The SK Hynix Gold S31 Surprised Us in Capture One

Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, easy to digest posts.

Modern cameras are becoming more powerful with every new release. While this is fantastic news, it can also create problems. One such issue is the ever-growing size of both RAW and JPEG files. Long gone are the days of 10Mb files. Now, we routinely deal with file sizes in the 60Mb or higher range. Owning gear that can handle and store such large files is now something that has to be considered more carefully. Thankfully, you can buy high capacity, speedy SSD’s without destroying your bank account. We were sent the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD, and have been putting it through real-world tests. Will the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD help you generate a more efficient workflow? Find out in our quick review.

Tech Specs

All technical specifications have been taken directly from the product listing on Amazon.

  • Premium upgrades to your PC with SSD from global semiconductor powerhouse
  • Top tier speed, best-in-class sequential read speeds. Sequential read speeds up to 560MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 525MB/s
  • A leading-edge solution powered by in-house 3D NAND, controller, and DRAM
  • Superior reliability and stability (MTBF/TBW). 1.5 Million Hours MTBF, best-in-class 600 TBW (terabytes written)
  • 5-year warranty and rock-solid support from technology pioneer, now available to PC builders and upgraders
  • Avalable in 250GB ($45.98), 512GB ($60.98) and 1TB ($103.98) capacities

The SK Hynix Gold S31 1TB SSD

SK Hynix Gold S31

Prices of SSD’s (Solid State Drives) have been falling for some time. Performance and reliability, however, have been increasing. As working professionals, having efficient, and speedy workflows is essential. Speeding things up for yourself can be as simple as switching to SSD’s frokm traditional hard drives. I currently use an iMac, and because of Apple’s infinite wisdom, installing more storage is nigh on impossible. Fortunately, I had several external drive enclosures lying around that I could use with the 2.5-inch SATA SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD.

Once installed in the enclosure and connected to my iMac via a USB-C to USB-C cable, I initialized the drive. Initializing involved formatting the drive for macOS. If you use Windows-based PCs, you will need to do the same thing before the drive is registered. If you don’t need an enclosure and plan on installing into your PC directly, you’ll need to connect a SATA, and a power cable, as well as secure the drive in your case.

Benchmarking the SK Hynix Gold S31 1TB SSD

My traditional Western Digital external Hard Drive was sweating bullets.

Sitting alongside the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD is my trusty Western Digital 2TB external hard drive. This old dog is connected via USB 3.0. It’s a great drive, but because it’s an HDD, it really does slow things down in regards to importing and exporting images. My first test was a speed test that was conducted using Black Magic’s Disk Speed. The test is simple. The program reads and writes a set amount of data (I chose 3GB) to the drive and records the speeds. My old traditional external hard drive huffed and puffed as it dealt with the 3GB file transfer. The results? It had an average write speed of 101.3MB/s, and average read speeds of 103.8MB/s.

SK Hynix Gold S31

As you can see in the image above, the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD performed much better than my old HDD. The SSD was able to achieve average write speeds of 466.2MB/s and read speeds of 513.3Mb/s, so four and five times faster, respectively. These speeds are incredible, but they do fall a little short of the advertised 525MB/s read and 560MB/s write rates advertised. This, of course, might be because of the use inside an external enclosure. Still, the speeds are a vast improvement.

Real World Results

SK Hynix Gold S31

Benchmarks are adequate, but what about real-world use? I have seen significant speed boosts when using programs such as Capture One Pro 20 and Lightroom. You’ll also find that programs installed on the SSD will load much faster too.

Importing files into Capture One is speedy. I was able to import 11.82Gb of RAW files in 2 minutes, 9 seconds with the SSD. The same 11.82Gb of files imported to Capture One via my old hard drive took 3 minutes, 22 seconds. That’s a notable difference. It was a similar story in Lightroom too. With the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD, import time, including building the initial previews, was 1 minute, 18 seconds. Importing from my old external hard drive took 1 minute, 51 seconds. The differences might not sound huge, but the extra speed makes a lot of difference to the end-user.

Overall, I have to say I have been impressed with the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD. Being an SSD, it’s silent, it provides ridiculously fast data transfer rates, and it will save you time. A minute here and a minute there may not sound like much, but the time savings will add up with continued use. We tested the 1TB version of this SSD. This model has a price of $103.98. You can also get 250GB ($45.98), and 512GB ($60.98) models as well. If you need a speedy SSD to help you become more efficient, the SK Hynix Gold S31 is a solid choice. Want one? Visit Amazon to see the latest prices.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.