PNY CS 1311 240GB SSD Reviewccokeman -
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
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PNY CS 1311 240GB SSD Introduction:
For a time, solid state drives were for the most part out of reach from a budget standpoint for most users. That time has come and gone with improvements to technology, reliability, and adoption rates, thanks to the lower price points. As a way to improve overall system feel, a solid state drive cannot be beat as one of the biggest bang for the buck options when you update a system or start with a scratch built system on a budget. Budget being the key word here.
PNY has introduced the CS 1311 solid state drive to its product stack as a way to offer impressive drive speed on a budget. Rated to deliver sequential read/write performance of 550/520 MB/s on this 240GB drive, the PNY CS 1311 is no slouch when you look at read/write performance. Offered in capacities from 120GB to 960GB, the CS 1311 drive will fill just about any need. There are many solid state drives that perform on par with the rated performance of the CS 1311, but by using a lower cost controller and TLC NAND, PNY was able to make the CS 1311 a truly budget drive.
The 240GB sample I am looking at today is priced at just $64 from many retailers. If the drive delivers against its ratings, this drive will truly offer performance on a budget.
PNY CS 1311 240GB SSD Closer Look:
The full retail package for the PNY CS 1311 240GB solid state drive consists of a box inside a slide-in cover. Inside this box is the PNY CS 1311 drive with the included accessories. The installation guide sits atop the drive, while the drive spacer that increases the depth of the drive sits under the plastic shell. Pulling everything out of the box, you get a good look at what you get. Included on the installation guide is a key for Acronis True Image so that you can easily clone the drive you have, eliminating much of the hasssle associated with swapping or replacing drives when you are doing targeted upgrades, such as replacing a mechanical disk drive with a solid state drive.
PNY is giving the end user a little flash for their dollar. The aluminum housing on the drive is covered on top with a carbon fiber look decal that has the PNY logo and an identifier, in case you did not know that this is a solid state drive. The back side of the drive shows the company name in a large font. Underneath the PNY logo are a couple bar codes that identify the product name, PNY CS311 Solid State Drive, the 240GB capacity, and the physical serial number of this particular drive. At the upper right you get the firmware revision for this drive, which is CS131122.
Drive connectivity is standard for the 2.5 inch form factor, with a SATA 6Gbps data connection and a SATA power connection. The mounting lugs are, again, standard for the form factor and include mounting lugs on the bottom and side of the all-aluminum case. By using an aluminum case, the drive can shed some of its thermal load more easily to the air flowing through the chassis. One area where this drive deviates from the standard 2.5 inch form factor is in how deep the drive is. Traditionally, drives are in the 9mm thickness range, while this drive from PNY is only 7mm deep. To fit this drive more comfortably into a laptop, PNY includes a spacer that can be used to fill up that additional space in the drive carriage of the laptop.
When looking at a solid state drive, the internals are far more important than the external part of the equation. Finding out what's inside will, in almost every case, require you to void the warranty. To get inside the drive you have to void the warranty by cutting at least one of the warranty stickers and prying the drive apart with a screwdriver. Inside this drive is a 3/4 size PCB with eight 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND packages that make up the rated 240GB capacity. A PHISON PS3110-S10C quad-core, 8-channel controller is used to manage the data transfer to and from the 15nm TLC NAND. A 128MB DDR3 IC from Nanya is used for caching operations. To improve sequential performance, Phison uses a direct-to-die approach that bypasses the buffer and writes straight to the NAND. By doing so, write performance is significantly improved when using TLC NAND.
As a low cost drive, it will prove interesting to see just where this drive ends up in the comparison. As many manufacturers are jumping on the PHISON bandwagon, thanks to the availability of an all-in-one solution, it will be interesting to see where this all ends up.