Over the past years, all major NAND flash memory manufacturers have competed to create the most multilayer memory chips. It looks like SK Hynix got tired of just making chips and decided to try its hand at the consumer SSD market. The Gold P31 series 2.5-inch SATA SSDs came out last year. And now SK Hynix has unveiled the world’s first NVMe SSDs based on 128-layer 3D NAND TLC chips in the same series.
The devices are made in the M.2 format, equipped with a PCI Express 3.0 x4 interface and are offered in versions of 500 GB and 1 TB. The drives are based on SK Hynix controllers of their own design, the company of which is a small buffer from LPDDR4-4266 memory. The manufacturer’s declared sequential read and write speeds for the new Gold P31 series reach 3500 and 3200 MB / s, respectively.
Indicators of random read and write are at the level of 570 and 600 thousand IOPS, respectively. Of course, when you go beyond the SLC cache, these values will be lower, but this behavior is typical for all SSDs based on TLC memory.
According to SK Hynix, the new items are ready to offer a level of quality similar to the Samsung 970 Evo, but at a more attractive price. The manufacturer gives a five-year guarantee on the devices, during which the terabyte model Gold P31 will withstand the recording of at least 750 TB of information.
SK Hynix Gold P31 drives are already on sale. For example, in the online store Amazon, the 500 GB model is offered for $ 75, and the 1 TB version is priced at $ 135. For comparison, now at a discount, the Samsung 970 Evo with a volume of 500 GB is offered there for $ 90 (from the initial $ 100), and the 1 TB version, also at a discount, is sold for $ 190 (from the initial $ 250).
Stacking memory cells in multiple layers on top of each other allows NAND flash memory manufacturers to create larger-capacity chips within the same area, which ultimately not only reduces the cost of their production, but also the retail price of products based on them for the end user. The launch of the world’s first consumer products based on 128-layer NAND memory chips by SK Hynix will definitely affect the pricing of similar solutions in the future. Samsung is currently working on 160-layer NAND memory chips, Intel is developing 144-layer memory, and China’s YMTC is developing 128-layer memory. But none of these manufacturers have yet introduced their finished products to the consumer market.
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