PCWorld (USA)

SK Hynix Platinum P41 SSD: The pursuit of affordable speed

This top-tier PCIE 4 SSD performs on par with the best around, and is nicely affordable.

- BY JON L. JACOBI

The SK Hynix Platinum P41 was a pleasant surprise. With many upper crust PCIE 4.0–based 2TB NVME drives still going for $300 plus, the $260 price tag for the P41 had me thinking it would be an overpriced mid-tier SSD. Instead it turned out to be a nicely priced, top-shelf drive with exceptiona­l performanc­e. My bad. Good on ya, SK Hynix!

DESIGN, PRICE, SPECS

As stated, the 2TB Platinum P41 I tested retails for $260, while the 1TB costs $150, and the 500GB, $105. Those are relatively

low prices, representi­ng a clear savings over the Seagate Firecuda 530 ( fave. co/3vs8hyl), one of the ultra-fast PCIE 4.0 drives I tested it against. The other rival, Kingston’s KC3000 ( fave.co/3otxllh), is another bargain of a top-tier drive and one of our favorites because of it.

As to the specs: The Platinum P41 is a standard 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor, M.2 connected, PCIE 4 x4 NVME SSD utilizing 176-layer TLC NAND and SK Hynix’s Aries controller. There’s also 1GB of DRAM per 1TB of capacity of primary cache. Secondary cache is TLC as SLC and allotted. The drive is warrantied for 5 years, or 1200 TBW (Terabytes that can be Written) for the 2TB model, 750 TBW for the 1TB, and 500 TBW for the 500GB drive.

Why the reverse slope on the rating, we can’t say. But TBW generally correlates to price. Unless the company specifical­ly disables writes once the limit is reached (as Apple does), then

you might get a considerab­ly longer lifespan.

Keep in mind that those TBW ratings represent far more data than the average user will write in five years, and more likely a decade (assuming that you’re not constantly manipulati­ng 8K video or something like that). Remember also that reads don’t count.

SK Hynix also provides its Drive Manager software for firmware upgrades and the like. Shown is the older version, 2.4, as we were unable to complete a download from the company’s website. It kept stalling at approximat­ely 15MB of the 63MB download. Bummer.

PERFORMANC­E

While the P41 is fast, it fell just shy of the fastest PCIE 4 NVME SSDS we’ve tested as you’ll see in the charts below. When I say “just,” I mean it. It isn’t a difference worth fretting over. You’d never be able to tell the Platinum P41 from the highly ranked Kingston KC3000 ( fave.co/3otxllh) and Seagate Firecuda 530 ( fave.co/3vs8hyl), at least not subjective­ly.

Note that these are new tests run under Windows 11, and the numbers for the Kingston and Seagate will vary from those found in the original reviews.

The P41 finished slightly behind its rivals in Crystaldis­kmark 8’s sustained write tests. The reads were nearly equal, and are within the margin of error for the test. The P41 was also a few seconds off the pace in our real-world 48GB transfers, but we’re talking a mere 1.5 percent deficit. Again, it was subjective­ly unnoticeab­le, though just outside the margin of error.

In our 450GB write test, designed to test the drive’s secondary cache, the P41 finished in a dead heat with the Kingston, and a mere 6 seconds behind the Firecuda 530. Second-tier drives will take 400 to 600 seconds to complete the test, and the slowest SSDS saddled with poor caching algorithms can take over 1,000 seconds. In other words, 223 seconds is a really fantastic score.

As you can see from the results above, the Platinum P41 can hold its own with the best PCIE 4 NVME SSDS.

PCIE 4 SSD tests currently utilize Windows 11 64-bit running on an MSI MEG X570/AMD Ryzen 3700X combo with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHZ DDR4 modules, a Zotac (Nvidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIE graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM3242 USB 3.2×2 card. Copy tests utilize an Imdisk RAM disk using 58GB of the 64GB total memory. The SSD is reformatte­d and optimized (TRIM’D) before every test.

Note: Performanc­e will drop as the drive fills up and smaller-capacity drives may not write as quickly, especially on long writes due to less primary and secondary cache.

BOTTOM LINE

Though this isn’t the fastest SSD we’ve tested, it’s darn close. With an ultracompe­titive price and exceptiona­l performanc­e, the SK Hynix Platinum P41 should be on your short list when shopping for a top-tier NVME SSD with PCIE 4 chops. Highly recommende­d.

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 ?? ?? SK Hynix’s Drive Manager software can be used to update firmware and other tasks. We were unable to complete the download from the company’s site and had to look elsewhere for it.
SK Hynix’s Drive Manager software can be used to update firmware and other tasks. We were unable to complete the download from the company’s site and had to look elsewhere for it.
 ?? ?? SK Hynix’s Platinum P41 doesn’t share its metal namesake’s price. It’s the most affordable top performer we’ve had our hands on.
SK Hynix’s Platinum P41 doesn’t share its metal namesake’s price. It’s the most affordable top performer we’ve had our hands on.
 ?? ?? Though it was a tad shy of the other two drives in sustained write performanc­e under Crystaldis­kmark 8, the P41’s write performanc­e was within the test’s margin of error. This is a very good performanc­e.
Though it was a tad shy of the other two drives in sustained write performanc­e under Crystaldis­kmark 8, the P41’s write performanc­e was within the test’s margin of error. This is a very good performanc­e.
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