With SSDs seemingly advancing by leap and bounds everyday, it’s crucial for companies to be able to get their products out to market quickly. By being on the bleeding edge, companies can exploit process and controller advantages to increase their margin or lower prices. First unveiled and announced a little over 2 months ago, Plextor’s M6S Plus series of SSDs will finally reach market and become available for purchase.
As a 2016 update of the M6S, the M6S Plus uses the newer 15nm MLC Toggle NAND from Toshiba instead of the A19nm found in the M6S. This will help Plextor bring prices down and become more competitive. The drive continues Plextor’s relationship with the 4-channel Marvell 88SS9188 with custom firmware support for TrueSpeed, TrueProtect, PlexTurbo and PlexCompressor. The drives it boasts random access speeds of up to 90,000 IOPS reads and 80,000 IOPS writes, with sequential speeds of up to 520 MB/s read and 300 MB/s, 420 MB/s, and 440 MB/s writes depending on capacity.
Given the time it took to bring the M6S Plus to market, we can expect the M7V, announced a week ago, to drop sometime in May/June. That drive features the newer 4-channel Marvell 88SS1074B1 controller paired with 15nm TLC Toggle NAND from Toshiba. Interestingly, the M7V actually features higher write speeds despite being TLC. Perhaps this is due to an improved SLC caching mechanism. Lastly, the budget M6V with the SMI 2246EN controller and 15nm MLC has also popped up alongside the M6S Plus as well.
Solid state drives have progressed at an extraordinary pace during the last few years and the latest NVMe products are capable of read speeds well beyond 2000MB/s. In comparison, the traditional SATA interface has a theoretical limit of 6Gb/s and offers significantly lower numbers than extreme M.2 drives. This is evident by the price differences between fairly affordable SATA SSDs and extreme grade NVMe products. Even though SATA drives with capacities up to 500GB can be relatively cheap, it’s still a significantly greater price to capacity ratio when compared to mechanical hard disks.
As a result, enthusiasts often purchase a 250-500GB SSD as a boot drive and mechanical disk for mass storage purposes. This exemplifies the fact that it’s going to be a while before high-capacity solid state drives become the norm and supersede mechanical alternatives. Furthermore, user data demands are increasing at a rapid rate due to 4K video and complex games. Despite this, Plextor is trying to offer more affordable options and decided to launch the M7V range. The drives are available in either an M.2 or 2.5-inch form factor and utilize the SATA3 interface. Plextor will launch 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB products which all use a Marvell 88SS1074B1 processor, wired to Toshiba 15 nm TLC NAND flash memory, and DDR3 DRAM caches of 256 MB, 512 MB, and 768 MB, respectively.
The 512GB M.2 variant features a higher 1GB DRAM cache and each model offers impressive transfer rates. More specifically, each model can achieve sequential reads up to 560MB/s and a maximum write of 500MB/s, 530MB/s and 530MB/s across each capacity. Depending on the capacity, you get a manufacturer rated TBW tolerance of 80 TB, 160 TB, or 320 TB.
Despite the budget focus, Plextor didn’t provide any details about the M7V’s pricing. Although, I expect this information to be revealed soon once it hits retail channels.
Plextor has just unveiled a brand new line of consumer SSDs dubbed M6S Plus, which represents the official successor of the company’s M6S series. These new Solid State Drives come in a 2.5-inch form factor and measure just 7mm in thickness, but you’re probably more interested in finding out about their performance capabilities. Well, the M6S Plus is based on the SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and it boasts random access speeds of up to 90,000 IOPS reads and up to 80,000 IOPS writes. Available in three different size variants such as 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB, all M6S Plus drives feature sequential transfer rates of up to 520 MB/s reads and 300 MB/s, 420 MB/s, and 440 MB/s writes depending on their capacity.
As far as the actual tech is concerned, this new Plextor product includes Toshiba A19 toggle NAND flash memory as well as Marvell 88SS9188 controllers. The drives are compatible with Linux, APPLE Mac OS and Microsoft Windows, and they come with features such as TrueSpeed, TrueProtect, PlexTurbo and PlexCompressor. They are also accompanied by a three-year warranty and boast mean time between failure rates of more than 1,500,000 hours, which is to be expected from a company such as Plextor.
