Monday, May 27, 2024

New SSD Stick: The Potential of the SK Hynix Tube T31

M.2 on SSD Stick SK hynix Tube T31 Review

Sk hynix’s Tube T31 blurs the barrier between flash drives and external SSDs more than before. The South Korean storage giant calls its drive “a portable and high-speed USB SSD,” yet it features a “thumb-drive” form factor and a 10 Gbps USB-A connection that will be known to flash drive owners from the last 20 year.

Perhaps most crucially, the Tube T31 outperformed all other flash drives, including Kingston’s Data Traveler Max, in most tests. Despite not reaching 20 Gbps like other external SSDs, it’s the quickest USB-A flash drive they’ve tested and a solid contender on the Best Flash Drives list.

Only the Tube T31’s bulkiness and lack of a 2TB model bother me. If the 1TB model they tried cost $5-10 less, it would be easier to recommend. As of this writing, the SK hynix drive was selling for $85 on Newegg, $4 cheaper than the 1TB Kingston Data Traveler Max and $6 less than Transcends 1TB ESD 310C, two of the prior fast flash drive recommendations.

Tube T31 Specs

Product512GB1TB
Pricing$69.99$84.99
Interface / ProtocolUSB-A 3.2 Gen2USB-A 3.2 Gen2
Sequential ReadUp to 1,000 MB/sUp to 1,000 MB/s
Sequential WriteUp to 1,000 MB/sUp to 1,000 MB/s
Dimensions3.64 x 1.20x 0.55 inches (92.5mm x 30.5mm x 14mm)3.64 x 1.20x 0.55 inches (92.5mm x 30.5mm x 14mm)
Weight35 grams35 grams
Warranty3 years3 years

Exterior Design

Tube T31 package describes it as a vacuum tube-light bulb hybrid. The drive’s rounded edges and solid plastic case feel more like a beautiful lighter or a USB Wi-Fi dongle in the hand.

The drive’s matte-black plastic shell is basic except for the SK hynix logo and regulatory text on the rear. It appreciate that it’s comfy, familiar, and subtly quirky. It fits easily in most pockets because to its 0.55-inch thickness and rounded edges.

A metal shell would be great, but years of using other drives have taught me that plastic holds up better to minor bumps and scrapes. The manufacturer claims the drive can withstand two-meter falls.

Inside Tube T31

A metal spudger along the Tube T31’s exterior seams made entry easier. Remove the cover to reveal a 42mm M.2 SSD. That’s between the best Steam Deck SSDs’ 30mm size and the usual 80mm size for desktops and laptops. It’s an HFM001TD3HX015N EA PCIe 3.0 drive with a JMicron JMS583 USB bridge controller on the other side of the PCB.

SK Hynix placed metal plates on each side of the drive and controller, bridged with a small thermal pad, for cooling and structural rigidity. Even though an x2 controller and 10 Gbps USB-A interface slow the PCIe x4 disc, this solution performs well, as we’ll see in the next section.

Comparing Products

The 1TB SK hynix Tube T31 is pricey on Amazon at $99 (and $79 for the 512GB variant). Newegg’s 1TB T31 costs $84.99, undercutting the Kingston DatanTraveler Max and Transcend’s 1TB ESD 310C. The prior high-speed favourites, those two competing drives, will be intriguing to compare against the T31.

Since the Buffalo SSD-PUT is only 600 MBps, I expect the T31 to perform better. Since the Buffalo drive is typically on sale for $60–$65 for 1TB and less than $100 for 2TB, it’s a favourite for most people. Currently, the 1TB Buffalo drive costs $89.

A novel storage device, the SK Hynix Tube T31 combines the lightning-fast capabilities of an M.2 SSD with the portability of a USB flash drive.

Here is a brief summary of its main attributes:

Extreme Quickness:

  • Has an integrated M.2 NVMe SSD with read/write rates of over 1,000 MB/s, which is much quicker than conventional flash drives.
  • Superior in speed even compared to external SSD.

Style:

  • Has a plastic casing that resembles a big USB flash drive with a protective cap over the USB-A socket.
  • It’s heavier than a normal flash drive because of the inbuilt SSD, and it may block nearby USB ports on your device.
  • Lacks a lanyard loop, which may make it difficult for some users to carry about.

Additional Points to Consider

  • 512GB and 1TB capacity options are available.
  • Generally solidly constructed and feels durable.
  • There is no mention of data security encryption or associated software.
  • On some devices, USB-A connectivity may limit its speed in comparison to more recent USB standards.
  • All things considered, the SK Hynix Tube T31 is a fantastic choice for consumers who value mobility and quickness while doing things like moving big files or playing games from an external drive.
  • But other people might find its larger form size and absence of USB-C to be disadvantages.

Conclusion

SK Hynix’s choice of a PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD, x2 controller, and 10 Gbps USB-A port is strange. Internal drives and USB-C ports can be speedier. Faster speeds may have required more complex or robust cooling. It’s true that 10 Gbps USB-A ports are more frequent than 20 Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen2 2×2) ports (which are backward compatible). Perhaps the firm prioritized compatibility and convenience over performance.

Luckily tested no faster USB-A “flash drive” or “SSD stick” than the Tube T31. It’s easy to recommend for a portable drive without 20 Gbps speeds or a capacity beyond 1TB. Its size may impede nearby ports. On a PC, you probably have a few empty USB-A ports.

Cheekuru Bhargav
Cheekuru Bhargav
Cheekuru Bhargav has been writing Laptops, RAM and SSD articles for govindhtech from OCT 2023. He was a science graduate. He was an enthusiast of Laptops.
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