The PNY CS1311 240G SSD and Linux

📅 April 19, 2016
cs1311aSolid State Drives (SSDs) have improved greatly in their speeds and lifetimes during the past few years, so most SSDs today will offer fairly excellent performance for the price.

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 Drive

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.


Showing only the drive and the box cover. No cables or screws included.


Box back. The drive has a 3-year warranty and claims “up to” 550 MB/s reads and 520 MB/s writes (sequential). The little ** asterisks on any box usually mean “Don’t get your hopes up,” but this drive actually meets those claims. The box mentions Linux compatibility.


PNY CS1311 240G SSD. It has a 7mm thickness, so a plastic standoff is included for deeper drive bays. The drive is not textured as it might appear upon first glance. What you see is a large, plastic sticker on the top of the drive.


Bottom side of the drive containing informative details regarding capacity, serial numbers, firmware, and manufacturing origin.

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.

Formatted Capacity

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.


Windows 7 properties after formatting the PNY CS1311 with NTFS. Note that the formatted capacity is 223G, not 240G.


Fresh out of the box, Windows 7 required initializing the PNY CS1311 before it would accept it into the system. MBR was chosen. Until this step was completed, Windows 7 would not see the drive.

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.


5x100MB test. NTFS.


3 x 1GB test. NTFS.

For comparison, here are the results for a Samsung 840 EVO on the same system.


Samsung 840 EVO 250G SSD on the same system. The PNY is pretty much equivalent to this in read/write speeds, and there is no noticeable difference in performance during everyday usage.

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


NTFS. It was difficult to get consistent results with Disks. The graph would show varying reads and writes with different results no matter how many times the benchmark was repeated.

Linux Mint 17.3, NTFS, Disks 3x1GB


NTFS. Speeds are more consistent with the larger 1GB test.

Linux Mint 17.3, NTFS, Disks 100x100MB


NTFS. What’s this? Writes begin with promise, but they fall drastically.

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.


ext4. 3x1GB tests seemed to offer more consistent results. We see 536/487MB read/write performance, but this is normal for Disks, which always shows lower numbers than CrystalDiskMark. So far, I would say that the PNY is living up to its claims.

Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 5x1GB


ext4. Uh-oh. It’s happening again. After a while, the graph shows a drop in write performance similar to what the NTFS tests showed.

Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 100x100MB


ext4. Again, reads and writes remain fairly consistent for a time, but the writes suddenly drop to lower speeds about halfway through the test.

Linux Mint 17.3, ext4, Disks 1000x100MB


ext4. What happens during an extended period of writing? Here is a test involving 1000 samples, 100MB each. Reads remain consistent throughout, but writes drop significantly shortly after starting.

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.


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