The PNY CS1311 240G SSD was purchased solely upon its glowing reviews. And it deserves the praise considering that it exceeds the read/write claims on the box. I was impressed with this much performance for such a low price. Performance was slightly better than an older (and more expensive) Samsung 840 EVO SSD, and it is plug-and-play compatible with Linux.
The PNY CS1311 is a series of SATA 6Gb/s drives available in a variety of capacities. This one is the 240G version. It arrives neatly packaged in a small box that includes the usual warranty information, foam padding, and a plastic standoff to accommodate deeper drive bays.
Is it Compatible with Linux?
Yes. The back of the box even specifies Linux compatibility. Simply plug it into a SATA 6Gb/s connector on the motherboard, and Linux will automatically use it. Be sure that the SATA port is enabled in BIOS, and use AHCI (BIOS option) if possible. I have had good results with Legacy IDE and AHCI, but it might make a difference with some motherboards.
Even though 240G is the quoted capacity on the box, after formatting, only 223G is available for usage. This is normal practice since all hard drives have about 7% less usable capacity after formatting.
How Does it Perform?
Very good, in fact. The CS1311 was tested in both Linux and Windows 7 by connecting it directly to the SATA 6Gb/s connectors. AHCI was enabled in BIOS. CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 was used to test the drive formatted as NTFS on Windows 7. On Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon, the Disks benchmark tested the drive formatted as NTFS and ext4.
Windows 7, CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2
This test was consistent reaching top reads of 560 MB/s and writes of 534 MB/s. No two benchmarks were exactly alike in their results, but after running multiple tests, the results were consistent within a reasonable range.
For comparison, here are the results for a Samsung 840 EVO on the same system.
Linux Mint 17.3, Disks Benchmark
Since CrystalDiskMark does not run on Linux, the built-in Disks benchmark must be used. (You will find it in Menu > Preferences > Disks.) This benchmark always produces numbers different from CrystalDiskMark, and they are usually lower for any test performed with any drive. Both NTFS and ext4 file systems were tested. Results were somewhat odd using Disks.
Also, these Linux tests were performed on a different test system using using an A10-5800K APU with an A85 chipset (a slower system) to see if it would make much of a difference. A SATA 6Gb/s connection was still used.
Linux Mint 17.3, NTFS, Disks 100x10MB
Linux Mint 17.3, NTFS, Disks 3x1GB
Linux Mint 17.3, NTFS, Disks 100x100MB
Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 3x1GB
After reformatting the drive to ext4 using gparted, the Disks benchmark was tried again to see if the file system made any difference.
Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 5x1GB
Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 100x100MB
Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 1000x100MB
Not sure what is going on. A different system? The type of integrated circuits used in the PNY SSD? A different type of benchmarking algorithm compared to CrystalDiskMark? A slower processor? NTFS results were all over the place, but the ext4 results were more consistent. From this, it appears that the chosen file system plays a small role.
Keep in mind that these are not official performance measurements — just measurements to get an idea of how the drive performs on typical systems.
Will this matter during everyday usage? No. I have been using this drive for myself, and I cannot tell any difference in speed from a Samsung 840 EVO. Booting, opening programs, reading and writing large files, and other common everyday operations — it’s all fast from a user’s perspective despite what the Disks graph shows.
Despite the inconsistent Disks results that revealed lower writes after a while, I am very pleased with the PNY CS1311 240G SSD. It was worth the money. For its low cost and reasonable capacity, this drive delivers on the performance claims, and it is worth recommending for those unwilling or unable to purchase a more expensive Samsung SSD.