Wednesday , 16 April 2014
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PNY Prevail Elite SATA 3 SSD Review – Performance Meets eMLC Endurance And Consumer Value

The only thing better than being asked to introduce a new solid state drive to market is receiving what could be a game changing SSD out of the blue and from a company we had never dealt with prior.

The PNY Prevail 240GB 6Gbps SSD contains 10K rated eMLC memory, LSI SandForce performance, a five year warranty and value.  Is the fact that its lifespan is rated more than two to three times that of other SSDs worth taking a closer look?

SSD LIFE AND MEMORY EXPLAINED

Having just returned from Seoul, South Korea, where we broke the news that Samsung was to be the first to introduce a TLC SSD, I had no clue that I might be analyzing a consumer attainable eMLC SSD just a week later. To many in fact, knowledge of the difference between SLC, eMLC, MLC, and TLC is no more important than knowing the length of warranty on the SSD itself. Then again, that’s tantamount to believing that both a Jaguar and Ford product are the same as both have three year warranties.

To maintain simplicity in understanding memory types, lets look at memory as having switches where the single level cell (SLC) has one switch with two states, programmed or clear.  Multi-level cell doubled that with two switches and four states but this also added the potential for error so enterprise grade MLC (eMLC) was designed for lower error rates.  Last but not least, we now have triple-level cell (TLC) memory with four switches, or eight states, and a naturally higher error rate or, lower life span.

At least, that all held true until our receipt of the PNY Prevail Elite eMLC SSD we are reviewing today.  It was like someone dropped a baby at our doorstep.

THE PNY PREVAIL AND XLR8 SSD FAMILIES

It is only fair that I start this with a bit of a personal apology to Bernadette Brijlall, Marketing Communications Manager of PNY, as we first met at FMS 2012 where we did speak at some length of PNY’s upcoming SSD products.  To use the excuse of how overwhelming these events can be, or even that we were blown away with our recent Seoul experience, would be wrong.  Simply, if I knew then what I know now having reviewed this SSD, I would have paid more attention in class Bernadette.

PNY has recently introduced two new SSD Series , the XLR8 and the Prevail.  The XLR8 Series is divided into the XLR8 and XLR8 Pro, NAND flash memory, and warranty length, being the determining factor between the two.  With the Prevail series, we have the Prevail and Prevail Elite.  With these, the  differentiating factors seems to be that of MLC versus eMLC NAND flash memory, but also, it appears that we may also be seeing use of the SF-2282 Flash Storage Processor, vice the popular SF-2281, in some model numbers and prices are reflected accordingly for this when checking internet resources.

Our sample is the PNY Prevail Elite ‘Ultimate Endurance’ 240GB SATA 3 SSD.  It contains eMLC NAND flash memory, has typical LSI SandForce performance, a five year warranty and, at least until I took a quick look at pricing on the internet, I wouldn’t have believed this to be within the consumers grasp.  Was I wrong!

Not only is it available at a great price, but PNY seems to have followed the advise I have been affording manufacturers for years now and this will definitely result in huge benefit to the company. In the very short time since release, PNY has hit just about every popular e-tailer and brick-and-mortar technology store that we can find and in several different countries.  From Best Buy to Circuit City, Staples, Amazon, NewEgg, Tiger Direct and even Shopbot.ca, PNY SSDs are everywhere.

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • suprduprman

    Hej Les! Can you tell me what’s your opinion on the PNY prevail elite 256GB vs. Samsungs SSD 840 Pro series 256 GB? Pricevise they are about the same… What about the durability and performance? As an ssd consumer which do you think is more important ? the PNY in better at durability but samsung has better performance…

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      The Elite has enterprose eMLC memory and this is the first consumer accessible drive to have this, whereas the pro is not yet available. Endurance definitely goes to the prevail Elite, whereas performance would go to the Samsung for high end audio or video work as it moves incompressible data quicker.

  • yankee495

    Sorry to hear that. We were told by PNY there would be no FW update as I posted here. I actually posted on the PNY blog which was never posted publicly by PNY but got an email response that PNY was up to 5.0.4 FW. So we bought one, FW 5.0.2, then PNY said no updates and then ignored further emails. In my book if it doesn’t work right, then it is broke. The shame of it is that none of the reviewers are admitting this. CALL THEM BEFORE YOU BUY to verify this yourself!

  • Kris

    Hi, I purchased one of these and just installed and formatted it. I was a little surprised I was unable to find any firmware for this device anywhere, and judging from the comments here, I am correct.

    I installed on Windows 7, just did a standard format. It shows up as a SSD2SC240GE2DA16B-T ATA Device. But the driver is Microsoft, 6/21/2006, version 6.1.7600.16385.

    I’m a little concerned that what I’ve got installed is effectively the equivalent of running a nice video card under the standard VGA driver.

    I plan to clone my system drive onto this later, but I want to wait until I know I’m not missing a step entirely. I am shocked as to how little information is on the PNY site.

    Any advice would be awesome!

  • Jayson
    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Yup looks like they posted it yesterday….will test today and post on it.

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