If you’ve stuck to retail parts for your PC, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of SK Hynix (official website). However, the company is a powerhouse when it comes to OEM Solid State Drives for laptops and pre-built desktops. Until now, consumers couldn’t get their hands on these SSDs individually packaged, but now SK Hynix is entering the retail market with the Gold S31.
The SK Hynix Gold S31 isn’t a powerhouse or revolutionary. It doesn’t have to be. SATA SSDs are at a point where the real-world performance between the cheapest and most expensive models covers a razor-thin spectrum. Now, the challenge for manufacturers is driving down costs, and the price is where the Gold S31 shines.
SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Review | Variants and competitors
The Gold S31 comes in three varieties:
We received the Gold S31 1TB for review, so that’s the one I’ll be discussing here. However, a lot of the details here are also applicable to the other two models.
Out of the gate, the S31 Gold is competitively priced. Two of its closest competitors (at least that I have experience with) are the Samsung SSD 860 QVO and the ADATA SU750, both of which have a similar price point. All three have similar data throughput, form factor, and construction. However, the Hynix Gold S31 beats them in value. We’ll get into why below, but first, some specs and benchmarks!
SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Review | Design and construction
Like every SSD ever, the Gold S31 follows your standard 2.5-inch form factor. I don’t remember them ever making a 3.5-inch SSD, though I might be mistaken. So, if you’ve ever seen any Solid State Drive, you can paint a mental image of what the S31 looks like.
It has an aluminum chassis with the standard mounting points and the appropriate labels on the top and bottom. It’s an SSD, and you’re going to shove it into a PC or some other device, so you don’t have to worry much about what it looks like. It’s not plastic, though, which is good, and it generates very little heat.
The case itself serves as a heatsink, so if it’s inside a computer, you don’t have to worry about sticking it anywhere particular to avoid hot air. You can put these suckers anywhere there’s room for them, which is one of the many beauties of solid-state storage.
The Gold S31 is produced using a 72-layer 3D TLC NAND process, which just means it’s using the latest design when it comes to flash storage manufacturing. The packaging is attractive yet spartan, and there are no accessories included because there are none needed.
SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Review | Performance
Testing with CrystalDiskMark, we can see all three hard drives give very similar performance.
As I stated above, the primary competition between SATA SSDs is between pricepoint moreso than performance. Again, all three drives are great, but Hynix does edge out its competitors in one significant way.
SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Review | Warranty
The SK Hynix Gold S31 offers a warranty that covers either five years or 600 TBW (Terabytes Written), whichever comes first. Compare this to the Adata, which provides a three-year warranty, or Samsung, which offers a three-year or 360 TBW warranty, and the S31 comes out as the better deal.
With so much similarity between the SATA SSDs on the market right now, you need to look between the lines to find which one is the best deal. Right now, out of the three SSDs, I’ve compared, Hynix wins with its superior warranty. Usually, I’d be cautious about lauding a company’s first product in the retail market. However, since SK Hynix has been producing OEM equipment for years, I feel like it’s safe to put trust in them.
SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD Review | Bottom line
There are a lot of SATA SSDs on the market right now, and it’s hard to tell the difference between them. The Gold S31 is SK Hynix’s first retail drive, and they’ve managed to find the sweet spot between price, warranty, and performance right off the bat.
Not too long ago, if someone asked me which brand of SATA SSD to go with, I’d probably scratch my head and respond with, “Samsung, I guess.” With the Gold S31’s competitive pricing and capabilities, I’ll have to think a little harder the next time I’m asked that question.