I was looking to upgrade my SSD from the Western Digital SN750 250GB that I currently have, and I wanted to share some interesting options that I’ve found. Might be compelling, especially for those who cannot get ahold of the much-loved SK Hynix Gold P31! Unfortunately, it can be a bit hard to come by in Canada, the best option I’ve found is to import a 500GB one from the US for 102 CAD on Amazon…
Not to spoil what I’ve found (even though I’ve already done that in the title ), but it looks like there are two compelling options from Solidigm, which is owned by SK Hynix but was previously responsible for Intel’s SSD division. It doesn’t look like there’s much discussion of this brand here on the Framework forum, so here we go!
Now, SK Hynix itself has a drive called the Platinum P41, which can make things pretty confusing. Here’s the basic gist of the SSDs I’m gonna discuss in this post:
SK Hynix Gold P31 - 128L TLC | DRAM | PCIe 3.0
SK Hynix Platinum P41 - 176L TLC | DRAM | PCIe 4.0
Solidigm P41 Plus - 144L QLC | DRAM-less Hybrid pSLC Cache | PCIe 4.0
Solidigm P44 Pro - 176L TLC | DRAM | PCIe 4.0
Basically, the Solidigm P41 Plus is a successor to Intel’s 670p, targeting general use applications. Tom’s Hardware review is here.
This community post about the Platinum P41 discussed its efficiency. It seems that under sustained loads, the Gold P31 consumes less power, but since it is much slower it will take a longer time to finish an operation, meaning that total efficiency is better on the Platinum P41. For those who want the speed of the Platinum P41 but were put off by its price, the P44 Pro sounds like a pretty solid option.
The Solidigm P41 Plus, while being much slower, actually has better idle power consumption than the Platinum P41 and P44 Pro. To quote the review:
The 2TB P41 Plus has good idle power consumption, and although this matters most in battery-limited laptops, any proper NVMe drive should pull very little power when idle. Still, every bit helps on a desktop. In terms of efficiency, however, the P41 Plus is merely average. It does beat the older QLC drives but falls short of the P3 Plus, SN770, and Platinum P41. On the other hand, the Crucial P3, not shown here, proved to be super-efficient as a PCIe 3.0 version of the P3 Plus.
This is still a good showing, and we would absolutely recommend the P41 Plus for laptop use. However, there are reasons why it would be less efficient than the P3 Plus. We’ve already mentioned controller differences earlier in the review. There are also flash differences, including the I/O rate and architecture. For example, charge trap flash may be more power-efficient with simpler programming, although many potential factors exist. It’s possible Micron’s 176-layer QLC is a bit more efficient.
The Crucial P3 is the most efficient drive we’ve yet tested, besting not only the P3 Plus but also the Platinum P41. As we predicted, the peak power consumption is also lower than the P3 Plus. The Gold P31, the “gold” standard for PCIe 3.0 efficiency, still does pretty well.
I find this pretty interesting! The P3 and P3 Plus are both DRAM-less and use the same QLC flash and controller, but the Plus is PCIe 4.0 while the regular P3 is PCIe 3.0. However, the lower endurance in Micron’s flash here does make me feel a little bit wary… The 500GB P3 variants have only 110TBW of endurance, compared to the 500TBW on the 500GB Platinum P41 and 200TBW on the 512GB Solidigm P41 Plus. Despite this, I think they could still be rather compelling alternatives, especially since Crucial SSDs are very easy to get in Europe as far as I can tell!
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a drive that quite has the same mix that makes the SK Hynix Gold P31 so good: DRAM, 4-lane controller, PCIe 3.0 for power savings, great performance, good endurance, incredible efficiency.
All of this is to say that I haven’t really made up my mind on what SSD I should get Has anyone here had experiences with these drives? What are your thoughts on them, especially compared to the SK Hynix Gold P31? Hopefully these options can maybe help those who can’t get their hands on a P31 or are looking for great efficiency but feel limited by the P31’s PCIe 3.0 interface.