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PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 NVMe Gen4x4 SSD (2TB) Review

With the advancement of technology, M.2 SSDs have been widely used in desktop computers and laptops, from SATA to PCIe specifications. The features are nothing more than a small size and excellent performance! For gamers, the speed of the game’s loading is of course important in the face of a single game with tens of GB, but the capacity should not be wronged. It is obvious that the development direction of the M.2 SSD is to have both high speed and large capacity. It is a great honor to have the opportunity to experience the CS3140 M.2 NVMe SSD launched by XLR8 Gaming, a Gaming brand under (PNY), has a taste of the pleasure brought by high-speed and large-capacity gaming SSDs.

Speaking of the American brand PNY, it may be that it entered the international market not long ago, and it may be a little strange to some consumers. The American PNY brand looks like a newcomer but is actually a veteran. The first-line brand is very well-known, mainly engaged in the production and sales of storage devices, graphics cards, and other hardware. In fact, this brand can often be seen on domestic e-commerce platforms, mainly in the storage field such as memory sticks, solid-state drives, and U disks products.

PNY recently launched the XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD, which support the latest PCIe 4.0 technology, and the nominal maximum read speed can reach 7,500 MB/s and write speed up to 6,850 MB/s. So how fast is the actual read and write speed of this solid-state drive? How about the performance and reading and writing stability? Next, we will tell you through the actual test.

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Packaging and Unboxing

The appearance of packaging box adopts a red and black two-tone design, with a solid-state drive design pattern printed on the front, and the maximum read and write speed of the solid-state drive and the words of the five-year warranty are printed on the bottom. The five-year warranty is worthy of praise. In particular, the 2TB capacity version of this solid-state drive! for example, the writing life is 1400TBW, so basically there is no need to worry about the writing life of the SSD.

From the label on the back of the package, we can know that the SSD is produced in Taiwan, and the manufacturer is PNY Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. Speaking of the name of the manufacturer, I think it is necessary to mention that PNY is a brand from the United States. So far, it has 35 With a history of more than 10 years, in addition to SSD, it also has product lines such as graphics cards, memory, and memory cards. At the end of the article, there is an introduction to the brand, and interested friends can learn more about it.

The topic comes back to the product itself, there are no other accessories in the box except for the SSD.

Closer Look

Take the SSD out of the package, and you can see that the main control chip and flash memory chips are blocked by the sticker, and some product models – PNY XLR8 CS3140 are printed on the sticker. There is also a layer of stickers on the back. Some product information about the SSD is concentrated on the stickers on the back, and some certification information about this SSD is also printed on the stickers.

The front and back of PNY XLR8 CS3140 are labeled with PNY brand LOGO, model specifications, and other information. And below the label is the main control and flash memory chip. PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD adopts the standard M.2 2280 size specification and adopts the layout design of double-sided particles, probably considering that most motherboards come with cooling vests for solid-state drives, so SSD does not come with a cooling heatsink.

CS3140 is a high-end SSD produced by PNY’s gaming brand XLR8. It has a PCIe 4×4 interface compatible with NVMe 1.4, (NVMe protocol is 1.3) has an ultra-wide transmission channel, and provides 10 times faster than traditional SATA solid-state drives. In terms of transmission experience and capacity, PNY XLR8 CS3140 comes with 3 capacity options: 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. The official reading and writing speeds can reach up to 7500 MB/s and 6850 MB/s respectively, allowing you to boot and read applications faster, and the system performance is further improved to make the workflow smoother. PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 NVMe SSD is highly reliable, more durable, and officially provides a five-year product warranty.

I think 1TB is enough for most users to make a system, and it is not a problem to save several large files on the desktop, but I hope it can play a role in the gaming experience More performance, so I got 2TB, of which 1TB is dedicated to storing the games I often play.

Disassemble

Next, PNY XLR8 CS3140 2TB is not difficult to disassemble, because there is no additional heatsink. You only need to gently peel off the labels on both sides. Since the model of the main control and flash memory of the SSD cannot be queried through software, the core components inside can be seen directly by removing the label on the surface. If the warranty label is damaged If it is damaged, the five-year warranty service will be gone with the wind. It is not recommended that you remove the warranty label on the surface.

In particular, the overall design of the PCB is black, without too much stylization. This PNY CS3140 2TB M.2 SSD comes with two DDR4 cache chips, one on the front and one on the back. Cache, the upper side is the power conversion chip of the SSD, and the model is PS5018-E18. PNY XLR8 CS3140 adopts the new PS5018-E18 controller released by Phison this year, TSMC’s 12nm process, built-in 32bit ARM Cortex R5 three-core processor, and dual CoXProcessor processors, with 8 Channels, 32CE data transmission channels, and the speed of each channel can be up to Up to 1,600 MT/s, bringing astonishing 7.1GB/s bandwidth and 1.2 million IOPS performance, comes with the 4th generation LDPC error correction engine, powerful error correction code technology can improve data reliability.

