Over the last few years, traditional SSD prices have plummeted, and consumers can grab more gigabytes per dollar as M.2 Drives and PCIE solutions have become more commonplace on the market. While high-end M.2 Drives and NVMe Storage offer a terrific way to add drives with blazing speeds, they aren’t very cost-effective when it comes to storing games, family photos, or documents. NVMe drives also run very hot, which isn’t great when you are running games at hours on end in a small form-factor case or laptop. Games, movies, photos, and work-related documents are when you should use traditional SSDs, and the SK Hynix Gold S31 is a new option that should be at the top of your shopping list.

There are a few consumers who might not recognize the SK Hynix brand, but they have been working with manufacturers for years, and they usually supply the DRAM and Flash Memory chips found in a wide array of storage devices. You can find SK Hynix in everything from Asus prebuilts to Google tablets. The company is one of the largest memory chipmakers in the world, and they are expanding into the consumer market as SSDs become more affordable, and more and more buyers are upgrading their laptops and desktops.

The 2.5″ 1TB SSD that we tested over the weekend from SK Hynix features the company’s own 3D Nand Controller and DRAM chips. The drive utilizes the standard SATA III connection, and there are 500GB and 250GB options available to purchase as well. On SATA III, the SSD features read speeds up to 560MB/s, and sequential write speeds up to 525MB/s. That’s actually a little faster than the Samsung 860 QVO, which states sequential read speeds up to 550 MB/s, and sequential write speeds up to 520 MB/s. The Samsung 860 QVO also usually costs $10 more. You can also compare the drive to the Samsung 860 Pro V-NAND 1TB model, which offers read/write speeds up to 560MB/s and 530MB/s respectively, and that model can cost up to $300 at MSRP for the 1TB model. At a savings of $182 for the same speeds and storage, you can see why the Gold S31 is such an attractive option. SK Hynix also offers a five year warranty on the drive, which is very rare at this price point.

If you use a standard optical HDD or even a hybrid HDD, switching over to an SSD is one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make on your existing computer, and it takes very little time. The new SK Hynix Gold S31 is a 1TB SSD that costs $118 right here on Amazon, and you’ll find the 500GB model for $69 and the 250GB model for $49.

I can’t stress enough how rewarding and straightforward an upgrade from a standard mechanical hard-drive to a solid-state hard-drive can be for an everyday user. While an SSD won’t improve your frame-rate in games, it will shorten the load times, and an SSD upgrade will cut down your cold-boot times on laptops and desktops down to seconds.

While using CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 for testing, we saw read speeds at 559.5MB/s and write speeds at 527.7MB/s, a fantastic display and well within the margin of error.

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