On paper, PNY has just unveiled the fastest consumer SSD, topping the best SSDs for gaming in rated performance. To that end, its new XLR8 CS3140—a pretty boring name for such a speedy drive, but then again, Ghost Tree was already taken—is advertised as being able to hit sequential read speeds of up to 7,500MB/s, and sequential writes of up to 6,850MB/s.
This is an M.2 form factor drive with an NVMe Gen 4 (or x4) interface. That means it pumps data through the PCI Express 4.0 bus to hit such incredibly fast data transfers. It’s a remarkable jump over earlier PCIe 4.0 models too, which debuted at speeds topping out at 5,000MB/s. And for added reference, the fastest SATA SSDs zip around in the neighborhood of 550-580MB/s.
Newer controllers have paved the way to push read and writes to new levels, and so far, the PCIe 4.0 x4 bus that today’s M.2 slots are attached to have the requisite bandwidth to accommodate increasingly faster drives. Not for long, though. The theoretical upper limit for PCIe 4.0 x4 is 8,000MB/s (or 8GB/s), and actually a little less if factoring in any inevitable loss for overhead.
That means there is still room—albeit very little—for another drive maker to leapfrog PNY. As of right now, however, the XLR8 CS3140 is the fastest rated consumer SSD (single drive) on the market, having shoved aside Adata’s XPG Gammix S70 for the distinction. Here’s how it stacks up:
- PNY XLR8 CS3140—7,500MB/s reads, 6,850MB/s writes
- Adata XPG Gammix S70—7,400MB/s reads, 6,400MB/s writes
- Sabrent Rocket 4—7,000MB/s reads, 6,850MB/s writes
- Samsung 980 Pro—7,000MB/s reads, 5,000MB/s writes
PNY’s class-leading speed metrics apply to the 2TB capacity version. The company also plans to release a 1TB variant with the same 7,500MB/s read performance, but with a slower 5,650MB/s write rating.
These proposed ratings are also PNY’s own, and we’ll have to run the drive through our own benchmarking suite to gauge how close the real thing gets.
These drives will be available with or without a chunky heatsink included. The heatsink weighs 45 grams and is made of aluminum that has been carved into eight individual vertical fins to allow for airflow. It will be interesting to compare performance between using a heatsink and running the drive naked. As heat builds up within the controller, SSDs tend to throttle.
PNY has not yet announced pricing for its new drives, but did say they will release to places like Amazon and Best Buy at the end of this month. The drives will carry a five-year warranty.