PNY CS2030 480GB

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Custom PC - - LABS TEST -

The PNY CS2030 is a no-holds­barred at­tempt by PNY to cre­ate a high-per­for­mance PCI-E SSD for use in desk­top PCs. Why desk­top PCs specif­i­cally? Well, most M.2 SSDs are de­signed with com­po­nents on one side of the PCB to max­imise com­pat­i­bil­ity with lap­tops. How­ever, the CS2030 is crammed with chips on both sides. It will still fit in some lap­tops but you’ll have to dou­ble check if yours is com­pat­i­ble.

As for it be­ing a high-per­for­mance drive, PNY claims some im­pres­sive num­bers. It’s max­i­mum se­quen­tial read speed is quoted at 2,750MB/sec, while its claimed se­quen­tial write speed comes in at 1,500MB/sec. Both fig­ures would com­fort­ably make the PNY CS2030 the third fastest drive on test, be­hind the Sam­sung drives but way ahead of the rest of the pack. This drive also uses MLC NAND flash mem­ory, rather than TLC NAND, so it can main­tain those write speeds. The PNY’s quoted ran­dom IOPS per­for­mance is im­pres­sive too, with up to 201,000 IOPS claimed for reads and 215,000 IOPs for writes.

Cru­cial to the PNY CS2030’s high level of per­for­mance is the Phi­son PS5007-E7 con­troller that takes charge of this drive. It has a quad-core, 8-chan­nel setup and sup­ports AES-256 en­cryp­tion, SmartECC, SmartFlush and Guar­an­teed Flush tech­nolo­gies.

The con­troller is put to task on a to­tal of four 128GB Toshiba 15nm NAND pack­ages, and it’s as­sisted by a 256MB Nanya DRAM chip. The re­sult is a messy-look­ing PCB, but one that should have plenty of per­for­mance on tap.

How­ever, while the CS2030 is rea­son­ably im­pres­sive when it comes to claimed per­for­mance fig­ures, PNY doesn’t match the five-year war­ranty of other more pre­mium drives. In­stead, it pro­vides a more mod­est three-year war­ranty.

PNY doesn’t pro­vide a max­i­mum fig­ure for ter­abytes writ­ten (TBW) ei­ther, but it does rate the drive for 2,000,000 hours of mean time be­fore fail­ure. That’s even longer than the Sam­sung 960 Pro’s MTBF rat­ing.

So de­spite the shorter war­ranty pe­riod, the MTBF rat­ing and use of MLC NAND sug­gests this drive should still hold up well in the long term.

One of the most ob­vi­ous draw­backs of this drive, how­ever, is that its ca­pac­ity is only 480GB, rather than 500GB or 512GB. While most people won’t be too up­set over the loss of 20GB or 30GB, it does af­fect this drive’s over­all value in terms of cost per gi­ga­byte. At 49p per gi­ga­byte, it’s se­cond only to the Sam­sung 960 Pro in terms of ca­pac­ity cost – it’s a dis­tant se­cond, but the other three drives still of­fer bet­ter value in terms of ca­pac­ity.

As for how the drive held up in our tests, the PNY CS2030 romped home with the be­stof-the rest award, after the Sam­sung drives. In fact, aside from the se­quen­tial read speed test in Crys­talDiskMark, the PNY drive just about kept up with the Sam­sung drives too.

In AS SSD, it man­aged a 2,379MB/sec se­quen­tial read speed, while the two Sam­sung drives only hit around 2,600MB/ sec, and the next best re­sult was way back on 1,637MB/sec. One strange re­sult was the write speed in Crys­talDiskMark, which was lower than ex­pected at just 908MB/sec – nearly half the speed of the Sam­sung 960 Evo – but its write speed was much closer in AS SSD.

It’s a sim­i­lar story when it comes to ran­dom read and write per­for­mance, at least at high queue depths. The Sam­sung drives are still well ahead, but the PNY holds a com­fort­able lead over the rest of the pack. The up­shot is that the PNY CS2030 is eas­ily the next best op­tion after the Sam­sung 960 Pro and Evo drives in terms of per­for­mance.

Con­clu­sion

The PNY CS2030 can’t quite keep up with Sam­sung’s 960 Pro and Evo drives, but it makes a close fight of it. Its per­for­mance re­sults are both fast and con­sis­tent, and it’s sig­nif­i­cantly ahead of both the In­tel and West­ern Dig­i­tal drives on test this month. Its only prob­lem is its price – only £1 sep­a­rates it from the quicker Sam­sung 960 Evo, mak­ing the lat­ter the ob­vi­ous choice in this price league. If it drops in price, though, the PNY CS2030 has demon­strated that it of­fers com­pet­i­tive per­for­mance – it isn’t slow, but it’s out­per­formed by sim­i­larly priced com­pe­ti­tion.

Cru­cial to the PNY CS2030’s high level of per­for­mance is the Phi­son PS5007-E7 con­troller that takes charge of this drive

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