Update 2-September 26, 2021: This review has been updated with a new test for the 2TB SK Hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe Page 4.
Update 1-October 3, 2020: We have updated this article and performed a new test on 500GB SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe page 2.
Original comment posted on September 4, 2020:
SK hynix’s Gold P31 is the company’s first retail M.2 NVMe SSD and the first product to be marketed using the company’s sixth-generation 128-layer “4D” TLC NAND flash memory.picture Golden S31 SATA SSD, Gold P31 M.2 NVMe SSD left us a very positive first impression, it touted the killer performance with the best efficiency score we have seen so far.It and The best solid state drive, And the price is only 0.13-0.15 US dollars per GB, which is excellent value for money. But since it is the first one, there are some problems, such as an unsightly green PCB.
SK hynix’s Gold P31 is equipped with the company’s 4D NAND flash memory, although it sounds like a new type of memory, Actually not that complicatedThis is a marketing speech by SK hynix, which involves how the company arranges memory control circuits (called peripheral circuits) related to the NAND cell array on this 128L 4D TLC flash memory.
Traditionally, the peripheral circuit logic is located at the edge of the NAND cell array and may occupy up to 40% of the chip space, thus limiting scalability. By moving the logic under the array, manufacturers can achieve higher-level designs while maintaining high array efficiency. The concept of placing peripheral circuits under the memory cell (PuC) is not new. In fact, this technology is currently implemented in the form of CMOS Array (CuA) technology on Intel and Micron’s NAND flash memory.
|SK Hynix 4D NAND||Samsung V5 V-NAND||KIOXIA BiCS4||Micron|
|Number of bits per unit||3 digits/thin layer chromatography||3 digits/thin layer chromatography||3 digits/thin layer chromatography||3 digits/thin layer chromatography|
|Number of data layers||128||92||96||96|
|Cell array efficiency||87.10%||92.00%||88.10%||90.60%|
|Chip density (Gb)||512||512||512||512|
|Chip area (mm^2)||63.2||?||86.0||81.8|
|Bit density (Gb/mm^2)||8.1||?||6.0||6.3|
By combining CuA with a floating gate cell design, Micron’s flash memory reached the highest bit density of 6.25 Gb/mm^2 on a 512Gb 96L TLC, that is, before the decline of SK Hynix’s latest 128L 4D NAND. What makes SK Hynix’s 4D NAND unique is that the company combines PuC technology with 3D charge trap flash memory (CTF) cell design to achieve a very small chip size and a high chip density of 8.1 Gb/mm^2. Compared with floating gate cells, CTF cells tend to be smaller, and as the number of layers increases, the overall design provides better scaling capabilities.
SK hynix Gold P31 specifications
|Price||74.99 USD||USD 134.99||279.99 USD|
|Capacity (user/raw)||500GB / 512GB||1000GB / 1024GB||1000GB / 1024GB|
|Constitutive factors||M.2 2280 S3||M.2 2280 S3||M.2 2280 S3|
|Interface Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3|
|Controller||SK Hynix Cepheus||SK Hynix Cepheus||SK Hynix Cepheus|
|Dynamic random access memory||LPDDR4||LPDDR4||LPDDR4|
|memory||SK hynix 128L thin layer||SK hynix 128L thin layer||SK hynix 128L thin layer|
|Sequential reading||3,500 MBps||3,500 MBps||3,500 MBps|
|Sequential write||3,100 MBps||3,200 MBps||3,200 MBps|
|Random read||570,000 IOPS||570,000 IOPS||570,000 IOPS|
|Random write||600,000 IOPS||600,000 IOPS||600,000 IOPS|
|Safety||AES 256-bit encryption||AES 256-bit encryption||AES 256-bit encryption|
|Endurance (TBW)||500 TB||750 TB||1,200 TB|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years||5 years|
SK hynix Gold P31 features
SK hynix’s Gold P31 has three capacities of 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, and the pricing is very low, as low as US$75, US$135 and US$280 respectively. Gold P31 can provide read/write speeds of up to 3.5/3.2 GBps at 1TB and 2TB, but the write speed of the 500GB model is 100MBps lower. The random read and write performance of SSD is also similar under all capacities, with random read and write IOPS as high as 570,000/600,000.
Although it is fairly easy to introduce fast read performance for flash memory, high write performance requires some skill. SK hynix’s Gold P31 uses a hybrid SLC cache, similar to Samsung’s TurboWrite. It has a fast recovery SLC cache and a slow recovery dynamic SLC cache. The total cache capacity of 500GB is 46GB, the 1TB model has approximately 92GB, and the 2TB model has 184GB.
A 500GB drive can withstand up to 500TB of writes, a 1TB drive can withstand up to 750TB of writes, and the 2TB model can absorb up to 1,200TB of writes during its five-year warranty.
