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PNY CS1311 & XLR8 CS2211 SSDs Review

AkG

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
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5,274
The current SSD market has entered into a period of stagnation as high end drives transition to new, faster interface standards. Though the number new halo products launched in the last 6 months can be safely counted on two hands, mid-tier offerings continue to get better and better. We’ve seen drives from Crucial, OCZ, AData and many others continually push the boundaries of value, performance and capacity. Now PNY is entering into the game with the CS1311 and CS2211 SSD series, each of which offers a combination of features well suited for its target audience.

It may seem strange, but of all the companies who have started to offer SSDs as of late, the one that we have been paying close attention to is PNY. On the surface this is certainly an odd statement since PNY has never been a heavyweight in the storage industry but their presence in the system builder community is beyond reproach. They seem to always offer a great combination of value alongside excellent customer support. While these new CS-series drives aren’t PNY’s first, bringing those ideals to the SSD market is bound to make some competitors sit up and take notice.

Not that long ago PNY took the extra step that most SSD “makers” do not: they opened RMA centers in Canada as well as throughout the world. This greatly increases the chances of the typical consumer not having to deal with duties, international shipping, and the other sundry hassles that usually goes hand in hand with a RMA. Samsung’s SSD division needs to sit up and take notice of this. However, a good RMA path is all well and fine, but when Crucial, OCZ, Intel, Samsung, and even SanDisk offer noticeably “better” drives there is not much sense looking past those options. With the release of the CS1311 and the XLR8 CS2211 series this missing half may finally have been taken care of.



At the end of the day it is really the price to performance ratio that matters most to typical consumers and it is here that PNY have focused most of their attention. To accomplish this they opted to use the very impressive Phison 3100 eight channel controller instead of the more common – at this end of the marketplace – four channel alternatives. Both are priced to be extremely competitive against their direct competitors.

From a raw performance standpoint the XLR8 CS2211 offers on-paper specifications that almost mirror options like the Kingston HpyerX Savage and Crucial’s ubiquitous MX200 series. Meanwhile, the budget-focused CS1311 seems to offer an excellent alternative to Crucial’s BX200.


To many folks looking for a good price / performance / capacity choice, PNY’s CS1311 series costs a mere $48 to a very reasonable $272 (120GB and 960GB respectively), with the 240GB we will be reviewing today only setting back consumers $70 - or 29.2 cents per GB. Essentially, it is looking to be a perfect option for anyone transitioning away from traditional Hard Disk Drives.

The XLR8 CS2211 on the other hand costs between $71 and $310 (240GB to 960GB) with the 480GB model being tested only requiring a $154 (or 32.1 cents per GB) investment. This too is quite reasonable and places it in the hotly contest mainstream arena where it will have to compete against several industry stalwarts.


Externally both are very similar, albeit the XLR8 is obviously the more robust of the two; however, to our eyes the less expensive CS1311 is the more esthetically pleasing model. In either case, both are reasonably good looking in our subjective opinion, and make use of standard 2.5” form-factor with the now standard 7mm z-height. More importantly both use full metal chassis, re even built in the USA (albeit using components made in other countries).

Since both of these models make use of the same controller and an identical form-factor, some will likely wonder what makes one an entry level model and the other an ‘XLR8’ mainstream model. Firstly, the less costly CS1311 comes with an industry standard 3-year warranty, while the XLR8 branded CS2211 comes with a four-year warranty which happens to be full year longer than most of its competition.


It is only when you crack them open that the differences become readily apparent. Both may indeed use the same controller and similar cache type (Nanya DDR3) but this is about the only two things these two models share in common.

The largest difference is rather obvious in that the less expensive CS1311 uses a half-length PCB, while the more expensive XLR8 CS221 uses a full length layout. Hence, the CS1311 can only make use of up 8 NAND ICs but due to the NAND type only four 32GB modules are needed to reach 128GB. This does not mean however that the Phison controller’s eight channels are fully populated. All eight are accessible but are only connected to one layer’s worth of NAND. This will negatively impact the overall performance of the drive, but the NAND type itself will have a larger impact.

