PNY XLR8 CS2311 2.5” SATA III SSD

PNY XLR8 CS2311

Pros

  • Blazing fast speed for SATA SSD
  • Reliable (5 year limited warranty)
  • High capacity - up to 2TB
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Not as fast as M.2 NVMe SSD

Next Gen consoles are all the hype at the moment, and for good reason. The performance of the new PS5 and Xbox Series X will blow their predecessors out of the water. One of the biggest reasons is the implementation of a custom Solid State Drive (SSD). Of course, PC users have enjoyed the benefits of SSDs for years, but a probative cost-per-GB generally meant a SSD for the system drive while bulky games and files languished on a slow mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). If that is your setup (or if you haven’t at all ventured into the world of SSDs), read on. PNY have a solution that should interest every PC gamer with a need for speed (or any other game, really…) – the PNY XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD.

 

PNY XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD

Whether you are looking to build a new PC or upgrade an existing rig, this gaming-focussed, high capacity SSD is a worthy addition.

PNY’s XLR8 brand is their gamer-focussed division and they pump out some truly spectacular SSD, RAM and GPU products. Each one is focussed on squeezing out maximum performance, while still delivering competitive pricing and a strong user experience. If you are unfamiliar with the PNY name, it is because they are just now rapidly expanding their offering in the Australian market. PNY has, however, a long history of global involvement in the electronics field.

The XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD maxes out the speeds of the SATA III connection, to provide a consistently fast and smooth user experience. Those who have never used an SSD before will notice the incredible speed difference – something I discussed in my laptop upgrade article recently. This drive also performs faster than some earlier or entry level SSDs, so it is worth considering the upgrade if you were an early adopter to SSDs.

The XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD uses advanced 3D NAND flash memory, which enables larger capacity, faster performance, a longer lifespan and lower power consumption. PNY state that they use an extensive testing and rigorous validation process to ensure compatibility across multiple operating systems. This is all very pleasing, because if there is one thing (other than speed) that you want from your storage, it’s reliability. Of course, as I would with any of form of storage device, I highly recommend using a robust backup solution.

The XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD is available in a range of sizes, from 250GB to a whopping 2TB. PNY have sent me the 500GB version to test out in my PC upgrade.

 

PNY XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD Uses

The XLR8 series might be gamer-focussed, but you certainly don’t have to limit your use of this SSD to games.

The speed and reliability of the CS2311 would make it an excellent system drive if you are limited to SATA connections. Most new motherboards have M.2 NVMe connections, which suit a whole new level of SSD speed. If you have one available, it makes sense to use it as the system drive. However, those looking to gain a significant performance boost out of an older system could do worse than consider replacing the old HDD with one from the CS2311 range.

I use a M.2 NVME SSD in my 3 year old build as the system disk. When I built my machine, SSDs were both more expensive and lower capacity, so (despite the use of a mechanical HDD for mass storage), my system disk has filled up to near its capacity. Games like Civilization VI and Forza Motorsport are some of the biggest space hogs, because life is too short to try and run them off a HDD.

In my PC, the XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD arrived at the perfect time! Its SATA-saturating speed is just what I need for my dedicated gaming drive! All that hype around next Gen consoles, when us PC users can enjoy most of the benefits right now! (There are some differences from the console SSDs.)

 

Installing the PNY XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD

The exact installation procedure you use will vary, depending on your circumstances. If looking to install the SSD in a laptop, check out my laptop upgrade article.

For my use, the XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD has been installed in addition to the existing M.2 NVME system drive and the 3.5″ mass storage HDD. In this way it fills a void in my setup. My system drive can now be reserved solely for system tasks and I’m not left trying run games on the slow HDD.

 

 

Installation is a straightforward process. You will need a free SATA cable and power connector. If replacing an old drive, this is simply a matter of using the same cables. If it is an additional drive, you will need to check for a free power connector and purchase a SATA cable.

Once installed, simply turn on the computer and type “create and format hard disk partitions” (or just “format”) into the search bar. Here you can name the new disk, allocate a letter and perform the format. BE CAREFUL TO SELECT THE NEW PNY DISK. I have a long and terrifying story about accidentally formatting my main storage drive when installing my first ever SSD that I will not get into now. It worked out okay… I was able to recover the wedding invites just in time

As an extra precaution, I unplugged my main storage drive before formatting the new one, then turned off the computer and plugged in back in. You really don’t have to be that paranoid, just pay attention to what you are doing!

 

Using the PNY XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD

The first thing I did after installing the XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD was relieve some pressure from my system disk by moving Civilization VI.

The glorious speed of these two drives had the task done and dusted in a few minutes. Steam’s inbuilt location transfer ability made the change easy.

The next job was to bring the actual Steam client across. The details of this process can be found here.

Next up was Epic Games Launcher. I couldn’t find any easy way to deal with this move, so it was simply a matter of deleting it and reinstalling. Obviously this also impacts games, so if you have a large Epic catalogue, you may need to do some deeper research. The only game I have through Epic at the moment is GTA V (from the recent giveaway), so this didn’t bother me.

I have also reserved 150GB for the upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator. I haven’t looked forward to a game release this much for a long time, so I’m thrilled to have the hardware in place already to take full advantage of it. Of course, the SSD is only part of that picture, so I’ve also secured the RAM and GPU for the job!

 

Final Thoughts

As fast as I am concerned, SSDs are now a “must have” component in any build. The price for even high capacity drives is now reasonable and the performance gains mean you are getting good value out of the new drive. The XLR8 CS2311 2.5″ SATA III SSD comes in a range of sizes to suit the needs of any gamer and the performance focus of the drive makes it a very tempting option as a stand-alone game drive. Take into account PNY’s very competitive pricing and 5 year limited warranty, and you have gaming SATA SSD that is hard to beat.

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