PNY XLR8 PRO SSD review

PNY XLR8 PRO SSD review

PNY is an American flash storage company and nVidia graphics card partner. It offers two ranges of solid-state drives, Prevail for enterprise applications (low power, longer endurance) and XLR8 for gaming and media enthusiasts. Additionally the XLR8 has a PRO option which carries a ‘3k promise', referring to 3000 program/erase (P/E) cycles – storagespeak for the number of times an SSD's block can be erased and written to. While that may look impressive – why else would PNY draw it to your attention? – remember that previous generations of MLC flash offered 5000 or more P/E cycles, while SLC exceeds 50,000. See all Storage reviews.

The XLR8 PRO is the only drive in this test to use a SandForce controller, once far more ubiquitous, but not so popular due to reported reliability issues and the emergence of faster and stable competition. See Group test: what's the best SSD (solid-state drive)?

With the SandForce SF-2281 controller and Intel 25nm MLC, PNY can list up to 550 MB/s read, 520 MB/s write speeds, and 85,000 random read/write IOPS. Take a look at the Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD review too.

On the testbench we didn't see those kind of IOPS figures, even if sequential transfers actually exceeded the advertised. From AS SSD with its 64-thread 4kB random test, reads only reached 54.2k and writes – unusually higher – at 60.2k IOPS. CDM pegged the drive's peak IOPS higher again at 67.3k (writes again), if still far short of the hoped-for 85k figure.

CDM's sequential tests showed the classic shortfall between synthetic and real-world data transfer speeds – 490/492 MB/s for read and writes with a string of zeroes; 495 and just 324 MB/s with random data.

AS SSD also scored this drive lowly overall with a 758-point score. But ATTO's straightforward sequential drag-race challenge put the XLR8 PRO up among the fastest SATA SSDs you'll find: 555 MB/s read and the highest sequential write result here of 530 MB/s.

PNY XLR8 PRO: Specs

  • Capacity: 240 GB
  • Controller: SandForce 2281
  • Encryption: AES 128-bit
  • Flash: Intel synchronous-mode 3k P/E rated MLC
  • Firmware update support: Firmware Update software for Windows
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price per gigabyte: 90p
  • Capacity: 240 GB
  • Controller: SandForce 2281
  • Encryption: AES 128-bit
  • Flash: Intel synchronous-mode 3k P/E rated MLC
  • Firmware update support: Firmware Update software for Windows
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price per gigabyte: 90p

OUR VERDICT

Support is limited, media files will transfer slower than advertised and the price is far from competitive. But PNY XLR8 PRO carries the SandForce 2281 controller and fast Intel flash which can provide decent results, if less impressive when set against the current 2012/2013 generation of SSDs.

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