What do you think about the M6S Plus Series SSDs? Would you consider purchasing one in the near future?
It hasn’t been going that well for Plextor’s solid state series even though the M6e Black Edition was an amazing drive. Although it wasn’t a top-performer, the looks and software made up for it in my opinion. At Computex 2015 we saw Plextor announce the follow-up to that drive, the M7e, a drive built on Marvell’s Altaplus controller. It looked great in itself and I for one was really looking forward to this new PCIe solid state drive.
Now the sad news is that it looks like we won’t get this drive at all. Plextor was supposed to bring the M7e products to the Flash Memory Summit, but the product was a no-show. It looks like the drive just couldn’t compete with what the competition put on the market, mainly Samsung’s SM951 SSD, and there simply isn’t any point in bringing a product to the market that can’t compete. Instead, Plextor chose to go back to the drawing board and work on the Eldora based M8e drive. I for one wish Plextor the best of luck with this new drive and hope that they can land another success with it.
While one SSD less on the market probably won’t create the big ripples in users, it will be missed for a while because it was scalable up to 1TB capacity on the M.2 22110 form factor (22mm wide, 110mm length).
Plextor has made some amazing storage drives and we’ve not been disappointed with them yet. Along with the M6 Pro, they also launched the PlexTurbo intelligent caching software and later expanded it to support more products such as the M6e PCIe and M.2 drives.
Now they’re gearing up for the third version of the software that will improve even more on the performance as well as bring new features and more options for the end-user. Along with the new version of PlexTurbo comes the new PlexCompressor software and PlexVault software to add even more functionality and benefits to your SSD.
PlexVault allows you to completely hide your data for even more privacy and full control of your local drives. Once PlexVault is activated, the hidden data cannot be found by device manager, file explorer, or even the disk management utilities. The hidden data is activated by hotkeys and PlexVault also provides password protection as a second security feature.
PlexCompressor is similar to other and already built-in tools in the way that it compresses old data that’s rarely been accessed, effectively giving you more storage space. Once activated, this technology increases SSD capacity in the background by automatically compressing unused files. The compression and decompression of data are said to be completed without adversely affecting user experience and performance. If that’s the case, then there isn’t any reason not to run it, that is if you have a Plextor SSD.
PlexTurbo 3.0 brings a lot of new features that make the tool even better. It comes with Pre-Load that automatically pre-loads files before they’re needed, during bootup for example. The drive knows what files are being accessed and when and it might as well load them before being asked for it. Cache sharing now works across multiple volumes no matter how many Plextor SSDs the system is equipped with and whether they’re SATA or PCIe. The cache can now be defined by the user and so can the clearance time.
Not all Plextor drives support all features and with as much cache. PlexVault will work for the M6 Pro and M6e M.2 and PCIe drives where PlexCompressor works on the same as well as the M6s drives. The only exception for both is the M6V. The PlexTurbo maximum cache amount also depends on the drive. The M6 Pro and M6e drives allow for the most with up to 16GB while the M6s allows for 4GB and the M6V for 1Gb.
PlexVault and PlexCompressor are available at the end of July, while PlexTurbo is expected to be available at the beginning of August.
Plextor already has some really great solid state drives in their line-up, they’ve proven that in every review we’ve done with their drives so far. The newest member has just been officially introduced and it is called the V series.
The Plextor V-series SSDs comes in three different form factors, the M6V standard 2.5-inch, the M6GV M.2 2280 NGFF SSD, and the M6MV mSATA SSD. The drives are built around SMI’s newest generation 2246 controllers and are packed with Toshiba’s 15nm Toggle NAND flash memory. This allows these value based drives to come with a very good performance and they’re capable of reaching up to 535MB/s at sequential reads and 455MB/s at sequential writes. Random performance is equally great with 83K IOPS reading and 80K IOPS writing.
The M6V is also compatible with the latest version of PlexTurbo, they intelligent caching software that can increase your performance with up to seven times while it also saves on your SSDs wear and tear and thereby lifetime. The dynamic RAM buffer will automatic detect hot and cold data and only keep the needed in your memory.