The NAND Flash of PNYCS3140 uses the brand-new Micron IA7BG94AYA 3D TLC NAND (B47R) FortisFlash chips, which are Micron’s original 176-layer stacked 3D TLC particles, using ONFI bus technology, with a single-channel speed of up to 1600MT/s and a capacity of 256G X4.

1 on each side Hynix H5AN8G6NCJ RVKC memory particles, a total of 16GB cache, DDR4 2666 specification, used to store FTL data and cache, can effectively improve the read and write speed, plus random write data is processed by the SLC block, it can provide a fast response time similar to SLC SSD, Sequential writes are passed directly to the TLC block.

Testing Build

Next, test the performance of the PNY XLR8 CS3140 2TB M.2 SSD, the Build powered by an Intel 12th Generation Core-i7 12700K processor coupled with T-FORCE DELTA RGB 5200Mhz 32GB DDR5 Memory Kit, with MSI MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI DDR5 motherboard, supports PCIe 4.0 technology, the overall performance is at the upper-high level, and there should be no bottleneck problem for testing the read and write performance of solid-state drives.

The MSI MPG Z690 FORCE motherboard this time comes with a total of five M.2 slots! and the four M.2 slots support PCIe 4×4 transmission rate. While the top M.2 slot is directly connected to the processor and exclusive transmission bandwidth can ensure that the SSD can obtain the maximum transmission speed. So it is the most recommended M.2 slot, and the M.2 slot_4 only supports PCIe 3.0 x4.

The maximum theoretical speed of the PCIe 4.0 X4 channel can reach 7.88GB/s, which is twice that of the previous PCIe 3.0 ×4. The above processors with 500 series chipset motherboards support PCIe 4.0, while AMD requires third-generation Ryzen processors and Zen3 processors with X570 or B550 chipset motherboards. Due to the high heat generated by the main control of high-performance SSDs! most motherboards currently on the market will be equipped with cooling modules for SSDs. In order to maximize the reading and writing performance of the SSD, this time it is installed on the fifth M.2 slot of the motherboard, covered with a motherboard’s heat dissipation module.

The following configuration is to test the PNY XLR8 CS3140 2TB M.2 SSD performance:

Software

To test the performance of SSD, we used some well-established hard drive Benchmark software.

  • CrystalDiskInfo
  • CrystalDiskMark
  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark
  • Anvil’s Storage
  • HD Tune Pro

Benchmark Test

Next, it is tested on the PC to see how its read and write performance is. First, use the CrystalDiskInfo software to view the status information of the SSD. From the detection information in the software, it can be seen that this PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD supports the NVMe 1.4 standard protocol and works under the PCIe 4.0 × 4 bus channel.

Start the reading and writing performance test link, first run the benchmark software CrystalDiskMark. This time chooses two data volume tests of 1GB and 16GB respectively. The measured continuous read and write speeds of SSD are 6.9GB/s and 6.8GB/s! twice the test results are relatively close to the reading and writing speed claimed by the manufacturer.

The benchmark test software AS SSD Benchmark selects 1GB of read and write data. From the actual test results, it can be seen that the score of 1GB of data is 11589 points, while the continuous read and write scores are 5609.15MB/s and 5080.90MB/s respectively. However, sequential reading and writing are not our focus. After all, sequential reading and writing account for a very small proportion of our daily applications.

We need to pay more attention to the results of the 4K part, and the 4K part is divided into 1 queue depth (the second row) and 64 queue depths (the third row). The 64 queue depth is to test the multi-task concurrency performance of the SSD! which is generally used in enterprise-level SSDs. More important, but in daily use, more than 98% of the scenarios are below queue 3. So the performance of QD1 has a greater impact on us. The 4K read and write scores of the PNY CS3140 are 85.74MB/s and 309.03MB/s respectively, which belong to the high level among many Gen 4 SSDs.

ATTO Disk Benchmark tests the read and writes speeds of SSDs in the face of data packets of different sizes from 512B to 64MB. The read performance of large-volume data packets exceeds 6.4GB/s and the write performance can also reach 6.4GB/s! this reading and writing score is relatively similar to CrystalDiskMark Benchmark.

Anvil’s Storage Utilities has more tested items and more detailed and intuitive information displayed. The total score of this PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD is 25,059.39 points, and the measured read and write speeds are 4520.97MB/s and 5044.33MB respectively /s repeated testing seven or eight times! I don’t know why the continuous read and to write speed failed to reach 6000MB/s.

Now we use HD Tune Pro to test the caching strategy of “PNY CS3140”. The capacity of the test hard disk is empty. The file test length is set to 500MB. We can see from the figure that the whole process is running at a stable maximum speed, and the reading and writing process is stable throughout. There was no decline! From the actual test results, the empty disk state the continuous reading speed can reach 6GB/s, the writing speed can also reach 5GB/s, the test data volume can reach 500MB, and the whole reading and writing process does not drop in speed.

