We've tested a number of Phison S10-based SSDs over the last year, and we've learned a lot from them along the way. First, the controller is proving to be very reliable. Thus far, we haven't had an issue with any of our production-class S10-based drives. Of course, the controller is just one part of the equation. Configuration matters in a device like this. Toshiba's A19 and 15nm MLC flash impart better performance than Micron's 16nm MLC NAND, so it pays to be informed when it comes time to shop.
Phison manufactures many of today's S10-based SSDs in a state-of-the-art factory known for producing reliable products. We never confirmed if the CS2211 comes from that location or PNY's own facility in New Jersey. Both are said to be excellent. And they must be, because the company feels strongly enough about the CS2211's quality that it arms the drive with a four-year warranty (more than any other S10-based drive).
PNY chose the best possible combination of components to pair with Phison's S10 controller, and in the process created one of the fastest drives we have in the lab with the S10 inside.
Under real-world conditions, the CS2211 delivers a solid experience. However, it still fails to outperform Samsung's venerable 850 EVO. This opens the door to a conversation about pricing and how PNY needs to make the CS2211 XLR8 more attractive. Right now, the 480GB CS2211 sells for $17 less than the 850 EVO 500GB on Amazon. Given that small delta, we think Samsung's 850 EVO is the better value. It offers a five-year warranty, superior performance and an extensive software suite that includes DRAM-based caching via Rapid Mode.