The V series SSDs also passed rigorous tests executed with Plextor’s strenuous SSD testing equipment. Professional simulations on actual read/write statuses were performed with several “Plextor endurance testing mechanisms” to ensure that the V series SSDs have a Mean Time Between Failures of 1.5 million hours and they come backed by a three-year warranty.
The Plextor V series is estimated to hit the market at the end of July, so that is any day now. The 2.5-inch 7mm M6V and the M6GV M.2 drive will be available as 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions while the mSATA M6MV only comes as 128GB and 256GB versions. We should also have reviews of the Plextor V-series SSDs ready for you very soon.
Computex 2015 – The last drive displayed by Plextor was running on a test-bench to showcase the performance straight out. The new TLC based SSD with SLC mode is called the Plextor M7V and it is a perfect mixture of aesthetics and performance.
The live benchmark shows us some great performance figures from the SATA-based drive in CrystalDiskMark. Note the great 4KQ32 read results that easily is the double of what other drives perform. The 512K score is also higher than many other drives and easily adds 25-30% on top.
Computex 2015 – When it comes to picking an SSD, mSATA isn’t the first connection type that comes to mind. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t relevant. Small form factor systems and notebooks often utilize this form factor and it is great to see more drives made for it.
Plextor brought along their M6MV mSATA SSD that is built around the SMI 2246 controller and with capacities of either 128GB or 256GB. The cache equals the capacity, just in MB and it helps to boost the speed up to 535 MB/s read and 335MB/s write. Random performance isn’t bad either with up to 83K IOPS.
The M6GV-2280 is the gum-stick shaped version and it is available all the way up to 512GB storage. The performance is similar to the mSATA with sequential performance up to 535MB/s and random IOPS up to 83K.
Last but not least we have the brand new M7e as an M.2 form factor drive. The M7e is a PCIe Gen 2 x4 drive with great performance up to 1400MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing just like the PCIe HHHL version.
Computex 2015 – Plextor had more than just value drives in the bags for Computex and also presented a new PCIe-based SSD. On the first view it might look like the M6e Black Edition, but it is in fact the brand new M7e drive.
The new Plextor M7e also surpasses the M6e on transfer speeds as it utilizes the full PCIe x4 bandwidth for transfer speeds up to 1400 MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing. Random 4K performance is equally impressive with ratings up to 140K writing and 125K reading.
Available in capacities ranging from 256GB to 1TB, capacity isn’t an issue either and you can store all your favourite files on this fast storage drive.
The card is built around the Marvell 88SS9293 controller, a superb choice in my opinion.
Stay tuned for more news directly from Computex in Taipei.
Computex 2015 – It has been a while since we’ve had any new drives come from Plextor and that might be because they’ve been busy, not just by getting them ready but also to make the best product possible.
The first new drive presented is the Plextor M6V, a new entry-level value-oriented solid state drive based around the SMI 2246 controller and in capacities up to 512GB.
The Plextor M6V 2.5-inch SATA drive sports transfer speeds up to 535 MB/s read and 455 MB/s write as well as great random performance up to 83K IOPS read and 80K write.
So we’re here at CeBIT 2015 with Plextor. They brought along today two test benches featuring their M6e PCI SSD drive and their M7e MSATA SSD.
We’ve seen this technology before at CES, but it’s definitely worth mentioning the serious speed increase using the PlexTurbo application to get massive speed increases. We see in the image below, over 8GB/s read speeds and over 7GB/s write speed. To put that in perspective, roughly an hour episode of Breaking Bad at 1080p is roughly 1GB rounded down; this drive can transfer 8 episodes a second at that speed.
We look forward to new innovative technology brought forward by Plextor in the near future. Any news or events from Plextor, we will keep you updated. We even heard rumour that Version 3 of their drive may be ready in time for Computex, but we’ll have to wait and see!
Plextor released the PlexTurbo feature along with their M6 Pro drive last year, but they didn’t stop there. Along with the new M6e Black Edition PCIe SSD, they’ve now released the new and improved PlexTurbo 2.0 as well as extended it to support more drives.
