SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 SSD (Gumstick variety) -Video & Review


Watch it on Youtube:

00:00 – Introduction
00:17 – SK hynix is a HUGE company!

00:47 – Around the box
01:42 – Chicken or the egg?
02:20 – Unbox

03:24 – Techie things

04:20 – Installing in a laptop
05:00 – Don’t forget to Partition
05:50 – Crystal Disk Mark Speed test

06:35 РData speeds may be slower because…
07:33 – Possible bottlenecks
08:07 – Compared to SATA III speeds
08:46 – 2 drive sizes and TBW

The gumstick sized Gold P31 SSD by SK Hynix comes with a 5 year warranty and a 750TBW for their 1TB drive. It’s important to note that their usual customers are large companies like Lenovo or Dell (to whom they ship out SSDs by the crate) but since they’ve decided to sell straight to consumers, we’re happy to have that choice.

The specs for the Gold P31 is:

  • Size: M.2 2280
  • Bus: PCIe v3 x4
  • Protocol: NVMe
  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB

This is an exciting piece of hardware. It costs a little more than its competitors, but for that little extra, you get a 5 year warranty stemming from hardware that is designed and made in-house, from memory chips to controllers.

Because you see, most companies that sell SSDs buy their memory chips (from SK hynix, Samsung or Micron), a controller (from Sandforce or Phison) and then wrangle that together into a working drive. So you can see the benefits of being able to optimize everything because you actually have control of all the hardware like SK hynix does.

It’s also the first chip to use 128 layer NAND, which basically miniaturizes the chips. It means less distance for the data to travel, less electricity used, resulting in less heat generated.

The best part is consistent transfer speeds (this is the PCIe v3 x4). In theory, PCIe v3‘s maximum data throughput is 1000 MB/s per lane. The P31 supports 4 lanes for an incredible 4000 MB/s (with real life speeds ~3500 MB/s; but it’s still super fast). I’ve tried transferring about 100GB of video files from one NVMe drive to the Gold P31 to see if the data rate would drop – and it remained more or less consistent throughout without any significant dropoff.

How it compares to a 2.5″ Sata III drive

2.5″ SATA III drives will max out at ~550 MB/s (the fastest we’ve tested so far is SK hynix‘ own S31 at 556 MB/s). But the SK hynix P31 gumstick type M.2 SSD is about 6-7 times faster with a 3500 MB/s read speed at the fastest – not to mention smaller, with less electricity use.

Having said that, you’ll notice that 3500 MB/s was not the actual speed in the graphic above – it’s written in. That’s because the laptop I installed the P31 into only gave me PCIe v3 x2 speed instead of x4. I surmise because it had to split that speed with the other m.2 SSD that was already in there.

I’m glad this happened because it’s a real world problem that people might run into. Here, the laptop maker misrepresented this laptop’s capability (PCIe v3 x4 was in the spec sheets for the SSD slots).

Things like this result in the user not getting the full speeds that were promised; and not because the SSD isn’t capable. I wasn’t aware of this problem until it happened; and I’d just as well be happy if other people can learn from my misfortune. The speed itself and reliability is solid according to other review sites like the Storage Review, AnandTech and Tom’s Hardware.

But even at half speed, I still got sequential reads of 1757 MB/s – still more than 3 times faster than a SATA III drive, and more speed than most people know what to do with (see actual test times below for PCIe v3 x2).

The SK hynix Gold P31 is a good, consistent and so far reliable drive. And being that SK hynix is actually a long established company with a great reputation in the enterprise and technology world, it’s not surprising to me that they can offer great products right off the bat. We in the consumer world welcome such companies for offering another great option for the choosing.

Check prices — Amazon affiliate link — SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 SSD

More Info:
(Test unit provided by SK hynix for this review.)


Young is a Jack-of-many-trades. He's lived/worked on several continents for all sorts of companies (and has had his own too.) He meditates with origami and likes coffee, though he really should lay off that stuff.

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