PNY CS1031 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review

PNY Building
Established in 1985, PNY Technologies Inc. is an American company and one of the leading manufacturer and supplier of memory modules, memory cards, and storage peripherals for personal computers, printers, and workstations. They also produce boards for nVidia GeForce graphics card and partnered with NVIDIA for more hardware and software solutions used in workstations, datacenters, networking, and AI.


PNY Products


The Drive


The PNY CS1031 came in with a very basic packaging, a cardboard with some printed information specs about the SSD both in the front and back. It didn’t even come in with a box.



The drive has sticker on both sides. On the front, it has the same labels as the CS2000 models -PNY logo and its model number. At the back, you will see more details about the drive like capacity, interface, serial number, and certifications.



Removing the sticker you will see the three NAND flash and the controller. One of the NAND flash has a sticker on it with QR code, its capacity, and some random numbers. The NAND flash is from SpecTek, a division of Micron, that is known for manufacturing and supplying NAND flash and DRAM chips on other SSD brands like Crucial and Kingston. Its label PF707AS2208, however, doesn’t appear to be in either SpecTek or Micron’s list.
Its controller is Phison’s PS5013-E13-31. According to Phison’s datasheet, it can deliver up to 230K IOPS for 4K random read and 390K IOPS for 4K random write. Phison is one of the leading NAND flash controller manufacturer and supplier for known SSD brands like Kingston, TeamGroup, and Patriot.



Usable Capacities256GB/ 500G/ 1TB/ 2TB
NAND Components3D NAND TLC
InterfacePCIe Gen 3x4 NVMe 1.3
Form FactorM.2 2280
Product Dimensions (L×W×H)22 x 80 x 2 mm
Max Sequential Read256GB: Up to 1700MB/s
500G: Up to 2200MB/s
1TB/ 2TB: Up to 2400MB/s
Max Sequential Write256GB: up to 1100MB/s
500GB: up to 1200MB/s
1TB/ 2TB: up to 1750MB/s
Terabytes written (TBW)256GB: 150, 500GB: 110
1TB: 240, 2TB:480
PCIe Link Power ManagementAPST, ASPM, L1.2
Operating Temperature0°C to 70°C
CertificationsBSMI, CE, FCC, KCC, VCCI, REACH, RoHS
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)2 Million Hours
Error Correction CodeLess than 1 sector per ten quadrillion bits read
Full End-to-End Data path protectionSupported
Performance OptimizationTRIM (requires OS support)
Warranty5-year Limited Warranty

The PNY CS1031 is a budget M.2 NVMe SSD designed to be an upgrade for most SATA SSD. There’s nothing really special in its specs sheet, most numbers are similar numbers you will see in most entry-level NVMe SSD with PCIE Gen 3×4 interface. The CS1031 model is actually for Asian region while the PNY CS1030 is for global, so don’t be confused if the CS1031 model is not available in your local stores.



Sequential Read and Write Performance

PNY CS1031 benchmark

Looking CrystalDiskMark results, the PNY CS1031 posted 2,340 MB/s on both sequential read test which is way higher compared to its specs sheet for 256 GB variant, which is only up to 1,700 MB/s. The 1TB and 2TB variants however are up to 2,400 MB/s. Its sequential write of 1,240 MB/s also exceeded what’s in specs sheet, which is 1,100 MB/s.


PNY CS1031 benchmark

Comparing it to the Walram SSD, The PNY CS1031 is 4x faster in read and write performance. Making this drive a solid upgrade from a cheap SSD SATA drive.


PNY CS1031 benchmark

The AS SSD benchmark results are closer to the specs sheet especially the sequential write performance which is right on with 1,130 MB/s. But the sequential read is still higher than specs sheet with 1,900 MB/s.


PNY CS1031 benchmark


Random Read and Write Performance

PNY CS1031 benchmark

The random read performance of PNY CS1031 is not much better than the Walram SSD, delivering 39 MB/s, only 12 MB/s faster than Walram. The random write performance though is different, delivering 185 MB/s, a little more than doubled of Walram’s 85 MB/s.


Response Time Performance


Response time is the time it takes for the drive to respond to a request for data. From our test, the PNY CS1031 took 126 microseconds for 4K read and 34 microseconds in 4K write, both results are way faster than the Walram’s response time.

Video Editing

For our video editing test, we imported GoPro videos, three of them were 3.9 GB and one 981 MB, for a total size of 12.86 GB and total duration of 57 minutes and 35 seconds. All of the files were copied to the drives being tested. Upon importing these files and putting them all in the timeline, Sony Vegas will build peaks for audio and we used our phone timer to measure the time until Sony Vegas finished building peaks and the imported videos are ready for editing. The peak files are also created in the same drive and folder where the videos are located.


PNY CS1031 vegas benchmark

To no surprise, the PNY CS1031 finished faster than the Walram SSD. The PNY took 30 seconds while the Walram took 40 seconds, a 10 seconds difference, which is very noticeable. This performance gap is expected to widen with longer duration and higher quality of audio and video, such as 4K UHD videos.



PNY CS1031 gaming benchmark

In terms of loading the game, there is not much of a difference between PNY CS1031 and Walram SSD. The largest time difference is only 3 seconds in DOTA 2.



The Final Fantasy benchmark is a little different, it loads different scenes for benchmarking then combine the total load time for each scene. Looking at the total time, the gap looks bigger, the PNY being faster by 5 seconds. But looking at each scene the gap is really negligible. The largest gap is only 1.7 second in the first scene, which you won’t notice in actual gaming.



We used Hard Disk Sentinel to get the PNY CS1031 temperature during CrystalDiskMark benchmark. It peaked at 57 degrees and dropped to 40 degrees during idle. It is well within its operating temperature and NVME heatsink is not needed.



Being one of the top brands in the market, PNY still produce quality drive in the budget segment with a very reasonable price. With components from reputable manufacturers, the PNY CS1031 delivered a little more than what’s in the spec sheet. Though it didn’t have DRAM cache, it performed well even without it, enough to get the job done for entry level and budget systems. So if you are upgrading from SATA SSD, you will be satisfied at PNY CS1031 as your choice of upgrade.

8.5Expert Score
PNY CS1031 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD

PNY CS1031 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD will get the job done as an upgrade for budget systems at a very low price.

  • Excellent value
  • Faster than SATA SSD
  • Exceeds spec sheet numbers
  • No DRAM Cache
  • Minimal improvement in game’s loading time

Though started gaming win NES Classic and Famicom, my love for PC gaming started in the late 90s with Command and Conquer Red Alert, Warcraft II, and PC versions of Golden Axe, Street Fighter, Prehistorik, Prince of Persia and many others. It also started my interest in PC hardware and software starting with DOS and Windows 3.11. I have been a computer technician for several internet cafes and retail stores in 2010s and that's also when I started writing for

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