Thankfully the ‘Built by Experts’ XLR8 CS2211 can use up to 16 NAND ICs and in the 480GB’s case all are populated which maximizes interleaving. The CS1311 also uses one 128MB RAM IC whereas the CS2211 can accommodate two for a total of 256MB. In all likelihood the larger CS1311’s would have more onboard cache than 128MB and PNY simply feels the smaller capacity models do not need the extra buffer capacity. With that being said, 128MB is the minimal amount we would want to see backstopping this particular controller while 256MB more optimal for heavier usage scenarios.


Moving on, while both have a decent to good amount of RAM cache backstopping the 3110 controller, the less expensive CS1311 pairs it TLC NAND while the XLR8 CS2211 uses cutting edge 15nm Toggle Mode NAND. These are Toshiba Toggle Mode NAND ICs, and not SK Hynix branded like some others are using. This really, really makes the 2211 special and rather exciting as not that long ago Toggle Mode NAND was only used in enthusiast grade drives - yet this rather inexpensive model has them. Brilliant stuff indeed!

Unfortunately, as you can see there is no true hardware based data loss protection on either model. While we were not expecting to see rows upon rows of capacitors on the CS1311, on the XLR8 were expecting to see - at the very least - some of these abilities offered. This missing feature will certainly hinder the more expensive XLR8 CS2211 when compared to the likes of the Crucial MX200 series - which does have power loss data protection built into its design. Essentially, Crucial’s drive grants a relatively secure ecosystem which avoids data corruption in the event of a power failure.

To be fair relying on any Solid State Drive that does not have enterprise grade ‘Flush In Flight’ data protection abilities is a risky proposition and consumers are much better off ensuring their system in on a battery backed UPS than relying upon the drive itself to protect the data in these scenarios.
 
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AkG

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5,274
Introducing the Phison PS 3110 Controller

Introducing the Phison PS 3110 Controller


Phison may not be a household name but that does not mean they are newcomers to the solid state storage industry. Rather they are a company that has been around for a long time but only recently decided to divert their focus from the OEM market. Up until their PS3108 controller, Phison were best known for either being the being the first company to be able to offer OEMs a single-chip USB flash drive IC, or being one of the founders of the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) group.

What few consumers realize is that since their founding in late 2000 Phison has shipped over half a <i>billion</i> NAND flash controllers. Needless to say they may not have name brand recognition in the consumer marketplace, but they are a highly respected company behind the scenes.

Unlike competitors like Indilinx or Marvel, Phison's first generation SATA AHCI NAND flash controller was a touch underwhelming and never gained much traction outside the extreme value end of the spectrum. Considering the experience and patent portfolio of Phison such a misstep must have been very irksome to them. This is why they went back to the drawing board and started with a completely fresh approach to controller design. The end result of their hard work is the new PS3110 controller.

On the surface this controller may not appear to be all that unique as it is 55nm, AHCI, SATA 6Gb/s based design that offers seemingly middle of the road abilities. In fact 550/530 MBps read and write performance with 100K/90K random IOPS is fairly typical for modern controllers. Being an eight channel design is also fairly typical and nothing standout. Of course compared to their previous generation '108 these specifications are a major step up. However, simple specifications such as maximum sequential performance, and even random IOPs rarely tell the full story and the PS3110 is a perfect example of why consumers should never judge by such basic specifications.

Going hand in hand with the increased channels and IOPS is a different approach to load balancing. In most designs, all cores in the controller are continuously conducting a delicate balancing act between garbage collection, other low level tasks and real time I/O requests. This is a big portion of what firmware refinement boils down to: modifying the amount of cycles the controller dedicates towards specific tasks.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/HyperX_Savage/ps3110.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Compare and contrast the standard approach with Phison's approach: rather than load balance cycles at the firmware level, Phison has dedicated a whole processor core for real time requests and then sets the other <i>three</i> cores for garbage collection, and other low level tasks. The only other company's controller which does something even remotely similar is OCZ's Indilinx Barefoot 3 which uses an additional core for specific low level tasks. However, the Phison and PS3110 are the first to take load balancing to such extremes.

