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

TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

Our analysis today will be conducted with our Asus Z77 Premium Test Bench. Clicking on any pictures or benchmarks will bring up a more easily viewable high resolution image.

In testing, our main objective is to obtain results as pure and as accurate as possible and we want to ensure that no anomalies slip through. Simply put, we want to provide you with the absolute best results the tested hardware can provide. Repetition in testing is standard and, if necessary, we may conduct specific tests in Windows 7 ‘safe mode’ to ensure the OS has little to no influence on the end result.

In order to validate and confirm our findings, testing is supported by industry accepted benchmark programs. All results are displayed through capture of the actual benchmark for better understanding of the testing process by the reader.

We would like to thank ASUS (P8Z77-V Premium), Intel (Core i7-3770K), Crucial (Ballistix), Corsair (H100) and Be Quiet (PSU/Fans) for supporting the build of our Z77 Premium Test Bench.

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark Vantage.  We rely on these as they each have a way of supporting one another yet, at the same time, adding a new performance benchmark to the total picture.  Much of the software is free and can be downloaded simply by clicking on the linked title.

SSD COMPRESSION AND TESTING FLUCTUATIONS

All SSDs are not created equal and many new SSD enthusiasts realize that when they test their new drive to confirm specifications and ensure all is in order. SandForce controlled SSDs, as in the PNY Prevail Elite SSD we are testing today, use compression techniques in storage whereas many others do not. This creates a bit of confusion when enthusiasts test the drive with random data through benchmarking programs such as AS SSD and Crystal DiskMark. The results seem to be lower than the listed specifications.

The results actually present a false portrayal of the drives ability when compared to other drives such as Samsung, Crucial or Intel. It is for this reason that all of our comparison testing is done through PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage HDD Suite simply provides evaluation results based on transfer speeds reached through typical user patterns. Vantage provides a better testing medium, in that, it sees through the typical synthetic benchmarks and provides us with ‘true to life’ results of the drive.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER 3.9.3

Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, product information, ‘power on’ information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. We can see that the PNY Prevail Elite is capable of TRIM as it is not greyed out, much like AAM.

Kudos to PNY for including some great SMART attributes and we are checking into whether they will be updating to the firmware anytime soon.

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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