PNY is a company who has been around for a long time, and was an extremely reliable name in flash memory and most of all, RAM. For a while, their popularity and product lines decreased, however, the company bounced back with new graphics card offerings, as well as a number of gaming and extreme high end enterprise SSDs. Today we have their extreme gaming SSD, the XLR8 PRO, let’s see how it fares!

COMPARISONS: We will be running our SSD COMPARISON ARTICLE after all SSDs have been reviewed individually. This comparison will compare all our SSD samples, so, this article will not contain any comparisons with other drives. We hope you return to read our full SSD comparison, to see which drive comes out on top!

The XLR8 PRO is PNY’s top of the line gaming SSD, however, they do have some extreme performance enterprise SSDs at the even higher end but at a premium price. This SSD uses the ever popular SandForce SF-2281 controller, which was the best consumer SSD controller at the time the SSD first released. PNY pride themselves in the fact that their SSDs are completely assembled in America, with parts being sourced both domestically and abroad. The drive comes in capacities of 120GB, 240GB and 480GB, however, we, as usual, are reviewing the 240GB offering today (to keep all comparisons between drives fair).

PNY’s drive uses Intel NAND, and, as you know, anything produced by Intel is made to last. Sixteen 3K P/E 25nm synchronous NAND packages, each with 16GB of storage (for a total of 256GB, with 16GB deserves as nCACHE) are attached to the PCB on the interior of the very stylish metal case which adorns the PNY XLR8 PRO SSD logo in silver, with the capacity of the drive engraved below it. In the US, registering the drive on PNY’s website will earn you a 5 year warranty, which is great for heavy users of the drive. Unfortunately, this offer is not extended to European users and they must stick with the standard three year warranty.

The SSD comes in a barebones format, however, versions with drive mounting kits are also available. Our review sample had simply the SSD and a short SATA cable. As you can see, the box shows the quality of the drive with a nice design and a clear layout of specifications. The 3K promise by PNY means that the company guarantees the drive will last for at least 3,000 cycles of the NAND. At 3,000 cycles, most consumer SSDs will have deteriorated and they will usually need to be upgraded for stability (of course, there are exceptions). PNY are guaranteeing that the drive will fully perform until at least 3,000 cycles.

On the back of the box, the company advertise up to 550MB/s sequential read speeds and 520MB/s sequential write speed, so, even though the drive has been released for quite some time, it is still competing with most high end drives on the market today. The company also showcase rather impressive 4K random read and write IOPS, both lying at up to 85,000 IOPS. PNY also state the MTBF (mean time between failures) stands at 1,200,000 hours and the power consumption is at a typical 2.5W with the drive using 50mW in sleep mode. The drive feels very solid and well built and is heavier than most SSDs. Unfortunately, the drive comes in a 9mm form factor, ruling out ultrabooks.

In regards to pricing, the 240GB version of the drive is currently available Amazon UK for £191.49, so, it is at the high end pricing for SSDs on Amazon UK. On Amazon US, the drive is available at a better price, retailing at $204.29 (both figures as of time of writing). This prices the drive at just under £0.80 per GB taking the Amazon UK figure, and $0.85 per GB, taking the Amazon US price. Both of these prices are at the high end, but does the PNY XLR8 PRO perform at the highest rate to match the considerable price premium? Let’s see…

It’s time for some benchmarks. Again, please note, all comparisons with other drives will be carried out at the end of the feature in our SSD comparison article.

ATTO Disk Benchmarking Tool
ATTO is one of the most trusted and reliable disk benchmarking utilities available. The figures given by ATTO are the most accurate way of identifying the drives maximum capability if it were pushed beyond real-use limits and brought to theoretical maximum performance. We saw the drive exceed the already high rated read and write speeds by quite a considerable margin – an impressive feat.

8192KB Read – 555.72MB/s
8192KB Write – 529.28MB/s

32KB Read – 451.66MB/s
32KB Write – 438.07MB/s

CrystalDiskMark is one of my personal favourites in regards to drive benchmarking, as it often gives a very accurate figure as to how your drive will perform if it is pushed to its limit, whereas you usually will not be able to reach the figures provided in ATTO manually. CrystalDiskMark tests sequential speed, as well as a number of random read/write tests for 512K and 4K. The XLR8 PRO dips a bit in this test, but still maintains impressive figures, especially in random transfers.

Sequential Read – 506.1MB/s
Sequential Write – 502.7MB/s

512K Read – 429.8MB/s
512K Write – 361.1MB/s

4K Read – 34.4MB/s
4K Write – 79.2MB/s

4K QD32 Read – 266.9MB/s
4K QD32 Write – 300.1MB/s

SiSoftware Sandra
SiSoftware Sandra is another tool used by many benchmarkers to see if the drive is consistent across multiple tests in different benchmarking tools. The drive does very well in both of the sequential transfer tests.

Sequential Read – 532.7MB/s
Sequential Write – 499.6MB/s

So, while the PNY XLR8 PRO may come at a bit of a price premium, the fact it includes the 3K guarantee, plus a 5 year warranty if you buy the product in the States make the drive very good value. The drive performs above its maximum rated speeds, and is consistent across the board. While it may have dipped in CrystalDiskMark, it is still performing at very impressive rates and the fact this product is still matching new release SSDs in performance makes a great impression. I think I’ll award the drive our gold award, as it is a great performing, durable drive, suitable for high end gamers.