On the surface such a move is highly controversial as common sense would lead you to believe that real time IO requests are more important than low level requests. The reality is not so cut and dry, and the opposite is actually closer to the typical scenarios most consumer grade controllers will encounter. The fact of the matter is home users rarely have deep queue depth IO requests and instead the majority of the time the controller has to deal with internal housekeeping measures to keep the data available, the free NAND in a virgin state, and even ensuring the ECC is not corrupted. As such having one core always on standby for user requests and having the other 3 cores being able to seamlessly do behind the scenes tasks is rather brilliant…or insane. In either case it is unique answer to the age old problem of proper load balancing.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/HyperX_Savage/perf.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

The most obvious benefits to such a configuration is that long term performance drop off should be drastically lower than most controllers. The drive's performance will not be noticeably impacted by ongoing behind the scenes garbage collection and even data reliability will also be greater.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/HyperX_Savage/smartECC.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

To help ensure all data is safe, secure, and not corrupted the PS3110 takes a page from SandForce's RAIN technology and treats all its internal ICs not as one large Logical Unit, rather it treats them as a logical array of independent NAND ICs. Such a configuration provides data redundancy and additional ECC via this 'RAID'. This multi-tiered approach to error correction is what Phison calls SmartECC. SmartECC however is not simply an internal RAID array and instead consists of multiple levels.

Let's break down what happens when the controller encounters corrupted data during a read IO request. When such an occurrence happens the PS3110 immediately does a read retry to ensure that the data is actually corrupted and unreadable. This allows a second chance at reading the data at full performance as ECC does significantly impact real time performance. If the data is still found to be corrupted, the controller then reads the 120bit/2KB BCH ECC that is stored in the spare area NAND - i.e. not in the same NAND ICs as the corrupted data. If the standard BCH ECC is not able to fully repair the corruption the controller then reads the RAID ECC parity to fill in the missing data. It is only if after doing all this that the data is still found to be corrupted that the drive will fail the data and notify the system of the issue.

In addition to this extremely aggressive and impressive data protection Phison's PS3110 also implements what they call SmartRefresh. The typical data retention abilities of consumer grade NAND varies from weeks (TLC) to years (SLC) with MLC being good for about a one year period. Put another way, data that is written and then is left static tends to fade and becomes harder to read the longer it is left alone. This is the nature of having four voltage settings for MLC NAND and <i>eight</i> for TLC NAND as the voltage states the smaller the drift has to be before corruption occurs. In some controllers these highly static NAND cells are mostly left alone and only tested once the data is needed. This laissez faire approach to data retention is one reason why Samsung's 840 Evo series had such wildly varying performance.

Phison on the other hand has taken a much more active approach. Since they have so many free cycles - via the three dedicated cores - for housecleaning and maintenance the PS 3110 will actively and routinely read NAND cells and test the results against its ECC - even when the data is not request by the host system. This way 'fading' data can be caught early, refreshed during low IO periods and thus PS3110 controller based drives will almost never suffer the same fate as Samsung 840 Evo drives.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/HyperX_Savage/smartFlush.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Also helping against data corruption, Phison's PS3110 also has two more features called SmartFlush and GuranteedFlush. Much like OCZ's Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+), Phison's SmartFlush minimizes the time that data stays in the ram buffer and is constantly flushing the data to minimize In-Flight data loss from a unexpected loss of power. This is not the same as true Enterprise grade Data Loss Protection but is still nevertheless a nice addition. GuranteedFlush simply means that the PS 3110 is Flush Cache (E7h) command enabled, and as such when the Operating System tells it to flush its buffers so that the system can enter a low power state it will indeed flush its buffer and only when completed will it signal the host controller that it is ready to go to sleep.

Further helping consistent long term performance, Phison has opted for a moderate ~7% of over-provisioning. In the 240GB model this is 16GB while the 480GB models have 22GB set aside. This spare area can be used for everything from bad block replacement to garbage collection. Most importantly, it ensures the controller will always have access to free blocks even when the drive is approaching full capacity. This multi-layer approach to data protection is overkill for the consumer marketplace.

