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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 SSD Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Compared to toggle and asynchronous components used in older solid state products, synchronous NAND flash used in new products like the PNY XLR8 PRO represent the future of consumer-level solid state drives. Not only are these components fast, but they maintain better performance throughout the product's lifetime. Compared to toggle and asynchronous NAND flash, synchronous components resist performance degradation as storage capacity is filled. Add this to an already-impressive SandForce SF-2281 solid state processor, and there's a good chance you'll have enough speed and performance to last the drive's lifetime.

Our performance rating considers how effective the PNY XLR8 PRO solid state drive performs in operations against direct competitor storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-2281 controller capable of 500 MB/s maximum read/write speeds, which PNY increases to 550/520 MB/s read/write for uncompressed data on all XLR8 PRO models. In our storage benchmark tests, the PNY XLR8 PRO solid state drive (model SSD9SC240GCDA-RB) performed at or above this speed, and competed with the fastest products previously tested. Our test results proved the PNY XLR8 PRO was good for delivering 559/533 MBps peak read/writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark. Linear testing with Everest Disk Benchmark produced 491/476 MB/s, placing the PNY XLR8 PRO at the top of our SATA SSD results.

The 240GB retail kit sent us for testing advertises up to 85,000 maximum combined IOPS, although it is unclear what tools were used to produce this figure. Using a SandForce-provided configuration for our own Iometer operational performance tests, we used a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target that measured 74,179 combined IOPS performance. In this test, the PNY XLR8 PRO performed well and positioned itself among the highest-I/O products. In the 4K 32QD tests with AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the PNY XLR8 PRO continued to match up to enthusiast storage solutions like the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition.

PNY-XLR8-PRO-SSD-Angle.jpg

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, SSDs are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. PNY uses a textured metal finish on their XLR8 PRO-series SSDs, which hides smudges and fingerprints very well. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. This isn't the case yet, and a metal chassis suits SandForce SSDs nicely.

Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to the entire SSD product segment, and PNY believes their XLR8 PRO-series is no exception. The PNY XLR8 PRO solid state drive is covered by an industry leading five-year warranty (three years standard warranty, plus two additional years with registration at http://www.pny.com/). Aside from a fairly extensive FAQ section, there are no online discussion forums, technical support chat, or local telephone service numbers available.

Because so many SandForce products are physically identical to each another, the overall value tends to focus on price, warranty, and customer support. As of mid-October 2012, the PNY XLR8 PRO solid state drive is available online in the following capacities and prices:

  • 120GB Model SSD9SC120GCDA-RB: $130 (Newegg)
  • 240GB Model SSD9SC240GCDA-RB: $205 (Newegg)
  • 480GB Model SSD9SC480GCDA-RB: $460 (Newegg)

XLR8 PRO's 2nd-generation LSI/SandForce SF-2281 SSD controller delivered performance among the fastest SATA-based storage solutions we've tested, but like many hardware enthusiasts I am more concerned about solid state drive durability. Of the SSDs that have failed on me in the past, most problems occur after the product warranty expires. PNY's standard three years product warranty is better than most, especially since most failures occur in the first year, but by merely registering your solid state product it receives an extended five-year warranty. For its top-level performance, reasonable price, and 5-year extended product warranty, the PNY XLR8 PRO solid state drive series earns our Golden Tachometer Award for excellence.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Outstanding 559/533 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ Produced 74,179 combined 4K IOPS
+ Among the fastest SATA-based SSDs available
+ TCG OPAL security with 256-bit AES encryption
+ Uses synchronous NAND flash components
+ SandForce SF-2281 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Enthusiast-level operational I/O performance
+ 5-Year extended PNY product warranty support
+ Available in 120/240/480GB storage capacities
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:

- Limited community support
- Expensive enthusiast-level product

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.75
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 8.00

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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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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