Samsung 860 EVO vs. SK hynix Gold S31: Which SSD should you buy?

Sk hynix Gold S31 SSD
Sk hynix Gold S31 SSD (Image credit: Windows Central)

These two SATA III 2.5-inch SSDs are quite evenly matched when it comes to performance and durability, though some definitive differences may sway you one way or the other. Let's take a look at a breakdown of the exact specs you can expect to find from each SSD.

Samsung 860 EVO vs. SK hynix Gold S31 tech specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung 860 EVOSK hynix Gold S31
Capacity250GB, 500GB1TB, 2TB, 4TB250GB, 500GB1TB
InterfaceSATA III6Gb/sSATA III6Gb/s
ControllerSamsung MJXSK hynix Quartz
Warranty5 years5 years
Endurance150 TBW (250GB)300 TBW (500GB)600 TBW (1TB)150 TBW (250GB)300 TBW (500GB)600 TBW (1TB)

Performance and durability

Both the Samsung 860 EVO and SK hynix Gold S31 are 2.5-inch SSDs that use the SATA III interface. They use different types of NAND and their own proprietary controllers, but the end result for users is nearly the same. Both SSDs deliver a stellar performance, long-lasting endurance, and a five-year warranty to back it all up.

We were able to test both SSDs to see how well they perform, and from the results, it's clear that speeds are nearly on par.

Samsung 860 EVO (CrystalDiskMark)

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TestRead speedWrite speed
Seq Q32T1562.5 MB/s534.9 MB/s
4KiB Q8T8406.1 MB/s378.8 MB/s
4KiB Q32T1321 MB/s299.7 MB/s
4KiB Q1T141.89 MB/s115.5 MB/s

SK Hynix Gold (CrystalDiskMark)

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TestRead speedWrite speed
Seq Q32T1562.5 MB/s531.6 MB/s
4KiB Q8T8406.2 MB/s369.6 MB/s
4KiB Q32T1285.4 MB/s265.5 MB/s
4KiB Q1T132.04 MB/s100.9 MB/s

The above results are subject to fluctuation, but you can see how close read and write speeds are when testing with CrystalDiskMark. We also ran some tests with ATTO disk benchmark to see how performance measures as you scale up in file sizes.

Again, performance is nearly on par. The Gold S31 outperformed the 860 EVO with smaller file sizes, whereas the Samsung SSD was the winner with larger files sizes.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Comparing Terabytes Written (TBW) ratings, the 860 EVO and Gold S31 are even. The 250GB drives offer a 150 TBW, 500GB drives offer a 300 TBW, and 1TB drives offer a 600 TBW. That's where the Gold S31 caps out, whereas the 860 EVO includes options for 2TB and 4TB sizes, respectively, with 1,200 TBW and 2,400 TBW ratings. To put the 1TB TBW rating into perspective for both SSDs, you'd have to write about 330MB of data to the drive every day to hit the theoretical warranty ceiling. Most people won't come close to that number, so either drive is going to be a winner in terms of longevity.

One reasonably significant feature the 860 EVO has going for it is Samsung's Magician storage software. It's basic in its own right, but it monitors performance and optimization to ensure the drive is running to its full potential. It also has a Rapid Mode that pulls resources from other hardware in your PC to create the appearance of faster data transfer. It's still limited to the drive's performance ceiling, but it can make a difference in some systems.

The SK hynix Gold S31 does include a program to help you migrate data from your old drive to the new drive, but that's about it. So far, no support software equals what Samsung has done with Magician.

Pricing and size

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One of the biggest draws to SK hynix hardware is its more affordable price. A 250GB Gold S31 SSD costs about $10 less than a 250GB 860 EVO, while a 1TB Gold S31 costs about $31 less. Those of you building or upgrading a PC who want the absolute best processor and graphics card can shave off a few dollars to put towards the flashier hardware and still get a great SSD. Do note that a 500GB SSD from either manufacturer costs the same, so in that case, it's really up to your discretion. It might even come down to whether or not you want a black finish (Samsung) or silver finish (SK hynix) to match other PC internals.

Finally, if you'd like to maximize storage space from a single SSD, you'll have to stick with the 860 EVO. The Gold S31 tops out at 1TB, but Samsung's SSD is available in 2TB and 4TB sizes. You're going to pay dearly for the larger formats, but if you have limited space, you'll no doubt find it worth the money.

More people will find what they need with Samsung's 860 EVO

Thanks to more available sizes and similar performance, more people should find what they need with Samsung's 860 EVO. Included Magician software also makes it easier to get the most out of your SSD.

Save money and still get a winner with the SK hynix Gold S31

If you don't mind the lack of supporting software and think 1TB storage space is enough, you can save a considerable buck by going with the SK hynix Gold S31 SSD.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.