PNY CS1311 SSD Review (120GB/480GB)


The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as Xbox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications



PNY CS1311 SSD 120GB PCMark Vantage Score


PNY CS1311 SSD 480GB PCMark Vantage Score

The PNY CS1311 SSD achieved a total score of around 64K for both capacities. Out of all the benchmark tests ran throughout the HDD suite of PCMark Vantage, the highest transfer speed recorded was over 400MB/s when using Windows Media Center. The rest varied in the 200-400MB/s range. Overall, while not the best, this performance is much, much better than that of any HDD out there.



For our last benchmark, we have decided to use PCMark 8 Extended Storage Workload in order to determine steady state throughput of the SSD. This software is the longest in our battery of tests and takes just under 18 hours per SSD. As this is a specialized component of PCMark 8 Professional, its final result is void of any colorful graphs or charts typical of the normal online results and deciphering the resulting excel file into an easily understood result takes several more hours.

There are 18 phases of testing throughout the entire run, 8 runs of the Degradation Phase, 5 runs of the Steady State Phase and 5 runs of the Recovery Phase. In each phase, several performance tests are run of 10 different software programs; Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop Heavy and Photoshop Light, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word, as well as Battlefield 3 and World of Warcraft to cover the gaming element.

  • PRECONDITIONING -The entire SSD is filled twice sequentially with random data of a 128KB file size. The second run accounts for overprovisioning that would have escaped the first;
  • DEGRADATION PHASE – The SSD is hit with random writes of between 4KB and 1MB for 10 minutes and then a single pass performance test is done of each application. The cycle is repeated 8 times, and with each time, the duration of random writes increases by 5 minutes;
  • STEADY STATE PHASE – The drive is hit with random writes of between 4KB and 1MB for 45 minutes before each application is put through a performance test. This process is repeated 5 times;
  • RECOVERY PHASE – The SSD is allowed to idle for 5 minutes before and between performance tests of all applications. This is repeated 5 times which accounts for garbage collection; and
  • CLEANUP – The entire SSD is written with zero data at a write size of 128KB

In reading the results, the Degrade and Steady State phases represent heavy workload testing while the recovery phase represents typical consumer light workload testing.


As you can see, performance is recorded in terms of Bandwidth and Latency. Bandwidth (or throughput) represents the total throughput the drive is able to sustain during the tests during each phase. Latency, at least for the purposes of PCMark 8, takes on a different outlook and for this, we will term it ‘Total Storage Latency’. Typically, latency has been addressed as the time it takes for a command to be executed, or rather, the time from when the last command completed to the time that the next command started. This is shown below as ‘Average Latency’.

PCMark 8 provides a slightly different measurement, however, that we are terming as ‘Total Storage Latency’. This is represented as being the period from the time the last command was completed, until the time it took to complete the next task; the difference of course being that the execution of that task is included in ‘Total Storage Latency’. For both latency graphs, the same still exists where the lower the latency, the faster the responsiveness of the system will be. While both latency charts look very similar, the scale puts into perspective how just a few milliseconds can increase the length of time to complete multiple workloads.

For a more in-depth look into Latency, Bandwidth, and IOPS check out our primer article on them here.


These results show the total average bandwidth across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the higher the result the better.

PNY CS1311 PCMark 8 AB


These results show the average access time during the workloads across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the lower the result the better.

PNY CS1311 PCMark 8 AL


These results show the total access time across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the lower the result the better.

PNY CS1311 PCMark 8 TL

Overall, it seems that the PNY CS1311 does fairly well in PCMark 8’s consistency test, which is usually the breaking point of a product and gives us a much greater understanding about the SSD’s performance. The 480GB model was able to hang in there with the MyDigitalSSD BP5e Slim 7 as well as the Adata SP550. During the final recovery rounds, it maintained very flat and consistency performance that was better than all the competition. The 120GB model was a bit slower with slightly higher latency, but it still did decent.


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    Thats a pretty good price for a 240G version. Too bad its for the states 🙂

    But 15nm TLC is worrying for me personally. Its bad enough we went sub 20nm, let alone 15nm. But hey, everything for that price/gb 🙂

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    It seems that the “entry level, value oriented” ox is itself being gored by a matador named PNY. Its offerings are the first that I have seen that seem to attempt to give features in line with their price point. That, my friends, is value.

    I am not currently in the market for an SSD but I will be when Intel comes out with Generation 8 processors so I am following developments closely. I personally would go for the 2211 – pay more to get more – but the value is there in both of them.

    I have a few PNY items and they are fine. I made two purchases last month and had awful problems ordering through their website but it was easy to get genuine human interface and complete the order by phone.

    It seems that a lot of SSD manufacturers compete mainly against HDDs and not against each other. It seems that PNY is here to compete against both.


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      Hi Jim, we are sorry to hear you experienced issues with our website. Please e-mail with additional details so we can ensure this does not happen again in the future. Thank you.

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        The whole string was documented under the e-mail subject line “PNY Account will not accept my address”.

        It all was satisfactorily resolved at the time, albeit with considerable effort on the part of your people and me.

        I mentioned it here more as a disclosure/disclaimer.


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        A genuinely unbiased comment here. Don’t see those too often in the wild.

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    Mine failed in 6 months. Never again.
    I received an RMA number but need to pay shipping to send the dead drive back to PNY. I sent two emails asking if I’ll get a refund and I have not received a reply.
    I don’t know if I should waste any more money on this ‘thing’.

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    i have one thes drive for the last 6 months but the last two or so i have had nothing but issues with it. i dont think pny drives are very relible for there price.

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    I think the measured performance here is misleading, you don’t buy a SSD then marvel at how fast the empty drive is, it’s going to have stuff on it. As such results would be much more representative of actual real world situations if the drives were filled to around 20% capacity, in terms of a 120GB SSD that would be about the size of a OS install with drivers.

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    I bought two of the 240GB CS1311 drives and configured them in a RAID0. The drives cannot sustain their max speeds for very long. The drives slow down during large file transfers, so I assume the DRAM cache that is being used to buffer the slower TLC NAND and it chokes after a couple GB of sustained transfer. It does feel like false marketing to list the “cache” speeds and IOPS, but I guess you get what you pay for. I think that SSD reviews need to start benching larger workloads than 256MB and 1GB in the era of TLC NAND.

    Also, after a week and a half one of the drives failed and died. I’m attempting RMA now…

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    what is the country of origin for PNY SSD? Thanks.

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    How about been able to see the reviews without eating a ton of carrots.

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    How about been able to see the reviews without having to eat a ton of carrots

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    Got 4 of these, there so cheap, in raid0 not bad…

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