Plextor M6e Black Edition PCIe 256GB SSD Review

Introduction


It is always a pleasure to get an SSD in for review, and even more when it is a high-performance PCI-Express based M.2 SSD. We’ve previously had a look at the Plextor M6e and today it’s time to take a closer look at the brand new Plextor M6e Black Edition PCI Express SSD with 256GB capacity. This drive doesn’t just promise to be a high-performing SSD, but it is also a beauty to look at.

The Plextor M6e Black Edition supports PCI Express Gen II x2 and can achieve sequential reads up to 770 and writes up to 580 MB/s. Random speeds aren’t without either and the M6eBE broke through the 105K/100K IOPS barrier. The SSD also comes with native 256-bit AES encryption to keep your data protected.

Speed isn’t everything, reliability is just as important. The M6eBE supports both S.M.A.R.T and TRIM to keep everything running smoothly. It has also been exposed to Plextor’s Zero-Failure Zero-Error standard where it’s rigorous tested using the world’s most advanced SSD testing facilities – FLEXSTAR testing chamber. The M6e Black Edition provides extreme reliability with an MTBF calculated at 2.4 million hours. To back up this statement, the drive comes with a five-year warranty.

Plextor thought about people without the latest and most modern systems as well and retained the backwards compatibility through AHCI support. The M6e Black Edition is bootable through both UEFI and legacy BIOS. It is however strongly recommended to use UEFI if your system supports it, it will after all cut your boot times in half.

The high-performance cooling fin design doesn’t just help to cool your new SSD, it also looks very gorgeous. While cooling of such an SSD usually isn’t a great issue, it can be very wise in several scenarios. If you got bad airflow in your case or the SSD sits nudged between a couple high performing GPUs, then you’ll want the extra cooling that this great looking card has to offer. The PCIe card features a default SATA power connector in the event that your PCIe slot can’t deliver the stable and needed power supply required. The card has a 2-pin header for lighting cues and five LEDs, three yellow for power and two blue for activity. It is Half-Height, Half-Length (HHHL) and would fit well with low profile brackets, although none are included.

 

At the heart of the Plextor M6e Black Editon, we find the latest generation dual-core Marvell 88SS9183 SSD controller chip and Toshiba’s A19 synchronous toggle NAND flash memory as well as 512MB DDR3 cache.

I haven’t even had this drive connected to my system for benchmarks yet, and I already love it. It looks so sleek with the black PCB, black bracket, black SSD, black cover, and red cooler. The finish is superb on everything from solder points to the metal coating. When we couple that with the amazing specifications, we know that the Plextor M6e Black Edition is one heck of a Solid State Drive.

We had a first look at the PlexTurbo software in our Plextor M6 Pro review, and now the software has been improved even more; now reaching version 2.0. PlexTurbo is a RAMDisk feature, but it is also a lot more and comes with three main advantages.

The first is the clear performance boost by using up to 4GB system RAM (max a quarter of the total) as cache. The application will write the data simultaneously on the cache as well as on the SSD but instead of rewriting the entire file, it compares for changes and only replaces those instead of everything. At the same time, the cache is used for quicker access to frequently used data.

The second benefit is the extended life expectation due to the reduced unnecessary rewriting of redundant data. The third and last benefit over most other RAMDisk software is the safety against power loss. There won’t be any data loss in case of a sudden power failure because the data is written simultaneously to both the cache as well as the SSD

The presentation at CES 2015 showed us speeds over 8000 MB/s. This of course depends on memory as well as processor speed, so we won’t get quite that far; it will still be interesting to see how well it performs in our own benchmarks.

Intel’s Announces 2014 Thunderbolt Controller Specs

It looks like Intel is continuing on its mission to establish Thunderbolt as the next universal device interconnect standard, despite steep competition from the 5 Gb/s USB 3.0, the upcoming 10 Gb/s USB 3.1, and stringent validation and licensing barriers on its own end. The company outlined its mainstream Thunderbolt controller, which it plans to launch some time in 2014. The company is planning two major introductions to the standard, to help it compete against USB – power delivery, and ad-hoc (peer-to-peer) networking.

The controller named Broadwell Thunderbolt-LP handles a 20 Gb/s Thunderbolt link by aggregating two 10 Gb/s channels, relays DisplayPort 1.2 from the system’s graphics device, and connects to the rest of the system over PCIe 2.0 x2. The chip is built in the 8 x 8 mm package, and features operational and idle TDP ratings of 1.5W and 1mW, respectively. The changes Intel is making to the standard will enable power delivery of up to 53W over a standard tethered cable.

The other big feature is ad-hoc networking, which enables people to set up peer-to-peer 20 Gb/s connections between two PCs much in the same way they did with USB and RS232, back in the day. While it’s no Ethernet replacement, it could prove useful in certain environments, such as content-creation. Intel is expected to make some Thunderbolt-related announcements at CES, next January.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TechPowerUp

PCIe 3.1 and 4.0 Specifications Revealed

Earlier this week PCI-SIG revealed the specifications for PCI Express 3.1 and 4.0 according to Tom’s Hardware. The PCIe 3.1 specification consolidates numerous protocol extensions into three areas of power, performance and functionality. In terms of power the PCIe 3.1 specification combines the M-PCIe and L1 power management substrates with a CLKREQ# signal. In terms of performance enhanced downstream port containment and lightweight notification protocol extensions are grouped together. In terms of functionality PCIe 3.1 bundles together precision time measurement a separate refclk with independent SSC architecture, and the process address space ID. According to PCI-SIG this specification will be released later this year, although expect some lag before we see it in new PCIe devices and system boards.Finally PCI-SIG revealed that PCIe 4.0 will have 16GT/s of transfer speed which is double that of PCIe 3.0 which has 8GT/s of transfer speed. This standard is going to come primarily for servers, workstations and high-performance computing markets and naturally retains backwards compatibility. PCIe 4.0 also provides an increase in clock rates, enabling narrower link width implementations and reduced costs through pin production. PCIe 4.0 revision 0.5 is expected in Q1 of 2014 while revision 0.9 is expected in Q1 of 2015 – so still quite some way to go yet.

Image #1 courtesy of PCI-SIG and Image #2 courtesy of RTC Magazine