Next to the M6 Pro and M6e Black Edition, PlexTurbo now also supports the M6e M.2 2280 and the M6e. PlexTurbo is an intelligent caching function similar to a RAM disk, but with significant improvements and failsafes.
If you run the old version of the Plextool, you’ll need to uninstall that before installing the new version – but other than that it’s straight forward and you’ll gain speeds up to double those of the previous version.
Thanks to Plextor for providing us with this information
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.
We’ve already had a little peak at the new Plextor M6e Black Edition, but we’ve gotten more information and photos as well as news about the Plextor M7e SSD. Besides the two new drives, Plextor also announced the next generation of their caching technology we saw on the M6 Pro, the new PlexTurbo 2.0 Intelligent SSD Caching Utility.
The Plextor M6e Black Edition is a professional and superb high-performance PCI Express SSD, specifically designed for creating a perfect gaming platform. It combines cutting-edge high-class components and newly-developed PlexTurbo 2.0 intelligent SSD caching utility, providing optimal durability and performance.
To achieve that it uses the latest duo-core server grade Marvell 88SS9183 controller chip and the highest-class Toggle NAND flash by Toshiba. It also integrates with True Speed Technology to prevent drops in speeds after prolonged use and has read/write speeds of up to 770/625 MB/s in sequential mode, and 105K/100K IOPS for random read/write operations.
The M6e Black Edition is using the AHCI standard to allow for a much wider adoption and compatibility than the newer counterparts and comes with a MTBF of 2.4 million hours and a 5-year warranty. Availability is set to February for the 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacity versions.
“We considered the suggestions of global players when designing the look and added the huge black and red cooling fins to quench the thirst of players looking for an advanced gaming platform. The M6e Black Edition, equipped with PlexTurbo 2.0, meets the experience and visual requirements of players in performance and appearance. The M6e Black Edition is absolutely the ideal choice of creating a dreaming gaming platform!” said Lear Wu, Global Sales Manager for Plextor.
PlexTurbo 2.0 isn’t just a RAM disk or cache to speed things up the conventional way, but rather an intelligent SSD caching utility. It overcomes all the disadvantages of current caching technology with exclusive memory management booster, PlexTurbo 2.0 outruns other caching technologies in performance but also analyzes a huge amount of operation data to avoid unnecessary write operation to significantly reduce write usage of SSD and to prevent memory data loss when the PC crashes or the power goes out.
Plextor also demonstrated the next generation of ultra-fast M.2 PCIe Gen2x4 SSD, the Plextor M7e. With sequential speeds up to 1411MB/s while reading and 1028MB/s while writing, this SSD kicks some serious butt, and that is without the PlexTurbo technology in action.
“We’re excited to showcase the fastest solid state drives this year at CES,” said Lear Wu, Global Sales Manager for Plextor. “Our new offerings continue to keep Plextor at the forefront of the industry.”
Thanks to Plextor for providing us with this information
Plextor make some of the greatest drivers on the market and their latest offerings at CES 2015 are a prime example of their greatness. Their new M.2 2×4 SSD not only looks great, but also offers up blazing fast performance.
Just look at those incredible read and write speeds! I think I’m going to need one of these for my next system.
Of course, that’s only the surface of what Plextor can do and their new PlexTurbo V2.0 takes performance to a whole new level, just check out these performance figures; 8189 read and 7751 write!
The Plex Turbo V2 not only performs great, but it also looks stunning too.
The latest new technology from Plextor is their PlexTurbo WTP, which adds a second cache type system to their drives that gives you high write performance, as well as anti-power interrupt protection.
Companies are busy updating their sites to be ready for CES and enthusiasts are just as busy scouting those pages for possible hints on future products. So were our friends from TweakTown and they found what could hint a new PCI-Express based SSD from Plextor.
Digging on Plextor’s homepage, they found the hint seen below, an M6e BK in the Half-Height Half-Length category. This could very well be a Black Edition of the Plextor M6e PCIe SSD that we took a look at almost a year ago, just better optimized and tuned for that extra bit of power.
