PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit review: “one of the best performing drives Ive ever used”

The PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit bundles the PNY CS3140 (opens in new tab) Gen 4×4 NVMe SSD with an integrated heatsink designed exclusively to replace the PS5’s own M.2 port cover. Retailing for $250, and promising sequential performance of up to 7,500 MB/s reads, this console storage bundle certainly has what it takes to be considered one of the best PS5 SSDs on the market in 2022. 

Design & Features

Without question, the biggest feature of the PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit is the inclusion of the integrated PS5 heatsink cover itself. Similar to what we’ve previously seen with the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, PNY has opted to create a specifically developed heatsink to align within the PS5’s dedicated M.2 port and cover, which has been claimed to improve performance, though more on that later. 

The bundled PNY XLR8 SSD cover with integrated heatsink is certainly the largest and heaviest of its type that I’ve personally come across in all my times testing SSD drives. The cover portion itself is substantially thicker than the standard PS5 M.2 SSD covering, with the heatsink portion itself being topped with an adhesive thermal pad to stick to the PNY CS3140. At a time when many PS5 SSD manufacturers are wrapping their existing drives in heat spreaders to allow for maximum airflow, PNY’s approach here mimics that of a  larger motherboard heatsink that you would find in a gaming PC. This is because the thermal pad expels heat when under more stress, keeping core temperatures down. 

As for the PNY CS3140 itself, though, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that the Phison E18 controller is present in full effect allowing for such spectacular claimed sequential rates. I’ve had many good things to say about PS5-ready SSDs utilizing this particular controller in the past, which I believe to be the best on the market, purely for the fact that we’re now getting close to the Gen 4.0 cap here. 

PNY SSD Gaming Kit

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

Inside the PS5 system, the PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit excels as one of the best performing drives I’ve ever used in the console. Most PS5 SSDs that I’ve tested, despite the claimed sequential performance in the marketing, tend to top out at around the 5,500 MB/s mark from Sony’s official post-format benchmark. I was impressed to see the PNY CS3140 clocked at 6,547.477 MB/s read, which shows the prowess of the aforementioned Phison E18 in action. 

In my testing, I was roughly able to clock the drive at around 1GB/s in my transfer tests, which is a rate I cannot say I’ve seen too often. Take the included Astro’s Playroom playable tech demo for instance, with its 11.02GB file size. The game made the jump from the PS5’s internal storage to the PNY CS3140 in a mere 11.11 seconds. Similarly speedy was Metro Exodus (13.57GB) and its 13.27 seconds of transfer time. Larger titles were consistent in this respect as well, even exceeding this estimate, such as with Ghost of Tsushima (59.22GB), which was written onto the PNY drive in just 48.80 seconds. 

It’s likely that the specifically designed dedicated PS5 heatsink and cover here is what’s keeping the PNY CN3140 cool enough to produce these kinds of rates without any thermal throttling. The speed afforded by the PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit genuinely is there though, as in my playtesting, the drive perfectly matched Sony’s internal hard drive beat-for-beat in-game, too. 

PNY SSD Gaming Kit

(Image credit: PNY)

Should you buy the PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit? 

Despite carrying a $250 MSRP, we’ve frequently found the PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit retailing at around the $159.99 mark which is more in line with other PS5-ready Gen 4.0 drives. As a complete package, you’re getting an easy and convenient way to expand your PS5’s internal storage that you’ll likely only have to touch once. If you can find the PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit for the latter figure, then it’s an easy recommendation to expand your console’s storage with sequential performance that is rarely ever seen.  

Also of note, the PNY XLR8 SSD Cover for PS5 is available on its own for $19.99 (opens in new tab)

How we tested the PNY XLR8 SSD Gaming Kit

I installed the PNY XLR8 SSD gaming kit into my PS5 console and recorded the benchmark times given after formatting. From there, various transfer speed and loading time tests were done to see how the included CN3140 fared against the console’s internal storage. 


For more PS5 storage options, we’re also rounding up the best PS5 external hard drives, and you can find more Gen 4.0 NVMe options with the best SSDs for gaming

The Verdict

4

4 out of 5

PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit

The PNY XLR8 SSD 1TB Gaming Kit combines one of the fastest Gen 4.0 drives on the market with an effective and thoughtfully designed heatsink for one of the best PS5 SSD options on the market.

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