PNY CS3040 1TB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Review

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PNY CS3040 1TB
PNY CS3040 1TB

Today we are taking a look at the PNY CS3040 1TB SSD. PNY uses the XLR8 branding on this drive, but the drive calls itself the CS3040 so that is how I will be referring to it since XLR8 has been used on more than one model drive. This is the first PNY SSD I have looked at in quite a while, and is based on the Phison PS5016-E16 controller, DRAM cache, and Kioxia/Toshiba TLC NAND. In addition, the drive is also available with a preinstalled heatsink for heat management, which is good since the E16 controller has been known to be warm.

PNY CS3040 1TB

The PNY CS3040 1TB comes in a double-sided M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor.

PNY CS3040 1TB Disassembled
PNY CS3040 1TB Disassembled

The PNY CS3040 1TB comes with a relatively large heatsink, and that heatsink is preinstalled. Being preinstalled is a bit of a double-edged sword; if you intend to install this drive in a motherboard with an integrated heatsink, be aware that you will have to remove the heatsink and it does not necessarily come off cleanly.

PNY CS3040 1TB Front
PNY CS3040 1TB Front

Below that heatsink is the Phison PS5016-E16 controller, a SK hynix DRAM cache, and half of the NAND. The Phison PS5016-E16 was the first widely available PCIe 4.0 NVMe controller and is shared by a number of other drives we have tested in the past.

PNY CS3040 1TB Back
PNY CS3040 1TB Back

On the back, we have another DRAM module and the other half of the NAND. As you can see, removing the heatsink is not something that PNY intends users to do. Users that do not need the heatsink are advised to buy a SKU that does not include it. We just wanted to show what was underneath.

PNY CS3040 Specs

The PNY CS3040 line of TLC-based SSDs supposedly available in sizes ranging from 500GB to 4TB. I say supposedly because I cannot actually find evidence that the 4TB drive has been publicly released.

PNY CS3040 1TB Specs
PNY CS3040 1TB Specs

Our 1TB drive is in the lower middle of that range, but the read and write performance specs are the same as the higher capacity 2TB model. At 5600 MB/s read and 4300 MB/s write, I have high expectations for the performance from this drive. Interestingly, the 4TB model has both lower write speeds as well as a huge drop in rated endurance compared to the rest of the line, which would lead me to speculate that perhaps it is using a different type of NAND like QLC. With the exception of the 4TB drive, the CS3040 line enjoys excellent rated endurance, and our 1TB drive is rated at 1800TBW. This high endurance puts the drive on par with the Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 1TB and significantly beats the rating on the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB drive, which only has a 700TBW endurance rating. This somewhat makes sense, since the CS3040, Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0, and Corsair Force MP600 are all very similar drives that are powered by the same controller and NAND.

PNY CS3040 1TB CrystalDiskInfo
PNY CS3040 1TB CrystalDiskInfo

CrystalDiskInfo can give us some basic information about the SSD, and confirms we are operating at PCIe 4.0 x4 speeds using NVMe 1.3.

Test System Configuration

We are using the following configuration for this test:

  • Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X570-P
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (12C/24T)
  • RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200 UDIMMs

Our testing uses the PNY CS3040 1TB as the boot drive for the system, installed in the M.2_1 slot on the motherboard. The drive is filled to 85% capacity with data and then some is deleted, leaving around 60% used space on the volume.

Next, we are going to get into our performance testing.

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