PNY XLR8 CS2111 240GB

We’re always on the lookout for a good solid-state drive. Whether it’s booting Windows in a snap, accessing files with little to no wait time, or quickly jumping into the action of our favorite games, nothing raises PC quality of life quite like an SSD. PNY’s family of XLR8 CS2111 drives promises to be the company’s best yet, so we were naturally excited to get our hands on one of them.

Obviously, the most important part of an SSD is what’s inside, but PNY made sure the CS2111 drives smolder on the outside, too. To wit, the housing of each SSD is stamped with a flaming tiger lunging toward … something. (Use your imagination—a flaming tapir, perhaps?) In any event, whereas many plain-Jane SSDs prefer to be stowed out of sight, PNY’s CS2111 SSDs demand that you figure out a way to put them on display. These are good-looking drives, people.

PNY XLR8 CS2111 240GB

PNY built the XLR8 CS2111 to be as ferocious as its exterior suggests. The drives rely on Silicon Motion’s SM2246EN storage controller, and PNY worked hand in hand with the top brains in SMI’s engineering department to develop firmware that takes full advantage of the SM2246EN controller. Considering a solid-state drive’s firmware is just as important as its controller and NAND, we love that PNY took the time to get this aspect of the CS2111 line right, too.

A lot of time went into validation, testing, and QC, as well. The early days of consumer SSDs were a lot like a Wild West gold rush, with many manufacturers haphazardly rushing to stake their claim to a very lucrative market. Too frequently the result was batches of bad, buggy drives. That isn’t the case with the CS2111, and we appreciate that PNY double- and triplechecked the SSDs before releasing them.

You can see the fruits of PNY’s labor in our performance chart. The company claims a 30% increase in sequential read performance, and that’s more than evident, highlighted by a lofty 537.7MBps sequential read in CrystalDiskMark. We also liked that SMI’s controller treats every workload equally, whether it’s handling compressible or incompressible data. In short, this predator is ready to scarf down any meal you put in front of it. For sale online for around $0.50 per gigabyte, the one thing this big cat won’t devour is your budget.

Specs: Sequential read/write (advertised): 555MBps/320MBps; Max 4K read/write (advertised): 71,000 IOPS/75,000 IOPS; Interface: 6Gbps SATA; Warranty: 2 years (plus 2 additional years with registration within 90 days of purchase).

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