As with most high performance controllers PS3110 controller also meets TCG’s OPAL standards and has built in auto-encryption with 256-bit AES support. However, much like the Barefoot 3 controller, the PS3110 doesn’t have this feature enabled by default. Auto encryption is not required for the average home user or enthusiast and as such will not be missed; however once again thanks to Phison dedicated three cores to internal duties, implementing encryption on a PS3110 drive should have very little to no noticeable impact on performance.

When taken as a whole this new PS3110 seems to be a capable high performance controller that is also extremely adaptable to ever changing conditions found in the real world. Seeing normally enterprise capabilities rolled into a mass market controller is certainly interesting. More importantly these features should make for a great addition to any company’s current stable of high performance drives.
 
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AkG

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5,274
Test System & Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


Testing a drive is not as simple as putting together a bunch of files, dragging them onto folder on the drive in Windows and using a stopwatch to time how long the transfer takes. Rather, there are factors such as read / write speed and data burst speed to take into account. There is also the SATA controller on your motherboard and how well it works with SSDs & HDDs to think about as well. For best results you really need a dedicated hardware RAID controller w/ dedicated RAM for drives to shine. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time, inclination or monetary funds to do this. For this reason our test-bed will be a more standard motherboard with no mods or high end gear added to it. This is to help replicate what you the end user’s experience will be like.

Even when the hardware issues are taken care of the software itself will have a negative or positive impact on the results. As with the hardware end of things, to obtain the absolute best results you do need to tweak your OS setup; however, just like with the hardware solution most people are not going to do this. For this reason our standard OS setup is used. However, except for the Windows 7 load test times we have done our best to eliminate this issue by having the drive tested as a secondary drive. With the main drive being an Intel DC S3700 800GB Solid State Drive.

For synthetic tests we used a combination of the ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTach, HD Tune, Crystal Disk Benchmark, IOMeter, AS-SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark 7.

For real world benchmarks we timed how long a single 10GB rar file took to copy to and then from the devices. We also used 10gb of small files (from 100kb to 200MB) with a total 12,000 files in 400 subfolders.

For all testing a Asus Sabretooth TUF X99 LGA 2011-v3 motherboard was used, running Windows 7 64bit Ultimate edition. All drives were tested using either AHCI mode using Intel RST 10 drivers, or NVMHCI using Intel NVMe drivers.

All tests were run 4 times and average results are represented.

In between each test suite runs (with the exception being IOMeter which was done after every run) the drives are cleaned with either HDDerase, SaniErase or a manufactures 'Toolbox' and then quick formatted to make sure that they were in optimum condition for the next test suite.

Processor: Core i7 5930K
Motherboard: Asus Sabretooth TUF X99
Memory: 32GB Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
Hard Drive: Intel DC S3700 800GB, Intel P3700 800GB
Power Supply: XFX 850

SSD FIRMWARE (unless otherwise noted):

OCZ Vertex 2 100GB: 1.33
Vertex 460 240GB: 1.0
Intel 7230 240GB: L2010400
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB:DXM06B0Q
Plextor M6e 256GB: 1.03
AMD R7 240GB: 1.0
Crucial MX200: MU01
G.Skill Phoenix 480GB: 2.71
Intel 750: 8EV10135
Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB: 0C34L5TA
Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB: SAFM00.r
OCZ Trion 480GB & 960GB: SAFM11.1
AData XPG SX930 240GB : 5.9E
AData SP550 240GB: O0730A
PNY CS2211: CS221016
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SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" 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Name="Balloon Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Theme"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List 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Name="Plain Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="45" Name="Plain Table 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException 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Toshiba TC58 controller:
OCZ Trion 480GB & 960GB - Custom firmware w/ 19nm Toggle Mode TLC NAND

Samsung MDX controller:
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB- Custom firmware w/ 21nm Toggle Mode NAND