The image seen at the top is one dug up after the initial hint on Plextor’s own page and might not represent the actual product. It does however fit the description very well, just as it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Plextor might have an ace or two up their sleeves. I’m sure we’ll know a lot more when CES starts.
Thanks to TweakTown for providing us with this information
Plextor has had a great year and released a bunch of amazing Solid State Drives. We’ve seen the Plextor M6e 512GB PCI-E SSD get the Performance Award, the Plextor M6S 256GB and Plextor M6M 128GB mSATA drives got the Editor’s Choice from us while the Plextor M6 PRO 256GB got the Innovation Award. Each of these drives has excelled and Plextor wants to celebrate this by giving away 2 of the M.2 PCIe drives and an external enclosure. It might not be everyone that has a M.2 slot on their motherboard, so Plextor joined up with Gigabyte to provide two motherboards for the prize pool.
The M.2 Christmas Contest starts today December 12 and will run to December 25. The winner will be announced on December 30 on Plextor’s Facebook page and the winners will then have 2 weeks to claim their prize. While the giveaway runs through Facebook, you don’t have to like the page to enter, it’s only optional in this case. But it’s worth to do so. All you have to do is answer a couple of simple questions and you’re in the pool.
Plextor has been a big name in storage for as long as I can remember. In the past they were the crowned kings of optical drives and these days we see one great performing Solid State Drive (SSD) after another. We’ve tested several of them lately and today the time has come to the brand new Plextor M6 PRO 256GB SSD.
When you hold this drive in your hands, it becomes clear right away that this isn’t your everyday SSD. The golden package is the first giveaway, including the the entire inside of the packaging. Plextor has clearly given it some thought on how to present this drive the best and at the same time pack all the accessories into the tiny box.
And there is a big package on accessories, everything we need. There is the obligatory small manual but also a installation guide for beginners on how to replace an existing hard drive with this new solid state drive. The 3½ inch adapter bracket is included and so are the 8 screws needed for this. We also get a driver and software disk and a small folder for support and VIP registration. Oh, and it even comes with an extra SATA cable to help when transferring files from your old drive. A true all in one package.
The Plextor M6 pro is using the new generation of Toshiba’s A19 nm toogle NAND flash that we’ve already seen been very reliable in other tests. It is also packed with a lot of DRAM Cache, starting at 256MB for the 128GB drive and an entire 1024MB for the 1TB model. The gracious amount of RAM will surely prevent any bottlenecks between the controller and your data. To combine all this together, Plextor chose the latest Marvell multi-core controller and tinkered some with the firmware to get it all just right for them.
Speed isn’t something the M6 PRO is afraid of either and all four drive models are rated for (up to) 545 MB/s read and 490 MB/s write speeds. Random read IOPS are the same for all four models as well at 100k read while write IOPS range from 82K to 88K.
It wouldn’t be a true Plextor drive if it didn’t come with a row of exclusive technologies to boost the value of the drive even more. The first one is great cause it can safe you some money in the long run with it’s DEVSLP mode. This mode allows the drive to go into an “ultra-low power sleep” mode that needs almost no power. Of course this is combined with a rapid wakeup feature so you as user won’t notice any difference. Sure, SSD’s don’t use much power no matter what, but ever penny saved, and so forth.
Plextor TrueProtect is also included, a combination fo both 256.bit AES full-drive encryption and advanced multilayer error checking for full data protection. Next in line of features is the TrueSpeed. This Plextor technology keeps long-term SSD performance at a like-new level even after longer periods of use and when the drive is almost full.
PlexTurbo, the probably most awesome feature here, is a new intelligent caching mechanism Plextor is using on this drive, or rather allows you the option to use. The choice is still yours. By using some of your available system memory and it’s caching technologies, it has the potential to speed up the transfers up to 10 times that of the SATA3 bus itself. Of course this feature won’t be as useful in every situation, but I can guarantee you it’s great. But it doesn’t just boost up your performance, it also helps to prevent lost data during power loss and helps extend the life of your SSD.
