PNY 1TB Pro Elite and Elite X USB 3.0/1 Flash Drive Review – High Capacity and Speed in a Very Small Footprint

So we have been used to seeing 1TB and larger external drives for some time now, and typically they will be somewhat compact in size and have a cable which plugs into the storage device and PC. It is not common to see flash drives reaching that 1TB capacity and, in fact, I think we have only ever tackled one other high-capacity flash drive which was the 2TB Kingston Data Traveler Ultimate which came in with a massive $1500 price tag some two years ago. For the most part, high-capacity and fast performing flash drives could not reach an affordable price point and the memory in use required a larger footprint…hence external storage popularity. PNY has decided to change that.

Today, we are taking a quick look at two of the latest PNY USB3.0/1 1TB flash drives and the very first thing that one might notice is that these drives are very small. Both are of a push-pull design and the PNY Elite-X is on the left with the PNY Pro Elite on the right. Let’s start with the Pro Elite as this flash drive is definitely a top-tier product.

PNY PRO ELITE

The PNY Pro-Elite USB 3.1 Flash Drive is available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB, all of which are available right now on Amazon for $39.99, $59.99, $107.99 and $260, consecutively. The Pro Elite is of a gun-metal construction, and as funny as it seems, the metal casing will smudge much the same as a freshly blue barrel would if you touched it.

It can be wiped clean of course but we found the texture very unique and similar to that of a gun barrel. Performance is listed at 400MB/s read and 250MB/s write and the Pro Elite comes with a two-year warranty. Both flash drives come formatted in exFAT and we might suggest changing the format to Windows NTFS if that is what you are using. Many manufacturers format in exFAT so their drives are simply plug and play to newer and older Mac and PC systems.

Considering that listed specifications for the PNY Pro-Elite are 400MB/s read and 250MB/s write, our results of 421MB/s read and 308MB/s write were very encouraging and were actually bettered by TxBench as you can see here:

Looking at TxBench, read performance comes in at 58MB/s above spec while write performance comes in at a whopping 97MB/s above spec. Let’s check out the result of the Elite-X on the next page.

3 comments

  1. 1TB device. Which encourages moving a lot of data to and from it. Why didn’t you test that ? Moving large amounts of different-sized files to it ? Because I for one do not care about peak speeds.
    One interesting thought: they say that sata is dead. At the same time, it seems to be finding new areas of use, as exemplified by the new ironwolf ssd’s and similar products. And this makes sense to me. In an environment where you are and will be limited by something like your network, would you rather have drives with peak speeds of 3000MB + , or would you rather used an optimized device with high sustained speeds ? You would not be able to make use of your incredible peak speeds anyway, but feel free to disagree.
    The reason I am drawing a parallel here is because the same mechanisms and hype seem to repeat time and time again. But while large parts of the commercial market will buy into this hype, serious people want that sustained performance, that performance that will keep your speeds high and save you time.
    On that note, returning to your article – If I were to buy a 1TB thumb drive I would want it to move data, and to do it fast. If I get a performance hit after a(relatively) low amount of the transfer, I will have to sit and wait for an undetermined period of time for the task to finish. Which I won’t do.
    So to me, unless these drives deliver steady performance that can outclass my own DIY product I don’t see the selling point. Time is so precious these days, and sitting around waiting for a usb2 speed, part transfer, is not very high on anyone’s list…
    And finally to the point you are making of the move from mlc to tlc, to qlc… How is this a positive thing ? Lower prices for higher capacities. Sure. Which IS the only selling point. Technically it reads lower speed and endurance, made to look good by including caches for achieving those peak speeds, while all the time concealing the fact that these drives are really not that good.
    My advice for a decent “thumb”- drive. Take any mlc nvme m.2(as physically small as you can/like). Buy a jms583(or better) and enclosure and thermal pads. Then you can compare 100GB’s of transfer medium, to and from your tlc/qlc thumb drive, and then to and from your DIY drive doing a cool 1GB/s for the whole transfer.
    To end this comment: I have tested this so this is not just trolling. When/if these tlc/qlc drives actually start producing results like my own, I think they will actually be worth something. Until that I regard them at best as hugely overpriced, and as such ripoffs.

    • So I am sure you know that we have tested the JMS 583 and there is no comparison. That would tie into the MyDigitalSSD M2X a few articles back as well. The problem is that the mainstream computer guy (or girl) doesn’t have Type-C on their present system, and if you are an enthusiast or media professional with Type-C, you already know that this test would pale in comparison to the JMS 583 at 1GB/s. The hiccup, of course is that that solution cannot compare in size…not even close. They are not the same devices in question. This is simply a USB 3.1 solution that hits mainstream speeds, is pocket sized, and has capacity…nothing more. If this were a Type-C solution… you bet I would have extended this test just a bit…but for now… so be it. Thank you for taking the time to write your opinion. You should consider reviewing eheh.

      • While I take your point, Mr. Tokar, in your reply to the above post, just how portable does portable need to be? Unless you have [very] small pockets an NVME SSD enclosure such as the My Digital one you mention would fit easily. Such an enclosure filled with a budget 1TB TLC NVME drive, together with a USB type C to type A cable would be cheaper, have greater write endurance and ought to be more performant than the pen drive. Additionally, should the user in the future ever have a computer with a USB C 3.1 Gen 2 (or better) port even more performance can be unlocked at the cost of a new cable. In such circumstances, I would suggest the pen drive only makes sense for those who need to carry it on their person at all times – a small group of people, I would suggest.

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