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


Perhaps the most important thing that merits recognition in this report is the fact that the PNY Prevail Elite is the first and only ‘consumer attainable’ eMLC based solid state drive reviewed to date and, by this, we have considered mass availability and price which we will discuss in a bit. To look at consumer and enthusiast concerns alone, the biggest question of utilizing MLC NAND flash memory has always been the life of the drive and this is going to become even more of a question with the introduction of TLC memory.

As much as we might want to use the excuse that the typical consumer will upgrade their system every few years in any case, should this be a reason to justify a shorter time to end life in our hardware,  and thus, make the complete trade off of endurance for value?  From my perspective, it is truly a bit amusing as my SSD education began at a time when SLC was standard, the cost of an SSD was well over $2000 and people were yelling from the rafters that SSDs would never cut it in the consumer world.

So now let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Does the enterprise intended PNY Prevail Elite even bear consideration as a consumer drive and, if so, why?  After all, considering that the price of eMLC NAND flash memory has traditionally been so prohibitive to consumer SSD manufacturers, the cost alone would be unbearable at this level and then, where could the typical consumer expect to buy one?  The answer is simply that this SSD has probably the absolute best availability we have ever seen.  A quick Google search brings up worldwide e-tailers as well as such brick-and-mortar stores as Circuit City, Best Buy, Tiger Direct and Staples. Add to this the fact that the Preval Elite can be had (at the 240GB capacity) at under a buck a gigabyte and we may just have a winner on our hands.

blankThe PNY Prevail Elite contains Intel’s finest eMLC NAND flash memory and, unlike any other manufacturer in the industry, PNY will guarantee that it’s write cycle will last at least 10,000 writes which is two to three times than any other consumer SSD to date.  They even put a big flash on the case face to highlight the point. Now if thats not enough, take a look at the side of the package, as well.


Other than the five year warranty, the only consideration we really have is that of performance and, quite frankly, the fact alone that it is ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ speaks for itself.  The PNY Prevail Elite is a powerhouse of an SSD and, not only is it one of the top Vantage ranked SSDs we have tested to date but also, it is one of the few to hit that golden 100MB/s plateau at the 4k random write performance level.

The only question left at the end of the day is really one of whether we would prefer one of the more popular brands, with lesser endurance, or the one that, not only states they will double and possibly triple the lifespan of consumer drives, but guarantees that as well.  Editors Choice!

P.S.  I might be jumping on these drives as fast as I could as pricing just may not remain as such for long!

PNY Prevail Elite 120GB SATA 3 SSD at Amazon!

PNY Prevail Elite 240GB SATA 3 SSD at Amazon!

PNY Prevail Elite 480GB SATA 3 SSD at Amazon!



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

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    I AM IN LOVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

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

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

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    Are these eMLC NAND considered a ‘toggle’ type?

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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..

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        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!

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        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….

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        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.

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

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

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

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    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…

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      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.

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    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!

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    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!

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    puts links of firmware because the site is no longer required

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