Time To Upgrade: 10 SSDs Between 240 And 256 GB, Rounded Up

PNY XLR8 Pro And XLR8

PNY is another vendor recognized for its history in the memory market, and now competing in the SSD space as one of SandForce's partners. Borrowing from the XLR8 brand it applies to its enthusiast-class DDR3 modules, the company clearly wants to align itself with the high-end. 

Differentiation is achieved first by dividing its portfolio up between enterprise (Prevail) and consumer (XLR8) brands. Then, PNY splits each again. On the desktop side, we end up with the XLR8 and XLR8 Pro families. Both utilize 25 nm synchronous NAND from IMFT. Presumably, PNY arms its Pro drive with a more aggressive firmware able to boost sequential reads and writes, since its specifications indicate better performance.

Their bundles similarly include simple SATA cables. However, the XLR8 is only backed by three-year warranty coverage, while the XLR8 Pro's protection can be extended to five years simply by registering the drive.

It's a very good thing that PNY offers extra warranty coverage on the XLR8 Pro, since, in our testing, performance matches up with the XLR8 almost exactly in 4 KB random reads, 4 KB random writes, and 128 KB sequential reads.

Ramping up to a queue depth of 16 does see the XLR8 Pro take a small read in sequential reads (somewhere around 25 MB/s). Writing compressible data sequentially also favors the Pro model. But the end result isn't quite as pronounced as each drives spec sheet might have indicated, especially since workloads that apply high queue depths are very rare on the desktop. 

In the context of this review, the difference between XLR8 and XLR8 Pro doesn't matter much. The 240 GB Pro model doesn't seem to be readily available. But what about the 120 GB versions, which can be found pretty easily? With $25 separating them, make your choice based on the importance of five-year warranty coverage versus three, not on a promised performance gain.

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  • get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.
    23
  • Other Comments
  • get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.
    23
  • I agree. Unless if you're buying a glorified USB stick (there is a 128 GB stick) or an SSD with an OC'ed processor, the main factor that consumers should be concerned about is price per gigabyte.
    7
  • EDIT: And reliability.

    "In order to install a new firmware that significantly boost performance and stability, you must backup all of your data because it will be wiped."
    7
  • Yea, it’s getting a little out of hand. For 90% of the things 90% of people do on their PC, 200MBs+ read and write speeds just don’t mean much. There are too many other bottle necks going on. I messed around with a RAM drive using most of my 64GB of RAM and the read and write speeds are fun to test (4000MBs or so) but games and VMware sessions I launched from the RAM disc saw no noticeable improvement in launch times or anything else. Same goes for my 830 SSD drive. It’s fast but games and software I use for SCADA development just don’t see any real benefit. They are cool if you want to open 10 sessions of MS Word and 15 Internet Explorer and a bunch of other stuff at the same time but if you just open one instance of Excel and use it and the Photo Shop and use it and then a web browser and use it, you’ll never really see the difference. You have to benchmark it or have two PCs setting right next to each other to see that something started or saved a split second faster.

    At least with my 64GB of RAM and actually get 64GB of RAM unlike HDs and SSDs.
    1
  • unless the sandforce drive is priced a lot cheaper than the similar capacity non-sandforce SDD. I always choose the non-sandforce SSD. 16GB is a big deal in SSD.
    0
  • until theres affordable 512gb ssd's then i wont get 1, my c drive is 360gb~ and i have 11tb
    -9
  • TanquenYea, it’s getting a little out of hand. For 90% of the things 90% of people do on their PC, 200MBs+ read and write speeds just don’t mean much. There are too many other bottle necks going on. I messed around with a RAM drive using most of my 64GB of RAM and the read and write speeds are fun to test (4000MBs or so) but games and VMware sessions I launched from the RAM disc saw no noticeable improvement in launch times or anything else. Same goes for my 830 SSD drive. It’s fast but games and software I use for SCADA development just don’t see any real benefit. They are cool if you want to open 10 sessions of MS Word and 15 Internet Explorer and a bunch of other stuff at the same time but if you just open one instance of Excel and use it and the Photo Shop and use it and then a web browser and use it, you’ll never really see the difference. You have to benchmark it or have two PCs setting right next to each other to see that something started or saved a split second faster.At least with my 64GB of RAM and actually get 64GB of RAM unlike HDs and SSDs.


