After spending some time with the SK Hynix Gold S31 1TB SSD we have a pretty good feel for how this drive performs. We were able to reach the drives rated sequential Read/Write speeds of 560 MB/s read and 525 MB/s write on CrystalDiskMark. Random 4K Read/Write performance was just over 82,000 IOPS at a queue depth of 16. At QD1 the Random 4K numbers were about 5,200 IOPS read and 12,000 IOPS write. The SK Hynix Gold S31 has solid peak numbers with some room for improvement at the very low queue depths.
Due to the SATA III interface bottleneck none of the SATA drives really stand out from one another, but the Gold S31 seems to be in the middle of the pack in most all of our benchmarks. That isn’t a bad position to be in when it is a companies first consumer SSD, so hopefully SK Hynix is happy with that.
SK Hynix is marketing this drive towards gamers, so we were really interested in seeing how this drives game load times were. The Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers game load times shows that loaded the levels in about 16 seconds, which was almost 3.5 seconds faster or nearly 17% faster than the Samsung SSD 860 QVO 1TB drive. The Samsung SSD 860 PRO 2TB SSD was still the fastest SATA III SSD that we have tested and was almost a full second faster than the Gold S31.
When it comes to pricing the SATA III market is jam packed full of drives. Pricing of the SK Hynix Gold S31 family of drives is $49.99 for 250GB, $69.99 for 500GB, and $118.99 for the 1TB model that we reviewed today.
Believe it or not the $118.99 price tag on the 1TB drive is actually higher than most drives on the market today. You can pick up the super inexpensive Inland Professional 1TB SSD for $85.99 shipped. So, you are looking at paying about 40% more to get the Gold S31 1TB drive. It does offer better performance and a longer 5-year warranty, so this series does have that going for it. The popular Samsung 860 QVO 1TB drive runs $109.99 shipped and this drive managed to outperform it in almost all of our tests.
Legit Bottom Line: At the end of the day the SK Hynix Gold S31 proved to be a solid SATA III drive with good endurance ratings and a hefty 5-year warranty.