PNY XLR8 (CS3140) SSD review: A great M.2 SSD that works brilliantly with PC and PlayStation 5

Your games will seem faster.

(Image: © Future)

Windows Central Verdict

Available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, you can comfortably use the PNY XLR8 (CS3140) inside your desktop, laptop, or PlayStation 5. It's rapid (for PCIe 4.0 at least) and has a solid controller for heavier gaming sessions.


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    Phison E18 controller

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    Included heatsink

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    Impressive value

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    PCIe Gen 4.0


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    Lackluster write speeds

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PCIe 5.0 is just about starting to take off with the push from Intel through 12th Gen Alder Lake. AMD is playing catch up here and companies like PNY are rolling out PCIe 4.0 SSDs to ensure compatibility with both standards. Enter the PNY XLR8 (CS3140), which is available with a heatsink and works with PlayStation 5.

I've used the PNY XL68 for approximately two weeks to adequately test the storage in real-world scenarios and in synthetic benchmarks to determine whether this is one of the best SSDs for your PC.

Price, specifications, and availability


(Image credit: Future)

The PNY XLR8 (CS3140) is available in a few flavors, depending on the capacity desired and whether you require a heatsink. Prices start from $129.99 for 1TB. This range tops out at 4TB, which costs $674.99. 

If you plan to throw in the heatsink for PC use, it costs a little more, but depending on discounts you can sometimes get it for less. At the time of review, the 4TB SSD with heatsink costs $667.99, a full $7 cheaper than the model without the heatsink.

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Header Cell - Column 0 PNY XLR8 (CS3140) 1TBPNY XLR8 (CS3140) 2TBPNY XLR8 (CS3140) 4TB
Form factorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
NANDMicron 96-layer TLCMicron 96-layer TLCMicron 96-layer TLC
ControllerPhison PS5018-E18Phison PS5018-E18Phison PS5018-E18
InterfacePCIe 4.0x4 NVMe 1.4PCIe 4.0x4 NVMe 1.4PCIe 4.0x4 NVMe 1.4
Endurance (TBW)700TB1,400TB3,000TB
Warranty5 years5 years5 years

PlayStation 5 heatsink pricing is a small premium compared to PC counterparts. Prices range from $144.98 to $694.98. Endurance is fantastic for each drive with the terabytes written (TBW) rating coming in at 700TB, 1,400TB, and 3,000TB for 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB, respectively.

PNY XLR8 (CS3140): What I like


(Image credit: Future)

The PNY XLR8 (CS3140) is the latest PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD from PNY. It's available in three capacities: 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. We're yet to see PCIe 5.0 SSDs hit the market in full force and as such, companies including PNY are still rolling out PCIe 4.0 drives like the XLR8 CS3140.

To manage everything on the SSD, PNY makes use of the excellent Phison PS5018-E18 controller, which is also found in other premium SSDs, including the Rocket 4 Plus from Sabrent. It's an eight-channel NVMe 1.4 chip made using TSMC’s 12nm process. 

It's possible to enjoy speeds of up to 8GB/s with PCIe 4.0 and PNY is right up there with upwards of 7,500MB/s listed on the specifications sheet. Endurance is pretty good too and the five-year warranty will provide peace of mind when loading up Steam libraries onto the drive.

Performance is good for a PCIe 4.0 SSD. In CrystalDiskMark, we managed 7,119MB/s in peak sequential reads. This was followed by 5,597MB/s in a sequential write test using the same software. The PNY XLR8 CS3140 is among the best in class for reading data, but you will see it fall behind when writing.

For temperatures, you're going to experience the 50s (Celsius) and potentially beyond, depending on how hard you're hitting the drive. Throw in the optional heatsink for PC and you can bring these down slightly. I'd recommend using the PlayStation 5-designed heatsink for use inside Sony's console.

PNY XLR8 (CS3140): What I dislike


(Image credit: Future)

There's not a lot I dislike about the PNY XLR8 (CS3140). It's a solid PCIe 4.0 drive that even works with a PlayStation 5 with an available heatsink. It's not the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD on the market, however, especially when looking at write speeds. For gaming, this isn't a major concern and can be overlooked thanks to the excellent read speeds.

It's worth noting that you will need a PCIe 4.0 slot to take advantage of the available performance. You can technically use this drive on a motherboard with a PCIe 3.0 slot, but I wouldn't recommend spending more than you need to on an SSD that you won't fully be able to enjoy. The latest AMD and Intel motherboards all support either PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 5.0.

It's a little pricey too. The 4TB comes in at more than $600. Other SSDs and HDDs are more affordable, offering better value for dollar per GB. The XPG SX8100 4TB is $400 but doesn't have speeds anywhere close to the XLR8 from PNY and is PCIe 3.0.

PNY XLR8 (CS3140): Competition

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

(Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There's plenty of competition out there for M.2 NVMe SSDs, especially those designed to the PCIe 4.0 standard. We're big fans of the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, which is ridiculously fast. It has a solid TBW rating for endurance, meaning you can write serious amounts of data before encountering issues under warranty.

Then there's the XPG Gammix S70, which is among the fastest SSD we've tested for raw transfer speeds. XPG also offers a heatsink with the SSD to handle these high data speeds, though it falls a little in emulated real-world benchmark tests. Compared to the PNY XLR8 (CS3140), you're going to have a good time with any of these SSDs.

PNY XLR8 (CS3140): Should you buy it?


(Image credit: Future)

You should buy if ...

  • You want a rapid PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD
  • You have a compatible PC or PS5
  • You don't need any sizes smaller than 500GB or larger than 4TB

You shouldn't buy if ...

  • You want the absolute fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • You need a drive that's smaller than 1TB or larger than 4TB

I really like the PNY XLR8. It's a great SSD for gaming on PC and supported consoles. The ability to purchase the SSD with either an M.2 heatsink for PC or PlayStation 5 can help those who want to create a gaming system with the lowest operating temperatures. 

Especially with data-heavy games that require drive access, PCIe 4.0 SSDs can get real hot. Read speeds are most important here, and they're about as good as you'll get with PCIe 4.0. Write speeds aren't as good as competitor products, notably top-end SSDs, but they're also considerably more expensive.

While not the fastest PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD on the market, the PNY XLR8 (CS3140) is great for PC gaming and the PlayStation 5. If you're wanting to give your existing gaming rig an upgrade or build your own PC, you can't really go wrong with deploying this drive as a secondary storage SSD.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.