SandForce SF1200 controller:
OCZ Vertex 2 - ONFi 2 NAND

SandForce SF2281 controller:
G.Skill Phoenix 480GB - Custom firmware w/ 128Gbit ONFi 3 NAND

Marvell 9183 controller:
Plextor M6e 256GB- Custom firmware w/ 21nm Toggle Mode NAND

Marvell 9189 controller:
Crucial MX200 - Custom firmware w/ 128Gbit ONFi 3 NAND

Marvell 9293 controller:
Kingston HyperX Predator - Custom firmware w/ 19nm Toggle Mode NAND

Barefoot 3 controller:
AMD R7 (M00) - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND w/ custom firmware
OCZ Arc 100 (M10) - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND

Intel X25 G3 controller:
Intel 730 - Custom firmware w/ ONFi 2 NAND

Intel NVMe G1 Controller:
Intel 750 - Customer firmware w/ MLC 20nm NAND

Phison PS3110 Controller:
Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND
PNY CS2211: 15nm Toggle Mode NAND
PNY CS1311: 19nm TLC NAND

JMicron JMF670H Controller:
AData XPG SX930 240GB - ONFi 3 NAND

SMI SM2256 Controller:
AData SP550 240GB - TLC NAND

Special Thanks to Crucial for providing the memory for this testbed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
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5,274
Read Bandwidth / Write Performance

Read Bandwidth


<i>For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience with these hard drives. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture. We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and thus we no longer included it. The most important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/read.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>


Write Performance


<i>For this benchmark HD Tune Pro was used. To run the write benchmark on a drive, you must first remove all partitions from that drive and then and only then will it allow you to run this test. Unlike some other benchmarking utilities the HD Tune Pro writes across the full area of the drive, thus it easily shows any weakness a drive may have.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/write.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

As sequential file performance is not an optimal way of choosing one model over another it comes as no surprise to see that both of these SSDs perform very, very well. With that being said the lower average write performance of the CS1311 does already point to the largest difference between them: the NAND and the strengths and weaknesses of said NAND. Namely TLC is simply slow. Its performance can, and is, boosted via SLC caching but that is still more a stop-gap measure than anything else.
 
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AkG

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5,274
ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark


<i>The ATTO disk benchmark tests the drives read and write speeds using gradually larger size files. For these tests, the ATTO program was set to run from its smallest to largest value (.5KB to 8192KB) and the total length was set to 256MB. The test program then spits out an extrapolated performance figure in megabytes per second. </i>
<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/atto_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/atto_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As you can see the performance curves of both these two PNY drives are very decent. Though this is really not all that surprising as the new Phison controller is rather potent – especially when combined with good NAND like it has been with the XLR8 CS2211.
 
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AkG

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Crystal DiskMark / PCMark 7

Crystal DiskMark


<i>Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5 and size at 100MB. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/cdm_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/cdm_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>


PCMark 7


<i>While there are numerous suites of tests that make up PCMark 7, only one is pertinent: the HDD Suite. The HDD Suite consists of numerous tests that try and replicate real world drive usage. Everything from how long a simulated virus scan takes to complete, to MS Vista start up time to game load time is tested in these core tests; however we do not consider this anything other than just another suite of synthetic tests. For this reason, while each test is scored individually we have opted to include only the overall score.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/pcm.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

This is where the differences in NAND types really does start to show. Even with SLC caching the CS1311 is simply not up to mainstream standards whereas the CS2211 is actually edging in on (SATA) enthusiast grade levels of performance. By the same token the CS1311 is extremely good for its class and is showing very good numbers when compared against other similarly priced drives.
 
