SK hynix Tube T31 1TB Portable SSD Review - The King of USB Type-A

The SK hynix Tube T31 is a USB Type-A only portable SSD that is among the highest performing of any USB-interfaced devices we've ever tested.

Published
Updated
Manufacturer: SK hynix (SSDT31BHM24011900333)
4 minutes & 16 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 98%
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The Bottom Line

It's the King of USB Type-A and absolutely gaming royalty.

Pros

  • + USB Type-A compatibility
  • + Throughput
  • + User experience
  • + PS5 / Xbox gaming performance

Cons

  • - None

Should you buy it?

AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy

Introduction & Drive Details

These days it's a rare occasion when we get a USB Type-A only storage device in the lab. But that's exactly what we've got on the test bench today. Now usually this could be a boring and lackluster test session considering the performance that USB Type-A storage devices typically signal. However, not this time, because what we have in the Tube T31 is a whole lot of completely unexpected awesomeness.

The Tube T31 is positioned as a universal plug-and-play gaming storage device compatible with any PC or console that has a USB Type-A port. The standard USB-A connector is compatible with PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox X/S, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. Basically, whatever you game on. Stated positive attributes include onboard DRAM to keep consistent performance as the drive fills up and it maintains fast reliable speeds even when full. It's also cool running and rugged - capable of withstanding drops of up to 2 meters onto a steel plate.

The Tube T31 has a transfer rate of 10Gbps with sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,000MB/s, making it one of the fastest Type-A external stick drives currently on the market. Throughput of 1,000 MB/s is certainly nothing that's going to distinguish the Tube T31 from its competitors, what distinguishes this masterpiece from the rest is its gaming prowess where low queue depth random reads mean a lot more than sequential throughput.

Drive Details

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The flattened torpedo shaped drive is sized and shaped in a pocket friendly manner, making it easy to pocket and retrieve. It feels good in the hand as well. It's noticeably cool to the touch even when maintaining sustained transfers. It's a bit different than anything we've come across before, but we've come to love it.

Buy at Amazon

SK hynix Tube T31 1TB Stick Type SSD with DRAM

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$99.99$99.99$99.99
Buy at Newegg
$99.99$99.99$99.99
* Prices last scanned on 6/19/2024 at 2:27 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic

CrystalDiskMark

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SK hynix Tube T31 1TB Portable SSD Review - The King of USB Type-A 08
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1.090 MB/s is the highest throughput we've attained from any USB Type-A interfaced device. While that is mildly impressive on its own, we find its Thunderbolt-like Q1T1 random read performance stunning. This gives us a strong synthetic indication that the Tube T31 will deliver spectacularly as gaming storage. Impressive.

ATTO

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ATTO demonstrates the Tube T31 1TB is capable of delivering full sequential throughput at 256K transfers at the standard test queue depth of 4. Excellent.

Blackmagic

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When serving data to the host (reading), we find our test subject delivering more than any similarly interfaced device we've ever tested, and the same goes for programming (writing) data. The drive shows itself capable of keeping up with just about any video file format you would want to use.

Real-World Testing: PCMark 10, 3DMark SSD Gaming & Transfer Rates

PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark

The Data Drive Benchmark is designed to test drives that are used for storing files rather than applications. You can also use this test with NAS drives, USB sticks, memory cards, and other external storage devices.

The Data Drive Benchmark uses 3 traces, running 3 passes with each trace as follows:

  • Copying 339 JPEG files, 2.37 GB in total,?into?the target drive (write test).
  • Making a copy of the JPEG files (read-write test).
  • Copying the JPEG files to another drive (read test).
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Best-in-class performance here. It's the best we've ever attained from any Type-A USB device. Impressive.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing. In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSDs gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to most DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. We are now including gaming performance as a part of our external SSD reviews, as using portable storage for gaming duties is very popular among avid gamers.

Ultra-portable, fully compatible storage is a nice complement to any console or PC gaming device. This is where you find the true calling of the Tube T31 - gaming. Not only is it by far the best USB Type-A gaming device we've ever encountered, but it's also overall the seventh-best portable gaming storage device we've ever tested, including Thunderbolt and USB4. Incredible.

DiskBench - Transfer Rates

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We brutalize our test subjects with our extremely hard-to-swallow 100GB data block. This data block is the same one we use for our internal SSD testing and comprises more than 62K files. 100GB is probably right at the upper limit for a single transfer, so as we see it, this is a much more realistic test scenario than a sustained filling of the entire drive. Overall, our test subject delivers average transfer rates, which are simultaneously the best we've encountered for a USB Type-A-only interfaced device.

Final Thoughts

We weren't expecting much when we realized the Tube T31 is a USB Type-A only SSD. 1,000 MB/s throughput, blah-blah-blah, it's compatible, blah-blah-blah. But, boy, were we mistaken. The Tube T31 is so awesome. We cannot get enough of this thing. It does everything we want from a portable gaming SSD. It runs cool, doesn't slow down as it fills up, and, most importantly, it's a gaming juggernaut because of its superior QD1 random reads.

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It's the King of Type-A and a Hall-of-Fame gamer, earning it our highest award. Editor's choice.

Photo of product for sale

Performance

100%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

90%

Overall

98%

The Bottom Line

It's the King of USB Type-A and absolutely gaming royalty.

TweakTown award
98%

SK hynix Tube T31 1TB Stick Type SSD with DRAM

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$99.99$99.99$99.99
Buy at Newegg
$99.99$99.99$99.99
* Prices last scanned on 6/19/2024 at 2:27 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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