Coming off of the warm reception of their first family of retail NVMe SSDs, SK hynix this morning is adding another model to the Gold P31 family: the long-awaited 2TB version. The higher capacity drive, still using SK hynix’s in-house controller and 128L TLC NAND, is being launched with immediate availability today, with retail pricing set at $280.

The 2TB version of the P31 Gold has been something of a long time coming for SK hynix. The company was showing off the drive as early as CES 2020, when the P31 drive family was first announced. At the time, the 2TB drive was set to be released somewhere down the line as the Platinum P31 – SK hynix even had the box art already prepared – but the Platinum P31 remained missing in action after the other P31 drives were launched last summer. Now almost a year later, SK hynix is finally releasing the 2TB drive, and in a change of plans they are selling it under the existing and well-received Gold P31 banner, rather than going with Platinum.

SK Hynix Gold P31 SSD Specifications
Capacity 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Form Factor M.2 2280 single-sided
Interface PCIe 3 x4 NVMe
Controller SK Hynix Cepheus
DRAM SK Hynix LPDDR4-4266
NAND Flash SK Hynix 128L 3D TLC
Sequential Read (128kB) 3500 MB/s
Sequential Write
(128kB)
SLC 3100 MB/s 3200 MB/s
TLC 950 MB/s 1700 MB/s
Random Read (4kB) SLC 570k
TLC 500k
Random Write (4kB) SLC 600k
TLC 220k 370k
Power Active 6.3 W
Idle < 50 mW
L1.2 Idle < 5 mW
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 500 TB
0.5 DWPD
750 TB
0.4 DWPD
1200 TB
0.3 DWPD
MSRP $74.99
(15¢/GB)
$134.99
(13¢/GB)
$279.99
(14¢/GB)

Moving on to the drive itself, other than the increase in NAND capacity, there’s no change in functionality for the 2TB version of the Gold P31. Like the other P31 drives, SK hynix is still using their in-house Cepheus controller, a very energy efficient PCIe 3.0 x4 controller. Similarly, the 2TB drive is still paired with the company’s 128L NAND. And because the 1TB drive was already fully populated from a NAND standpoint, the performance ratings for the 2TB model are otherwise identical to the 1TB model, with peak write speeds of up to 3.2 GB/sec (so long as you’re writing to the SLC buffer).

The additional capacity does mean that SK hynix has needed to tweak the physical layout of the drive. While we’re still waiting on confirmation from the company’s PR department, given that the 1TB drive was single-sided, it’s a safe bet that SK hynix is finally taking advantage of the empty space on the back side of the drive and loading it up with NAND packages Surprisingly, SK hynix tells us that the 2TB drive is single-sided, meaning that the company has been able to add more NAND capacity without resorting to putting chips on the back side of the PCB. Checking with the company, they've confirmed that they are using 1Tbit 128L TLC NAND dies for the 2TB drive (versus 512Gbit NAND dies in the 1TB drive), which is what's allowing them to double capacity without going double-sided. At the same time, the 2TB drive is also getting a unique black PCB, as compared to the green PCB used for both the 500GB and 1TB models.

With the 2TB Gold P31 arriving so late, SK hynix is one of the last vendors to introduce a 2TB mainstream drive. Competing 2TB drives using the Phison E12 and Silicon Motion SM2262EN controllers have already been available for quite some time, and as we’ve already seen with 1TB drive pricing, are priced lower than the 2TB Gold P31. So as they’ve been doing with the rest of the Gold P31 series throughout the last year, SK hynix is going to be riding on the drive family’s great power efficiency – which continues to make for a top-tier laptop SSD – as well as the product consistency afforded by building the drive entirely in-house with their own parts. Otherwise, the drive is easily outperformed by newer high-end PCIe 4.0 drives, but then it’s also a fair bit cheaper than those drives.

Otherwise, given that this is otherwise a minor update to their existing Cepheus/P31 platform, SK hynix is hitting the ground running on the release of the 2TB Gold P31 drive. It’s already available through the company’s Amazon storefront, where they’re charging $279.99 for the drive.

Unsurprisingly, this is just a bit above twice the price of the 1TB drive; so like other mainstream SSDs, the price at higher capacities is scaling fairly flatly with the amount of NAND used. Though if you can wait all of a week, SK hynix is already planning their first sale – the entire Gold P31 family, including the 2TB drive, will be going on sale on August 23rd for 20% off, which will make pricing more competitive with the other mainstream drives.

Source: SK hynix

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  • Lezmaka - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Is this line of drives one of those that the manufacturer randomly changes to a DRAM-less controller or NAND without any notice or specs update? Is there a list of those kinds of drives, I can't keep them straight? Reply
  • shabby - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    So far only adata and crucial did that, but crucial went from tlc to qlc while adata made minor changes https://www.tomshardware.com/features/crucial-p2-s... Reply
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Also PNY, and I think some years ago Kingston. Reply
  • Slash3 - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Crucial's was a bit more nuanced, as they never surreptitiously replaced an existing model's TLC with QLC - the BX500 you're likely referring to did use QLC for the newer, higher capacity models, but the smaller ones originally did (and still do) use TLC.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/NewMaxx/comments/dp463s/c...

    Not quite as egregious as ADATA's shenanigans, although it should be stated that the BX500 is still a pretty poor drive - TLC or otherwise.
    Reply
  • Slash3 - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Self-followup. Just caught wind of the Crucial P2 being switched from TLC to QLC. Way to go, Crucial. And here I thought there was no way to make that drive perform worse, but you've found a way. Reply
  • romrunning - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Crucial just changed their P2 drive from TLC to QLC. A much more egregious switch, performance-wise. Shame on them! Reply
  • Dizoja86 - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    It really shouldn't be legal. It's like if you bought an Xbox Series X, noticed it was running at lower resolutions and framerates, and then found out that Microsoft had decided to stick Xbox Series S hardware in the system without letting consumers know. Reply
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Who's gonna stop a multi-billion dollar company when we barely even have real unions, lol Reply
  • artifex - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    I wonder if the new one is much hotter in laptop use? Reply
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    Same controller, so no.

    E.g. in this benchmark you can see that quadrupling the amount of NAND and DRAM only increased the power consumption by 20% for the Sabrent Rocket Q: https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/TZUQfSrN6PrZfwPK...

    Not every SSD will scale the same way, but within the same generation, family and especially product stack, the controller (And with it the PCIe gen and presence/absence of DRAM) tends to be the decisive factor for power consumption
    Reply

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