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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
PNY XLR8 PRO Solid State Drive
Closer Look: PNY XLR8 PRO SSD
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
PNY XLR8 PRO SSD Conclusion

PNY XLR8 PRO Solid State Drive Review

Manufacturer: PNY Technologies Inc.
Product Name: XLR8 PRO SSD
Model Number: SSD9SC120GCDA-RB (120GB), SSD9SC240GCDA-RB (240GB), SSD9SC480GCDA-RB (480GB)
UPC: 751492536248 (120GB), 751492536262 (240GB), 751492536286 (480GB)
Prices: 120GB (Newegg), 240GB (Newegg), 480GB (Newegg)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by PNY.

Not many Solid State Drive manufacturers offer a five-year full-replacement product warranty, but PNY does. Built in the USA, the PNY XLR8 PRO SSD series combines a second-generation LSI/SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6Gb/s controller with fast IMFT-branded NAND flash components to produce up to 85,000 IOPS. PNY has tweaked the XLR8 PRO SSD-series to deliver transfer speeds up to 550 MB/s read and 520 MB/s write. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests these claims, and compares XLR8 PRO SSD performance to competing storage solid-state solutions to find out which SSD is best.

The second-generation SF-2281 SSD processor maintains all of the original core technology SandForce originally introduced in the SF-1200 series, but now improves SSD performance with 20% faster IOPS and 40% faster sequential read/write throughput. They've enhanced BCH ECC capability, and the new processor now supports ATA-7 Security Erase. Finally, the new SF-2200 series implements cost-effective 20nm-class NAND flash from all leading flash vendors with Asynch/ONFi1/ONFi2/Toggle interfaces.

PNY-XLR8-PRO-SSD-Angle.jpg

Solid State vs Hard Disk

Despite decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component of any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; usually the hard drive.

In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, consider then that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: PNY XLR8 PRO Solid State Drivekzinti1 2012-11-05 23:02
I just checked NewEgg for the length of warranty on all 3 sizes of these SSD's that you've listed.
They each have a 3 year warranty. Not 5 years as you've stated.
NewEgg also doesn't even sell the 240GB XLR8 Pro SSD. The link you gave is for a completely different PNY SSD.
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# 3 years + 2 yearsalfesco 2012-11-06 02:26
Page 3 states that if you register the drive at PNY you get an extra two years.
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# RE: RE: PNY XLR8 PRO Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2012-11-06 06:36
I mention three times how registration at the PNY website will extend the three-year warranty to five years. A little reading goes a long way.
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# You're wrong, wrong, wrongRyan 2013-12-18 21:03
Er, you didn't check carefully enough. PNY has ALWAYS extended their SSDs' warranty an additional 2 year if you register, making it 5 years total. This was clearly stated on NewEgg. Duh.

And yes, NewEgg did sell the 240GB XLR8 Pro SSD in November of 2012, when you posted that message. I know because I bought and installed three of them. And now,a year later, it's on sale for $129.

##newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-178-453&nm_mc=EMC-GD121813&cm_mmc=EMC-GD121813-_-index-_-Item-_-20-178-453
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# product qualitydb 2014-01-16 22:28
how has the quality of this product held up the past year? is this a steal at $129?
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# RE: product qualityOlin Coles 2014-01-17 05:33
The PNY XLR8 PRO has been a SOLID performer, with no problems whatsoever. The 128GB version is only $80 after discounts, but I recommend something at leat 240GB or larger.
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# XLR8 is OK by me,.....realneil 2012-11-06 06:23
Good review,....I'll buy one or two of these when the prices relax a little.
I bought a few XLR8 GTX-570s and they have turned out to be excellent video cards.
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