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SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Benchmarked

Gold performance for cheap. If you're in the market for an inexpensive 2.5-inch SATA III SSD, then the new SK Hynix Gold S31 should do the trick. The 250 GB version starts at just under $50.

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SK Hynix recently launched a lineup of inexpensive 2.5-inch SATA III SSDs called the Gold S31. The series is notable because the core components of these drives have all been designed in-house by SK Hynix including the NAND modules, controller, and DRAM instead of being outsourced.

Three initial options are available at launch: 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1000 GB each with similar sequential read rates, write rates, and estimated operation lifetimes. Prices range from $49 up to $119 on Amazon. The model we will be testing is the 1 TB model.

Storage Capacity
Max Sequential Read (MB/s) Max Sequential Write (MB/s) MTBF (in millions of hours) TBW (Terabytes Written)
250 GB
560 525 1.5 600
500 GB
560 525 1.5 600
1 TB
560 525 1.5 600

Test System

Our test unit is the Razer Blade 15 GTX 1660 Ti. This particular system includes a 2.5-inch SATA III bay for easy storage expansion unlike on the pricier Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q or RTX 2080 Max-Q SKUs.

AS SSD & CrystalDiskMark

Of course, transfer rates will be slower than most NVMe drives including SK Hynix's own PC401/PC501 series. Results are more comparable to the SATA III-based SC311 series instead.

AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD
CDM 5.5
CDM 5.5
CDM 6
CDM 6
SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD
SK hynix Gold S31 1TB
Dell Latitude 5300
SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
Dell Latitude 3390
SK hynix SC311 SATA
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SE-225US
Toshiba KBG30ZMT512G
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2-LQN-00004
SK Hynix BC501 NVMe 256 GB
AS SSD
131%
-29%
6%
25%
Copy Game MB/s
517.17
202.24
-61%
581.52
12%
577.13
12%
Copy Program MB/s
581.66
137.36
-76%
309.51
-47%
325.13
-44%
Copy ISO MB/s
691.01
293.96
-57%
992.71
44%
755.14
9%
Score Total
993
2586
160%
860
-13%
1940
95%
1369
38%
Score Write
404
1230
204%
304
-25%
400
-1%
521
29%
Score Read
386
935
142%
367
-5%
1036
168%
563
46%
Access Time Write *
0.049
0.051
-4%
0.071
-45%
0.223
-355%
0.048
2%
Access Time Read *
0.064
0.057
11%
0.093
-45%
0.231
-261%
0.048
25%
4K-64 Write
285.13
1038.62
264%
217.51
-24%
246.8
-13%
370.35
30%
4K-64 Read
314.34
679.84
116%
294.82
-6%
878.09
179%
446.96
42%
4K Write
73.22
117.44
60%
51.34
-30%
80.34
10%
95.31
30%
4K Read
23.23
43.02
85%
23.88
3%
27.58
19%
33.39
44%
Seq Write
458.89
744.36
62%
354.88
-23%
730.48
59%
555
21%
Seq Read
481.91
2123.49
341%
479.54
0%
1307.09
171%
826
71%
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
136%
-5%
67%
55%
Write 4K
72.15
119.2
65%
52.36
-27%
99.35
38%
87.3
21%
Read 4K
27.66
41.43
50%
24.71
-11%
46.96
70%
36.52
32%
Write Seq
472.9
1240
162%
484.1
2%
715.96
51%
Read Seq
537.6
1668
210%
548.3
2%
1009.4
88%
Write 4K Q32T1
291.6
381.7
31%
329.9
13%
240.1
-18%
324.07
11%
Read 4K Q32T1
299.9
371.5
24%
250.7
-16%
580.9
94%
249.04
-17%
Write Seq Q32T1
511.7
1369
168%
508.3
-1%
686
34%
810.9
58%
Read Seq Q32T1
557.2
2652
376%
549.7
-1%
1581.2
184%
1630.9
193%
Write 4K Q8T8
350.5
268.1
Read 4K Q8T8
359.7
976.8
Total Average (Program / Settings)
134% / 133%
-17% / -20%
37% / 24%
40% / 36%

* ... smaller is better

SK hynix Gold S31 1TB
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 557.2 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 511.7 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 299.9 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 291.6 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 537.6 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 472.9 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 27.66 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 72.15 MB/s

ATTO

ATTO tests transfer rates across larger block sizes ranging from 512 Bytes to 64 MB for a bigger picture of overall performance. The SK Hynix drive is able to maintain its advertised promise of ~500 MB/s read and write at block sizes of 128 KB and greater.

ATTO (SK Hynix Gold S31)
ATTO (SK Hynix Gold S31)
ATTO (Asura Genesis Extreme NVMe)
ATTO (Asura Genesis Extreme NVMe)
Samsung SSD 970 Evo Plus 500 GBSamsung SSD 960 Pro 1TB m.2 NVMeSamsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMeSamsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GBToshiba KBG20ZMS256G
ATTO Disk Benchmark
367%
308%
457%
61%
8192KB write
474070
2079890
339%
1423030
200%
3322220
601%
554109
17%
4096KB write
474070
2090010
341%
1423030
200%
3322220
601%
564467
19%
2048KB write
474070
2090010
341%
1423030
200%
3297730
596%
557948
18%
1024KB write
475170
2100230
342%
1429920
201%
3205200
575%
586388
23%
16KB write
387910
1102410
184%
1118800
188%
1153140
197%
524483
35%
8192KB read
528440
2960680
460%
2990000
466%
2975270
463%
1099620
108%
4096KB read
528440
3019900
471%
3099870
487%
2975270
463%
1187170
125%
2048KB read
529660
3026480
471%
3154120
495%
2960680
459%
1351830
155%
1024KB read
532100
3263860
513%
3173620
496%
2811540
428%
1231950
132%
16KB read
409030
1257110
207%
1000960
145%
1173620
187%
306332
-25%

Data Compression

Data compression is not as steady as it could be. Write rates will alternate between approximately 417 MB/s and 469 MB/s instead of remaining steady like on the older Samsung 860 EVO.

Data Compression (SK Hynix Gold S31)
Data Compression (SK Hynix Gold S31)
Data Compression (Samsung 860 EVO)
Data Compression (Samsung 860 EVO)

Emissions

Temperature

Drive temperature rises from 35 C when idling to a high of 51 C after two CrystalDiskMark runs. The Asura M.2 NVMe drive requires heat sinks in order sustain temperatures in the same range.

System idle
System idle
CDM 5.5 stress
CDM 5.5 stress

Verdict

In review: SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD 1 TB. Test model provided by SK Hynix
In review: SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD 1 TB. Test model provided by SK Hynix

There are no surprises from a performance perspective as the Gold S31 is based on SATA III after all. This aging bus tops out at the 500 MB/s range when under real-world conditions which is close to what we've recorded from the SK Hynix drive. If you're looking for a no-frills 2.5-inch SSD with a 5-year standard warranty, then the Gold S31 series will get the job done — no more, no less.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Benchmarked
Allen Ngo, 2019-09-25 (Update: 2019-09-25)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.