SK hynix’s Golden P31 SSD appears, with doubled capacity

SK Hynix has doubled the capacity of its Gold P31 NVMe gumstick SSD by using terabit dies instead of the original 512-gigabit ones.

The dies use 128-layer TLC (3bits/cell) flash and the drive has an SLC cache, like the original P31 products.

Like the original P31 drives, this new one comes in the single-sided M.2 2280 format and is intended for notebooks used for things like 3D design work and other content creation activities, and gaming systems. There is no improvement in performance over the original P31 drives, but the endurance increases from the 1TB model’s 750TB written (0.4 drive writes per day) to 1200TB written, or 0.3 drive writes per day for the five-year warranty period.

Performance summary:

  • Random read IOPS — 570,000 using SLC cache, 500,000 if cache full;
  • Random write IOPS — 600,000 with cache, 370,000 without;
  • Sequential read — up to 3500MB/sec with cache, 1700MB/sec without;
  • Sequential write — to 3200MB/sec with cache, 950MB/sec without;
  • Interface — PCIe Gen-3 x 4 lane;
  • Active power — 6.3W;
  • Idle power — <50mW;
  • L 1.2 idle — <5mW;
  • Controller — SK hynix Cepheus.

A 2TB Platinum drive concept was floated by SK hynix when the 512GB and 1TB Gold P31s were launched a year ago. That has come to naught and the 2TB drive is just an upgrade refresh for the Gold P31 brand.

If SK hynix cared to do so it could make a 4TB Gold P31 drive by using both sides of the M.2 format card. We might expect it to bring out PCIe Gen-4 versions of the drive in the future, with approximately doubled performance. A 4TB PCIe Gen-4 gumstick drive would be a neat way of giving a notebook computer a great big storage IO boost.

The company has upped its 3D NAND layer count from 128 to 176 and this could be used to increase the drive’s capacity as well, or to keep it the same and reduce its cost.

To make it a tiny bit special the 2TB Gold P31’s backing printed circuit board is coloured black instead of the original product’s green. The price is $279.99 with a 20 per cent off deal at Amazon on August 23.