PNY Optima SSD Series Review (240 GB) – New Controller and a Wicked Price

Some time ago, Silicon Motion had sent us a new SSD controller they were working on  a prototype SSD for review.  The SM2246EN controller that we looked at was a four  channel SATA 3 controller, capable of 510MB/s read and 410MB/s write with up to 80K IOPS, also capable of 256-Bit AES encryption.  Up until this report, that was as close as that controller had gotten to the retail market.


Our report today looks at a brand new release in the PNY Optima, the Optima being the first SSD to contain the Silicon Motion SM2246EN SATA 3 controller that we are aware of.  Just to give you a bit of a heads up, the Optima is trying to win the race of performance with this entry, but it has a price that is truly hard to beat.PNY OPTIMA SSD FRONT


If you have never heard of a solid state drive before, or an SSD, then you may be in for shock as to how much time you have wasted waiting on your computer’s hard drive. To briefly explain, a solid state drive is a storage device that is found within your computer and will hold all of your data, including your operating system, pictures, videos and documents. The largest difference between your hard drive and a SSD is the fact that SSD’s increase your system’s speed immensely, never mind that they also come with a bunch of other features that make them far superior to that of a hard drive. If you are interested in learning more, then we encourage you to take a look at our ‘Learning To Run With Flash’ series.



The PNY Optima is available in capacities of 120, 240 and 480GB and is listed at speeds of up to 510MB/s read and 315MB/s write with 65K IOPS read and 50K IOPS write. We understand that the controller is capable of 256-Bit AES encryption, however, that feature has not been included with this SSD to ensure maximum value.  Along with this, PNY includes a 1 year warranty.



PNY has the OPTIMA SSD SERIES pricing listed on their website, with the 120 GB costing $139.00, 240 GB at $269.00 and the 480 GB at 539.00, however, a quick look at Amazon shows that the pricing on the 240GB capacity comes in around $110, which is a pretty stellar price for an easy upgrade to your system. A price that low brings this SSD to roughly $0.45 per GB, which just makes choosing this SSD over the rest that much easier.



The PNY OPTIMA’s packaging matches the overall concept of the drive, budget friendly. The package is extremely simple and inside you find not only the SSD, but also a 2.5mm spacer. The front featuring a quick display of the SSD, and a back that breaks down the specifications of the drive.


When taking a closer look at the PCB, we can see that the solid state drive features sixteen of Micron’s 20nm MLC NAND memory modules, eight on either side of the board. When we plug Micron’s shortened code into their FBGA Decoder, we can see that this is the MT29F128G08CBCABH6 module. With a total capacity of 240GB, each NAND module would then feature 16 GB of storage.


This is our first look at the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller that, unfortunately due to the heat compound, is very difficult to capture in an image. Above our controller we can also see the NANYA DRAM module.

Silicon Motion Controller


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    According to the PNY Optima specifications page the company uses three different types of NAND for the Optima ssd – Synchronous Mode MLC, SLC or TLC. It is similar to what Kingston did with the SSDNow V300. The major difference is that PNY published the fact while Kingston made no mention of it until problems developed and customers complained.

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    The problem here is that vendors are still selling 240GB SSDs with Toshiba toggle NAND and SF controllers for the same price. No comparison in terms of performance. Until the old inventories run out this imbalance will remain.

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    Looks like a decent drive (especially given, that it uses 128Gbit flash), although i wonder how this controler performs consistency wise…

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    The Kingmax SME XValue launched October 2013 uses the same silicon motion controller.


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    In the store a saleman attempted to upsell me on crucial, but could not give a rational much better than name recognition. He did state speed, but had no evidence. With this drive at $90 (including rebate $110-20) is this a better deal than the crucial with the same listed stats, but with a $130 ticket and no rebate?

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      The Marvell controller of the rucial is a bit more preferable….better performance.

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        How much better is the performance? The answer to that question is the big deal.

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        The performance is totally dependant on your use of this drive. If you are using it for just surfing the net, e-mails etc…you won’t every see the difference between this and any drive. If you are a professional manipulating media…that is an entirely different story.

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        Are there any comparative standards or is all information regarding SSDs anecdotal and based on opinion?

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        From the review:


        The software used for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, and PCMark Vantage. In consumer reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.”

        So they used five different non-anendotal tools to test the drive. Read the review on the Crucial model you are considering. Compare.

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    Being a novice in understanding SSD stats, it’s unclear to me how this is a poor option for gaming. Also, the text isn’t clear to me whether it’s talking about this drive being the “wrong” choice compared to just other SSDs or also in even replacing an HDD for gaming.

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      It is a poor option in comparison to other SSDs that handle compressible writes much better. It is still a huge step up from a hard drive. In gaming, the only real benefit is transition timing through the loading of scenes.

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    Did anyone figure out how to enable the encryption that is advertised? I didn’t find any software on the PNY website.

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    I just had a virus on my laptop a while back so I went in with geek squad. When I picked up my laptop and got home I was surprised to find one of these. I had no idea what it was. I am not a tecky person. So what exactly is it, how do I install it and basically just a memory or a drive?

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      You picked up your laptop from the geek squad and when you got home you found an SSD? Was it in the bag or installed in your laptop? Why would you want to know how to install something you just paid someone to install unless it was not installed, and if so, why?

      PS It replaces your hard drive, but it’s not soft! It’s not a floppy, it’s a Solid State Drive – no moving parts, so it’s fast, and cool! Enjoy!

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    A local shop has the 480GB version on sale for only €117. Is it worth buying? For that price I can barely get a 250GB 850 evo

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    Bought this disk recently for £55 and it says 3 year warranty on the box. Where is the catch?

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