With the help of Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) ECC, SK Hynix’s Gold P31 has a considerable durability number, surpassing Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus, WD’s Black SN750 and Crucial’s P5.However, while these numbers look impressive, they cannot be compared with the excellent endurance ratings provided by Phison-powered SSDs, such as Seagate FireCuda 510 or Team Group Cardea Zero Z340 It has more than twice the durability at the 1TB capacity point.
SK hynix’s Gold P31 has SMART data report, secure erase function, Trim support, can enter a variety of low power consumption states, and even supports AES 256-bit hardware encryption. However, this is not a complaint from OPAL, which means there is no BitLocker support.
SK Hynix Gold P31 software and accessories
SK Hynix supports Gold P31 through basic SSD toolbox and cloning software. SK hynix Drive Manager allows you to view the SMART data of the P31 and update the firmware when needed. SK hynix’s SSD System Migration Utility is designed in cooperation with Macrium, allowing you to clone data from the old drive to the new SK hynix SSD.
SK hynix Gold P31 up close
SK hynix’s Gold P31 uses M.2 2280 single-sided form factor, so it is compatible with even the thinnest ultrabooks. When you see Gold P31, its clean black and gold labels will pop up. However, once it gets your attention, the green PCB starts to become less attractive. Although Gold P31 gained style points for the hidden SKU mark and other compliance marks, it lost some on the green PCB.
The company will not disclose the details of the process nodes, number of cores or frequency used on the controller, but it will explain to us in detail that SK hynix’s Gold P31 is vertically integrated and all its main components are manufactured by SK hynix. Gold P31 by the company based on Arm’s multi-core 4 channelsCepheus‘PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 controller. It measures 14 x 14 mm and uses a DRAM-based architecture.
this Cepheus The SSD controller interfaces with the DRAM to cache FTL mapping table information to ensure responsiveness and consistent performance. The company includes an LPDDR4 2,133 MHz DRAM chip with a density of 4Gb (512MB) on the 500GB model and 8Gb (1GB) on our 1TB model.
At first glance, the number of channels of the controller is only half that of most high-end NVMe SSDs, which makes it suitable for the best WD, Samsung and Crucial, as well as SSDs based on Silicon Motion and Phison controllers. If it is not for the high IO rate of SK Hynix’s 128L TLC NAND flash memory.
SK hynix’s Gold P31 interfaces with flash memory chips through these four channels at a Toggle DDR4.0 I/O rate of 1200 MTps, while only consuming 1.2V. This is an important aspect to pay attention to, because it is about twice the speed of most current NAND operating speeds, and combined with a 4-channel controller, both help the Gold P31 provide incredible power efficiency. Generally, Kioxia-based 96L or Micron 96L SSDs operate at a much lower I/O rate of 533-800 MTps, with the exception of Samsung. Samsung’s latest V-NAND flash memory runs at speeds of up to 1,400 MTps, although the interface speed of the company’s flash memory controller in current products is likely to be only 1,000-1,200 MTps.
due to Cepheus The controller on the P31 interfaces with NAND at this higher operating MTps rate, which helps to compensate for some of the performance of the lower channel count to a certain extent. In addition, like Micron and Intel’s flash memory, SK Hynix’s 4-plane design is also very helpful for interleaving, because it means that the controller has four independent NAND chip access parts to improve performance. Kioxia’s 96L BiCS4 and Samsung’s 92L V-NAND flash memory are only 2 graphic designs, although the latter all have sub-planes to help make up for it.
Traditionally, SK Hynix’s flash uses the P-BiCS (Pipe-shaped BiCS) architecture, which is an evolutionary form of the Kioxia (former Toshiba Memory) BiCS (Bit Cost Scalable) CTF architecture. Its design uses U-shaped vertical NAND strings, and the source line is located at the top of the stack instead of at the bottom. Among other things, these adjustments not only help to enhance data retention and battery reliability, but also help improve cut-off characteristics and provide better battery charge sensing performance.
In addition, like Kioxia’s BiCS, SK hynix’s 128L 4D NAND uses multiple string stacks (or decks) to achieve such a high number of layers, where data word line groups are stacked on top of each other, and virtual word lines are usually used to prevent program interference . The problem with this process is that alignment can be tricky, and misalignment of the stack can reduce yield, which may be why Samsung is trying to avoid using this technology for as long as possible. To overcome this problem, SK Hynix relies on ultra-uniform vertical etching technology combined with high-reliability multilayer thin-film battery formation technology.
Early tease from Tech Insights It is revealed that the NAND chip density on the Gold P31 is 512Gb (64GB per chip) and has up to 147 actual layers, some of which act as dummy layers or gates for selection to achieve 128 data word lines. We believe that this 128L flash can be designed with double or triple layers, but we will have to wait for the final analysis by Tech Insight. The 500GB model has 4 chips per package for a total of 8, while the 1TB model has 8 chips per package for a total of 16.