PNY CS2030 480GB
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.
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