PNY CS2211 XLR8 SSD Review

PNY released two new consumer SSDs that employ Phison's S10 controller. Today, we're looking at the CS2211 model, sporting Toshiba MLC flash. This enthusiast-oriented drive was designed for gaming and 4K video.

Early Verdict

Even though the PNY CS2211 XLR8 SSDs outshine other S10-based products on the market today, they still do not compete well against the Samsung 850 EVO. PNY will need to lower the price to make the CS2211 more attractive to consumers shopping for the best overall value.


  • +

    The PNY CS2211 XLR8 uses the best components and delivers very good performance that would satisfy any gamer or mainstream computer user. The price for the 480GB version comes in under the 850 EVO 500GB, and the CS2211 offers the longest warranty of the S10-based SSDs.


  • -

    The price is still too high given what the Samsung 850 EVO sells for, making the EVO a better overall value. PNY will need to put more space between the two and look at more value-add accessories to make this drive stand out.

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Specifications, Pricing, Warranty And Accessories

PNY's CS2211 is another Phison S10-based SSD shipping with the latest (as of this writing) 1.6 firmware. The company equips its CS2211 with Toshiba's 15nm MLC flash, which we've shown to be faster than Micron's 16nm MLC NAND. Previously, we benchmarked the same controller with Toshiba's second-generation 19nm flash, comparing it to the 15nm stuff. The two deliver nearly identical performance, but we have noticed some variation in retail products.


MORE: Best SSDs For The Money 
MORE: Latest Storage News 
MORE: Storage in the Forums

The CS2211 SSDs use a common mix of controller, DRAM and flash. PNY does select the highest-performing components, at least. You'll find the CS2211 in three capacities: 240GB, 480GB and 960GB. The largest model started shipping after the two lower-capacity versions.

At each capacity point, performance changes slightly. The 240GB drive achieves lower sequential read and write throughput, topping out at 560 MB/s and 470 MB/s, respectively. The 480GB and 960GB models reach up to 565 MB/s reads and 540 MB/s writes. Random I/O also varies. The two higher-capacity drives outperform the smaller CS2211 in random reads, hitting 95,000 IOPS compared to 87,000. Then, the positions shift in random writes; the lower-capacity SSDs share a 95,000 IOPS spec, while the 960GB model peaks at 90,000 IOPS.

Pricing, Warranty And Accessories

Both Newegg and Amazon show the CS2211 selling at PNY's suggested retail price. The 240GB version goes for $70, while the 480GB is available at $130. Neither vendor has the 960GB SSD in stock, but PNY tells us to expect it right around $310.

The company protects these SSDs with a four-year warranty. We tried to find a mention of endurance limits tied to the coverage, but couldn't. This is the longest warranty we've seen accompanying an S10-based SSD, though it still falls short of the five-year protection Samsung includes with its 850 EVO.

PNY's CS2211 drives are compatible with its SSD update software, though the utility is only used for writing new firmware and doesn't include any other toolbox-like capabilities. Fortunately, Phison does offer its own app that works with the CS2211 drives, allowing you to run secure erase commands, check firmware status and view SMART information. 

Inside the box, you get a 7mm-to-9.5mm bracket. A bundled paper manual contains the product key for Acronis True Image HD, which lets you clone an existing drive to the CS2211. You simply have to download the software from PNY's website first.

A Closer Look

We expect to see the CS2211s in retail stores once availability improves. The drive's packaging does include performance data, which helps potential customers make more informed buying decisions.

Again, the paper manual has a key for Acronis True Image HD to help you transition an existing drive over to the CS2211.

PNY applies a sticker to the front of its drive. The finish is matte, and not as vivid as our picture makes it look. Holding the drive at an angle makes it a little easier to tell what it looks like.

All three capacities employ a 7mm-tall chassis, so they fit in notebooks requiring the slim form factor. 

Inside, we find Phison's S10 eight-channel controller, Toshiba 15nm flash and one Nanya DDR3 DRAM package running at 800MHz. The 480GB model uses 16 memory packages, eight on each side of the PCB. We often see desktop drives with eight packages in the 512GB-capacity class. Because PNY spreads reads and writes across more emplacements, you get the benefit of additional parallelization, improving performance.

The 240GB model does employ eight flash packages, four on each side of a much smaller PCB.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • ubercake
    Like the article states, it's hard to beat the Samsung 850 EVO price/performance/5-year warranty value. Simply because of the 5-year warranty on the 850 EVO in addition to their competitive performance, I bought my first non-pro edition of an SSD.
  • JQB45
    Warranty is the most important thing I consider when buying an SSD, then price, then speed.
  • xenomega
    I always try to buy from a company like PNY, that's based and manufactures in the USA. That's the most important thing I consider.
  • JQB45
    17816142 said:
    I always try to buy from a company like PNY, that's based and manufactures in the USA. That's the most important thing I consider.

    They might assemble the SSD here but both the controller and MLC Flash are designed and created in other countries.
  • mapesdhs
    Typo in the Comparison summary table, it says 850 Pro 500GB where presumably it should be 850 EVO 500GB.