The included Plextool software is also a great companion to this drive, offering up all the features and information we need in 7 panels. We can see our drive’s status, health and SMART details. It also allows us to update the firmware and perform a secure format of the drive. A diagnostic scan is included as well, it will do both a small health scan as well as do a speed test. This is great to get a quick view on the drive’s state. The final panel is the really interesting one on this drive, it gives us access to the PlexTurbo feature.
We see, this is a drive that promises a lot but also should have the hardware and features to back it all up. Plextor is just as sure about this and giving 5 years full warranty on it including comprehensive technical support and an international network of dealers and service centres. Each drive has had a full burn-in and usage simulation with the FLEXSTAR testing system to ensure that 100 percent of the drives are reliable and stable.
The M6 PRO is also the first SSD to survive Plextor’s new ultra-strict enterprise-grade, zero error standard requiring 40 units to pass 1008 hours of extreme testing. Plextor also has the lowest annual failure rate in the market, and the M6 PRO promises a great 2.4 million hours of flawless work.
Our look over Plextor’s M6- SSD product line has seen us look at their M6e PCIe based M.2 drive, where the limitations of the SATA interface are no match for top end performance and more recently the M6M, a mSATA drive that packs the same components but in a tiny frame, with speeds that set it apart from many other drives in its class. Today we’re looking at the final piece of the SSD puzzle with a drive that looks much more standard if it were, with a 2.5″ chassis and the same ingredient list that we saw with the M6M and M6e.
Available in capacities ranging from 128GB up to 512GB, the M6S offers IOPs speeds of up to 94K read, 80K write with sequential speeds of 520MB/s read and 440MB/s write. Sat at the heart of the drive is a dual-core Marvell 88SS9188 controller giving the drive around 30-50% drop in power consumption compared to the last generation M5S.
Plextor keep their drive bundles very much to the point – you get the drive and a multi-language guide, no more, no less. The box itself is rather bright, with a bold image of the drive on the front of the box with the capacity stuck on below.
A few months ago I took a look at a drive that has managed to slingshot Plextor right back into the enthusiast market with a drive that took the limitations of the SATA III interface and threw it out of the window, using the supreme bandwidth of a PCIe interface to allow it to stretch its legs out and give us some proper next generation performance. Now if you’ve not guessed which drive I’m on about here, I’m referring their M6e PCIe SSD – which uses the latest M.2 NGFF interface to deliver levels of performance that may have dreamed of for quite some time.
Whilst the M6e is a great product to behold, it is not for everybody. Firstly we have to look at the cost and with a 512GB drive fetching over £500 / $800, it is a heavy investment to made and secondly its compatibility list is somewhat limited, knocking many mATX builds and portable systems out of the question. Fortunately though Plextor were not naive enough to force users on to the M.2 platform to enjoy the performance that is on offer from the components of the M6e. Alongside the next generation drive, Plextor have brought two more drive to market that follow are more traditional approach to storage, using the most commonly used interface, SATA, and its compact alternative mSATA. Whilst both the mSATA and SATA drives are not able to offer the break neck speeds that can be achieved through a native M.2 or PCIe interface, they still play home to the same controller and NAND packages, just with a lower headlining above them.
The drive we’ve got to play around with today come in the mSATA form factor and with the M6M product name (the second M representing mSATA) we can easily point out its association with the highly popular M6e. Built around the same Marvell 88SS9188 controller and custom firmware, the M6M comes in capacities ranging from 64GB right up to 512GB, all within the same 50.8 x 29.8 container, allowing them to fit into virtually any device that houses a mSATA port. Offering sequential read and write speeds of up to 520MB/s and 440MB/s with IOPs ratings of up to 94K read and 80K write, the M6M is by no means a basic solution for mSATA devices – it is a workhorse that delivers just as much of a punch as its bigger brothers which are part of the SATA and M.2 groups.
Where most drives come in a sleek box with a colourful presentation on the front, the M6M uses packaging the like it’s from a value RAM production line. The only indication of which drive is enclosed is found on a single sticker attached to the front of the pack. At the bottom of the sticker we do get a short list of performance ratings so we at least know what type of performance we should be expecting once plugged in.
