PNY Prevail Elite SATA 3 SSD Review – Performance Meets eMLC Endurance And Consumer Value

PREVAIL ELITE SPECIFICATIONS

The PNY Prevail Elite is available in capacities of 120, 240 and 480GB and prices can be found at Amazon at $144, $239 and $599 where, at least for the 240GB version, this breaks the $1/GB price barrier which is amazing for an eMLC SSD.  Performance for the Prevail Elite is 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write with a high of 85,000 IOPS at low 4k random write disk access and the warranty is a five year warranty, standard three with two additional years added on when registering the SSD with PNY.

A very special characteristic that PNY has included that just may be an industry first is their endurance guarantee which is displayed on their exterior packaging as either 3k or 10k, the latter being standard for the Prevail Elite.  Briefly, this speaks to the times that an SSD can complete a full program and erase cycle (P/E) of it’s memory which translates to life span.  With a 10,000 P/E guarantee, PNY is stating that their drives will have 2-3 times better endurance than just about every consumer SSD we are seeing on the market today.  This is solely through use of their enterprise grade memory that we will get to shortly.

PREVAIL ELITE EXTERIOR AND COMPONENTS

The most noticeable thing in handling the Prevail Elite SSD is that it is of a thick metal construction and has that cold metal feel in your hands.  Four screws secure the exterior base to it’s shell and when removed, it is very apparent that this SSD has been machined to perfection.

Once opened, a thermal pad is observed covering the SSD controller as well as two other metal bars that match perfectly to the memory on the printed circuit board (PCB).

The PCB contains the LSI SandForce SF-2281 flash storage processor (FSP) along with 16 modules of 16GB 25nm Intel enterprise grade MLC synchronous NAND flash memory (29F16B16MCME1).  In checking the specs of this memory, we only found it to have been utilized in one other SSD, the Galaxy Laser EX 240GB of Chinese manufacture. Even in that review (translated), they speak of this specific model of memory being very rare for use in a SSD.

A quick click on any of our photos will bring up a high resolution picture. 

Total RAW capacity for the PNY Prevail Elite is 256GB (16×16), however, formatting the SSD leaves the end user with a total available capacity of 224GB.

This picture displays Intel’s 25nm synchronous eMLC NAND flash memory first hand and remember, this has been rarely seen in SSDs as of yet.

31 comments

  1. Good one Les! Looks like a super good SSD. Hmmm, this or the 840 Pro???

  2. I AM IN LOVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Wow… performance aside, 10K P/E eMLC, 5 year warranty at $1/GB? Unreal… Excellent review, Les.

  4. I do not see the 480GB yet for sale. Soon I hope!

  5. need more high performance eMLC and SLC SSDs at large capacity thats for sure. please bring out the 1tb version soon!

  6. Are these eMLC NAND considered a ‘toggle’ type?

  7. You can drop this baby on my doorstep any time – even the used and abused test drive 😉

    A 1TB version of this would be perfect for my daily laptop.

  8. so I have heard, 10k PE is great and all but without proper functioning Trim it’ll just reduce life span of this thing.

  9. Got this one instead of an xlr8k pro by mistake. But i can’t get the same writespeeds as this bechmark. About 150 MB/s in seq write. Any thoughts? I have an asus p8p67 pro (i5 2500k). And I don’t use any of the marvell ports.

  10. The Prevail Elite I received has firmware 5.0.2 and PNY refuses to provide a update to fix the broken TRIM. It was returned. Shame on PNY! After staring at those warehouses full of Elite’s maybe they’ll get the point.

    • First and foremost, TRIM is not broken where it doesn’t work; it simply does not work at full capacity. Next, it takes time for companies to roll out updates as they have to validate the upgrades in house. Considering the PNY Prevail Elite is the ONLY consumer level SSD to use this memory…I might understand such.

      • Hi Les, great review. Considering one of these drives to replace my main
        desktops boot drive, however Yankee495’s comment has got me worried.
        What are the implications of running with FW 5.0.2 on a main boot drive?
        I’m also concerned that because PNY is not yet classed as main stream
        SSD supplier that FW updates may be slow to come (or worse still never
        come). Any thoughts on that….? Quick check on their website today shows no FW or any downloads to support this drive, although granted it is early days..

      • I spoke with PNY last week who stated the new FW will be present in the new drives ordered. I cannot answer with respect to their site but they are updating it continuously. IMHO…great drives at a great price. Today on Amazon the Prevail Elite eMLC drives were miss priced and a bunch of guys got them at a steal!

      • LOL that’s cool, wish I saw that.. might have had a few.

        Over here in the UK these are pretty had to find, although they are starting to show. Based on your excellent reviews I’ll certainly be fitting this or Sammy 840 Pro in the next few weeks as I’m out of space on my Tiny 60GB OCZ Agility 3! This drive might be small but it’s been a real trooper with no Sand-force firmware related BSOD or any problems for that matter and I’m running the old 2.15 FW (OCZ are upto 2.25!) You know the old saying, If it ain’t broke….

      • Absolutely…I have been listening to the vocal minority for years now with respect to dying SSDs and BSODs. It is an always has been a very rare occurrence, one I have never experienced in the hundreds we test and use. It’s similar to the SF broken firmware saga where people don’t realize but the firmware is actually not broke whatsoever, but rather, not working at full capability. TRIM still functions and very well for the average user.

      • Got mine yesterday, great drive which is working well. However it did come with FW 502 so hopefully PNY will have an update soon….

      • I just received update that PNY will be posting their update tool within the next week or so.

      • Thanks Les for the update. I’ll keep an eye out. Cheers Andy.

  11. 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…

    • 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. puts links of firmware because the site is no longer required

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