    to see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.
    2
  • Where are Samsung SSDs ? Especialy model Samsung 830- 256GB which is on sale in Europe for 160-180€. That is best offer, reliable, faster than basic 840. Get some MB with Z77 chipset and you can RAID them with TRIM support. 2x256 for 330€ is so awesome with 1035Mb/s read in RAID 0. I tested it on Gigabyte Z77-UP4 TH, its a shame that there are only 2x6Gbit ports so 1x840 Pro + 2x830 in RAID 0 is impossible on this MB without SATA2 speed loss on remaining SATA ports. This was my scenario for fast gaming /500GB Steam inventory/ : Raptor, later RAID 0 HDDs, later Velociraptor, next 128GB SSD + 1GB Samsung HDD cached by OCZ Synapse 64GB /totaly unreliable/. So I ended up with 1x boot SSD + 2x SSD in RAID 0. Maybe I am little bit offtopic but any ideas how to "live" with increased Steam inventory and keep it fast enough ? Steamover SW is not reliable for me. Thanks for nice article.
    9
  • Quote:
    When Thomas, Don, and Paul prioritize the parts for their quarterly System Builder Marathon configurations (the next of which is coming soon, by the way)

    Wait, SBMs are fine, but where oh where went BestConfigs?
    0
  • I went for a Vertex4 and placed it in my notebook. What a boost. I'd say it also helped improve battery life.

    For a Desktop, I don't have a particular use TBH. I have a RAID0 with 2x512GB WD's and it works amazingly good (and fast as well). I'd say, for desktops, SSDs are still not viable because of price, unless you clench your teeth with loading times or such, hahaha.

    Cheers!
    -10
  • ^ not loading times. But booting times, specially with a heavy AV like Kaspersky installed.
    0
  • I would agree with RAID 0 for your old SSD than simply tossing it for a newer larger SSD. My problem is 1TB HDD's just aren't cutting it especially if you game and use Window's backup; seeing the red space indicator caught me by surprise. I have a 180GB (167GB) and I'm 2/3 full.

    I have a 2 year old SSD and my 2x faster SSD for 95% of the time is negligibly shower for my everyday use. It's all about 4K random R/W for your OS and most apps.

    Ideally, the 'best' arrangement is SSD's for your boot drive and HDD's for storage; it's seamless once you change your default locations (Documents, Music, etc).
    0
  • why aren't there any Plextor SSD in the test area?
    1
  • Odd bottom of the barrel roundup here... Where are beasts like the Vertex 4 and 840 Pro?
    8
  • Too bad this price differences are IRRELEVANT for people outside the states. Europe, Canada, those guys get decent prices, but here in South America, retailers are like 'Hey check at this new thing, its fast, and 200% the price of an equal SSD bought in the States!'. They still sell 64gb SSDs and even then, they show them as a novelty.

    That is some bullshit >:c
    What, they pay shipping on golden vessels? Jeez
    5
  • The biggest leap from an HDD is simply buying an SSD. The speed difference between SSD isn't that big as of now if one buys a current gen or even last gen SSD. I have a OCZ Vertex R2 240GB in my desktop and I can see how fast applications launch compared to the response time of the HDD in there for storing data.
    1
  • azraaToo bad this price differences are IRRELEVANT for people outside the states. Europe, Canada, those guys get decent prices, but here in South America, retailers are like 'Hey check at this new thing, its fast, and 200% the price of an equal SSD bought in the States!'. They still sell 64gb SSDs and even then, they show them as a novelty.That is some bullshit >:cWhat, they pay shipping on golden vessels? Jeez



    I feel you bro. For me the shipping is about 2 times the product price, sadly I have found good reasons for high prices in my country, a government not allowing the entrance of merchandise to the country and bottlenecking the market just to a few in existence products.

    My next upgrade will be a SSD, but just a 128GB one.... Just for all that hassle.

    Good Review BTW :)
    2
  • Crucial M4 still shining in there with a very mature firmware..
    2
  • snato see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.


    Exactly.

    I haven't done the RAM drive thing because one that will truly benefit you requires the OS to be loaded on to it every time you start your computer, and I prefer to shut mine down when it's not in use (like, when I'm sleeping :) ). This takes much longer than it does to start up a computer without a RAM drive.
    0
  • mayankleoboy1get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.

    You're quite right with this ... however, there are limits to that: I've had a crucial v4 drive that slowed down my PC to speeds worse than what I had with my old mechanical 7200rpm drive (sequential read was speedy, but all the rest was crap and PC was continuously freezing for a couple of seconds).
    It was cheap for a SSD, but still 3x the price of a 5 times bigger mechanical drive that works faster. The replacement v4 SSD was not working any better: it was not a defective drive, it's just that its crappy low-cost controller didn't like my motherboard. The good thing: Crucial's support was very responsive, quickly aknowledged the problem and offered me a refund. Their M4 256Gb model that was only 20% more expensive works now like a charm in the same PC and Windows flies like never before.
    2