Today I’m testing the PNY XLR8 CS3040 NVMe M.2 SSD 1 TB, which supports PCIe 4.0 and is still relatively new to the market. With a daily price of 170 Euros (Amazon) for the model with a heat sink, it is on a fairly identical price level compared to similar SSDs, so you will have to take a closer look to see if and what differences there (might) be (or not). After all, 5 years warranty is already a good basis.
We remember: Parallel to the launch of AMD’s then new X570 platform, the first NVMe SSDs supporting PCIe Generation 4.0 also came onto the market. The selection is still relatively modest and it doesn’t get any more diverse once you take a closer look at most of the competitor products. For example, I got my hands on a Patriot Viper VP4100 a while back and use it to backup my workstation test system. And there you can find quite interesting parallels, but always nicely one after the other.
So quickly back to the CS3040. PNY has a rather fat and massive cooler mounted here, but it serves its purpose perfectly. It encloses the entire SSD, including the back. Anyone who wants to mount the part below a graphics card should be warned. Here there may already be problems with the installation height. But everything can be unscrewed…
Since I am a rather curious person, I have also removed the cooler once with this SSD. Normally I prefer to cool the SSDs with the cover of the motherboard, but this one has a lot to offer. The mounting is very positive, because the small screws are not only solid, but also ensure the safe removal of the cooler if necessary. The VP4100 was completely glued down, which is really a no-go. Here, instead of a double-sided adhesive tape, real heat conducting pads with the popular crumb factor 10 are used. You know this from my graphics card mods.
And what can I say, when I looked at the board including components, there was (once again) a nice déjà vu! I pulled out the pictures of the Patriot Viper VP4100 and the Corsair Force MP600, looked at them, and quickly realized that I’m right on the money again. Thus, all three SSDs are at least visually and in the assembly first completely identical! Even the version of the board layout is the same. While the boards from PNY and Patriot still show the original manufacturer code from Techvest (Taiwan), the MP600 is at least labeled directly to Corsair.
The PNY XLR8 CS3040 is a high-quality SSD through and through, just like its counterparts from Corsair or Patriot. All these drives shine with high sequential performance and differ only in a few details in firmware and speed interpretation. Thanks to the Phison E16 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe controller and four 256 MB modules of BiCS4 TLC from Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory) with 96 layers, both have been equipped with the same genes.
In addition, two 512 MB DDR4 modules H5AN4G4NBJR from SK Hynix are placed on each board. The drives also have a fairly long lifespan of 2,000 TB. Unlike Corsair’s Force MP600, however, the CS3040 doesn’t offer support for hardware-accelerated AES 256-bit encryption, but it does have standard support for S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, trimming support, and the Format NVM command to securely wipe the drive.
If you ask around in OEM circles, both boards are based on the same base design kit, which also applies to the hull of the firmware. Both manufacturers place different emphasis here, whereby the theoretical read rates of the PNY XLR8 CS3040 are stated a tad higher. That’s exactly what I want to question then. However, a real datasheet could not be found on PNY’s site, nor via Google, but this is not a big deal considering the existing similarities with other Techvest boards.
Test system and test preparation
To verify the theoretical information from the specs, I use the usual suspects like CrystalDiskMark and Atto. However, I don’t make it easy even for these programs, because both SSDs are occupied by the same image, which accounts for about 66% of the storage space, and they have roughly equal read and write usage. Thus, these are not brand-new SSDs, but rather everyday goods that have already been properly worn down. Let’s see what remains of the theory in everyday life after the wear and tear. The SSDs to be tested are located in the second NVMe slot of the motherboard and are not used as a system disk.
In addition, I still use AJA as an everyday test to simulate the encoding of larger Ultra-HD video streams and the storage test of SPECwpc, which contains a lot of real applications and you can be curious what performance is left there with the large workloads. However, I picked out the applications with the biggest differences and loads as examples. The whole thing runs on my current small workstation with the Ryzen 9 3950X and the MSI MEG X570 Godlike along with 32 GB DDR4 3600.
I have also summarized the individual components of the test system in a table:
|Test System and Equipment
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
||Alphacool Ice Block XPX Pr
o Alphacool Ice Wolf (modified)
||1x Optris PI640 + 2x Xi400 Thermal Imagers
Pix Connect Software
Type K Class 1 thermal sensors (up to 4 channels)
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro (all updates, current certified drivers)|
PNY XLR8 CS3040 1TB, M.2, Kühlkörper (M280CS3040HS-1TB-RB)