Through the above reading and writing speed test, this PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD shows a very brilliant performance level. The actual transmission performance far exceeds the SSD of PCIe 3.0! and then use PCMark8 software to test the practicality of the SSD In the test. The individual score of hard disk read and write performance is 5117 points, and its storage bandwidth is 860MB/s.

Games Performance

Solid state drives with high writing performance can obviously greatly improve work efficiency in the post-processing of photos and videos, but what about in games? Here I briefly tested “Elden Ring” and “Far Cry 6“. The emphasis is on speed when entering the game and when loading the screen! I can feel that the loading speed of the game screen is very fast. This improvement may not be meaningful for online games, but if you are a AAA Games lover! the overall screen and story’s complex Continuity should be the issue that everyone needs to pay attention to.

Temperature Test

Since the main controller of PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives generally generates relatively high heat. Let’s test the operating temperature of the SSD. This SSD does not come with a dedicated heat dissipation module. In order to be close to the real operating state and the installation environment of different motherboards. The next time we will test the operating temperature of the SSD in two states without a cooling module and with a motherboard cooling module.

Without Heatsink

Use HD Tune Pro to run the file benchmark test, the test data size is 100GB! and the room temperature is 31°C during the test. As can be seen from the temperature curve in the figure below. The maximum operating temperature is 59°C without the heat dissipation module. With the assistance of the heat dissipation module of the motherboard, The highest temperature is 48°C. Since the heat dissipation module of the motherboard is passive heat dissipation, the temperature drops slowly in the later stage.

With Heatsink

In fact, the heat generated by the main controller of this SSD is not very high. But some people may worry about whether there will be a speed drop without a cooling module. It is not large, and the single read-and-write volume of 200GB basically covers most of the usage scenarios! so there is no need to worry about the problem that the main controller triggers frequency reduction protection due to long-term read and write. Of course, it is recommended to use it with a cooling module.

The high-performance SSD has significantly improved the experience of AAA games. Mainly reflected in the loading of game scenes, and the waiting time will be shortened a lot. The larger the scene, the higher the picture quality setting, and the more obvious it is. And some of them are designed with seamless maps. In the game, if you move quickly or switch scenes in the game. The screen loads faster and the transition is more stable.

For example, in the popular game “Monster Hunter: World”, the main body of the game plus the Icefield DLC file has exceeded 100GB, and the game uses a seamless map. Even so, the map modeling file still needs to be read from the hard disk during the game. When quickly switching to other areas in the game, such as quickly returning to the camp. It still needs to be loaded (black screen) for a second or two. When the game files are stored in this SSD! there is basically no need to wait for the process of moving to the camp and other fast-switching areas.

The map data file of “PUBG PC” is very large, and it also tests the read and writes performance of the SSD. If the read and write speed cannot keep up, the picture texture will not be loaded. After getting this SSD, let’s not say that the loading time from the lobby to the battle situation has been shortened a lot. And is rare for textures to not be loaded when driving fast.

Copy the frequently played games to the PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD. Compared with the PCIe 3.0 solid-state drives in use. Both the game startup speed and the loading speed of the scene are faster. In some games, It can even switch maps in seconds, such as “Monster Hunter: World” returning from the wild area to the assembly area.

Conclusion

This PNY XLR8 CS3140 M.2 SSD has outstanding performance in reading and writing performance. The measured maximum continuous read speed can reach 6.9GB/ s. Compared with the current PCIe 3.0 SSD, it has an overwhelming advantage and is an untouchable ceiling. The extremely fast read and write performance brings an unparalleled user experience. It can be said that all software and games that need to load data from the SSD can be improved to varying degrees. In actual use, this change can be perceived, regardless of the startup speed of large-scale software or the loading speed of games. Especially the waiting time for the later software to load video material has been significantly shortened.

I think everyone should consider their own use when purchasing an SSD. If you are a AAA game enthusiast or a photo and video creator. The high-end PNY CS3140 is the ceiling of the PCIE4.0 era. It can make your games and workflow smoother! especially the overall performance of the Intel 13th generation and AMD 7000 series platforms both have been greatly improved. If you don’t buy a high-end solid-state hard drive at this time. The overall performance will definitely be a lot worse.

This SSD has a writing life of 1400TBW and supports a five-year warranty period. You don’t have to worry about quality and after-sales. It can meet the various high-voltage needs of players or video workers and is it not a problem for various heavy data reading and writing tasks. The heat of the main control itself is not serious. Even without a cooling module, there will be no speed drop. It is not a problem to install devices in compact spaces such as laptops. If your hardware device has PCIe 4.0 support For M.2 slots, it is recommended to choose PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives first. After all, there is a performance gap there, and faster speed means more effective time-saving.

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