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AkG

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5,274
AS-SSD / Anvil Storage Utilities Pro

AS-SSD


<i>AS-SSD is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and small 4K read/write speeds as well as 4K file speed at a queue depth of 6. While its primary goal is to accurately test Solid State Drives, it does equally well on all storage mediums it just takes longer to run each test as each test reads or writes 1GB of data.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/asd_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/asd_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Anvil Storage Utilities Pro


<i>Much like AS-SSD, Anvil Pro was created to quickly and easily – yet accurately – test your drives. While it is still in the Beta stages it is a versatile and powerful little program. Currently it can test numerous read / write scenarios but two in particular stand out for us: 4K queue depth of 4 and 4K queue depth of 16. A queue depth of four along with 4K sectors can be equated to what most users will experience in an OS scenario while 16 depth will be encountered only by power users and the like. We have also included the 4k queue depth 1 results to help put these two other numbers in their proper perspective. All settings were left in their default states and the test size was set to 1GB.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/anvil_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/anvil_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Once again both these drives offer very, very good performance for their perspective classes. PNY really did make a wise decision in opting for the newer Phison controller, and they made an even wiser decision when they were specifying on the XLR8 CS2211’s NAND type – as this drive is really starting to impress us.
 
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AkG

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IOMeter

IOMETER


<i>IOMeter is heavily weighted towards the server end of things, and since we here at HWC are more End User centric we will be setting and judging the results of IOMeter a little bit differently than most. To test each drive we ran 5 test runs per HDD (1,4,16,64,128 queue depth) each test having 8 parts, each part lasting 10 min w/ an additional 20 second ramp up. The 8 subparts were set to run 100% random, 80% read 20% write; testing 512b, 1k, 2k,4k,8k,16k,32k,64k size chunks of data. When each test is finished IOMeter spits out a report, in that reports each of the 8 subtests are given a score in I/Os per second. We then take these 8 numbers add them together and divide by 8. This gives us an average score for that particular queue depth that is heavily weighted for single user environments.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/iom.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this chart really does sum up exactly how important NAND type is. For all intents and purposes the only major difference between these two models is the NAND type and phrases like ‘night and day’ do spring to mind. By that same token the CS1311 is still a very good performer in the budget arena and not that long ago would have easily qualified as a ‘mainstream’ SSD. Put another way, given their low asking price there really is not much to complain about either model.
 
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AkG

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Windows 8.1 / Adobe CS5 Load Time

Windows 8.1 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance


<i>When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. We have chosen Windows 8.1 64bit Pro as our Operating System with all 'fast boot' options disabled in the BIOS. In previous load time tests we would use the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line; this however is no longer the case. We have not only added in a secondary Anti-Virus to load on startup, but also an anti-malware program. We have set Super Anti-Spyware to initiate a quick scan on Windows start-up and the completion of the quick scan will be our new finish line. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/boot.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Adobe CS5 Load Time


<i>Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, and while the latest version is actually pretty decent, when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit fared in the newly updated Adobe crucible! </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/adobe.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As you can see both models perform well here and we doubt any consumer in either class will complain about their abilities. The CS1311 will blow the minds of anyone used to HDD levels of performance, and the XLR CS2211 will impress even experienced SSD users. Brilliant stuff.
 
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AkG

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Firefox Performance / Real World Data Transfers

Firefox Portable Offline Performance


<i>Firefox is notorious for being slow on loading tabs in offline mode once the number of pages to be opened grows larger than a dozen or so. We can think of fewer worse case scenarios than having 100 tabs set to reload in offline mode upon Firefox startup, but this is exactly what we have done here.

By having 100 pages open in Firefox portable, setting Firefox to reload the last session upon next session start and then setting it to offline mode, we are able to easily recreate a worst case scenario. Since we are using Firefox portable all files are easily positioned in one location, making it simple to repeat the test as necessary. In order to ensure repetition, before touching the Firefox portable files, we have backed them up into a .rar file and only extracted a copy of it to the test device.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/ff.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Real World Data Transfers


<i>No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it cannot really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 10.00GB contiguous file and a folder containing 400 subfolders with a total 12,000 files varying in length from 200mb to 100kb (10.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, using MS RichCopy and logging the performance of the drive. Here is what we found. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/copy_lg.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/PNY_CS2211/copy_s,.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As with IOMeter, these tests do highlight the important of NAND type- as not all NAND is the same. As long as consumers understand that along with the lower asking price comes equally lowered performance we doubt many will find even the CS1311 lacking.
 
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