 TBW (500GB), 150 TBW (250GB)
NAND Flash3D NAND Flash
ControllerSK hynix Controller
Sequential Readup to 560MB/s
Sequential Writeup to 525MB/s
Warranty5 years
SK hynix Gold S31’s hardware specifications.

High endurance rating, relatively low capacity

Among standard SSDs on the market, the Gold S31 has impressive endurance rating — you can write a lot to it. It has higher endurance than most SATA SSDs I’ve tested, except for the NAS-specific Seagate IronWolf 110.

Specifically, you can write up to 150 terabytes of data to the 250GB version before it becomes unreliable. So if you write some 10GB per day to the drive and do that every day, it will last for about 43 years. Keep in mind that 10GB is quite a lot of data — most days a general user writes significantly less than that to the internal drive.

The endurance progressively increases with larger capacities. So you can write up to 600 terabytes to the 1TB drive. And 1TB is the Gold S31’s top capacity for now, which is low considering you can find SATA SSDs of up to 4TB, like the Samsung 860 QVO.

What’s more, the S31 is quite a barebone. It has no user-accessible features, unlike other SSDs that include software for you to at least manage the firmware update or over-provisioning. The S31 comes with no software. In fact, for now, you can’t even find any information to check or update its firmware on the SK hynix’s website. This lack of support might change in the future, however.

See also  Samsung 980 Review: An Interesting and Well Balanced NVMe SSD

SK hynix Gold S31: Fast performance

The S31 works well where it matters. The drive performed well in my testing, though not the fastest. In sequential (copy) performance, the drive averaged some 480 MB/s for writing and almost 530 MB/s for reading. When doing both writing and reading at the same time, the drive registered 215 MB/s.

SK Hynix Copy Performance

In random access performance, the Gold S31 also did well, especially in write speed. Considering its low cost, the drive’s performance exceeded my expectations.

SK Hynix Random Performance

I used the S31 for more than a week as the boot drive of my main computer and found it fast enough for all of my daily needs. It wasn’t as fast as the Samsung 970 Pro, which is a much more expensive NVMe drive, but for the most part, I didn’t notice the difference.

Conclusion

Despite offering nothing new, the SK hynix Gold S31 is a welcome addition to the crowded pool of standard SATA SSDS on the market. It presents consumers with another low-cost option that delivers both performance and endurance. If you’re looking to upgrade your computer that still runs on a regular hard drive, this SSD is an excellent choice.

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