One of the flagship selling points of Intel’s new 9 Series chipsets has been the ability to utilise faster storage mediums, notably the 10 Gbps M.2 ports most Z97 motherboards come equipped with. Up until recently these have been fairly hard to come by but now Plextor have released their first “standalone” M.2 drive. I say standalone because the Plextor M6e has been out for a while but initially it came attached to a PCI Express riser card whereas now it is available to buy as an M.2 drive only.
Plextor’s M6e M.2 drive uses the 2280 (80 x 22 mm) form factor and offers speeds of up to 770MB/s read and 625MB/s writes. Random 4K reads offer up to 105K IOPS and random 4K writes up to 100K IOPS. The M6e makes use of a Marvell PCIe 9183 controller, DDR3 RAM cache and Toshiba Toggle NAND. The drive runs custom Plextor in-house firmware.
Plextor will be offerring three additional M.2 drives with the M6G 2280 (22mm x 80mm), M6G 2260 (22mm x 60mm) and M6G 2242 (22mm x 42mm). All Plextor M6e series drives come with a 5 year warranty and a MTBF of 2.4 million hours. Pricing is as follows:
Next up on our tour of Computex 2014 we’re taking some time out to have a look at Plextor’s storage products to hit the consumer market. As we know from our look at the SSD market over the last few months, there has been a massive revelation in the performance of solid state storage with the new M.2 or NGFF (Next Gen Form Factor) drives that have the capacity to push past the limitations of traditional SATA based drives.
The first drive that we come across is one that we’ve already had a closer look at. Built to run on a PCIe interface the M6e is on of only a few PCIe drives that are available on the consumer market, delivering speeds that are far greater than that of any SATA interface and not requiring any more than a basic amount of knowledge to get them up and running.
Although the M6e, as we saw it in our review, is mainly built on to a PCIe platform, the drive itself is actually a separate component with the card itself simply acting as an interface adaptor. As the latest breed of Z97 motherboards rolls out across the land, users are able to take hold of the M.2 generation of drives, building systems that perform better and faster than before.
In a display cabinet to the side of the running samples shows each of the capacities that the drive is available in as well at the performance figures in both a PCIe format and a native M.2 format.
Further along from the M6e variant of Plextor’s M.2 drives we find three pure M.2 drives on offer, the key difference between each of them being the length and thus the maximum capacity that each drive can hold.
Moving along from the M.2 drives and over to native SATA, the M6Pro, bar a lower set of read and write speeds, is inherently the same drive. Using the same controller and NAND packages, the M6Pro comes in capacities ranging from 128GB right up to 1TB, but what is particularly interesting with these drives is the addition of Plextor’s own PlexTurbo technology. Acting in a similar fashion to that of Intel’s Smart Response, PlexTurbo uses the host systems memory along with the NAND in the drive to create a drive cache that loads at the start of each system boot, giving a stronger level of performance that a standard SSD. The M6Pro is dubbed for release later this year and we’ll be sure to check this drive out when it arrives.
The last drive that we find on display comes in an mSATA format. Known as the M6M, the mSATA drive come in capacities starting at 64GB and rising up to 512GB whilst offering read and write speeds that are as strong as the full fat M6Pro. To show that the M6M is just as strong as the Pro, Plextor have taken two drives and put them together in a dual-mSATA to SATA adaptor and set them up in RAID0 – ideal for blistering gaming performance in a compact system where an M6e is not an option.
Following the release of Plextors M6e PCIe solid state drive a few weeks ago, fans and enthusiasts have been eager to get their hands on the 2.5″ SATA version of the new drive due to its high levels of speed and IOPs performance.
Like the M6e, the M6S features the same Marvell ss9188 dual-core controller and Toshiba’s 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND and with its SATA 6GB/s connectivity it is able to offer sequential read and write speeds of up to 520MB/s and 440 MB/s respectively. Available in three capacities, the M6S is fully backed by a three-year warranty and prices will start at €82 for a 128GB drive, €145 for 25GB and €306 for the top performing 512GB drive.
There’s no final word on UK pricing at this moment, but if the pricing of the M6e is anything to go by, it is going to be a competitively priced product within the market. If you missed our review on the M6e PCIe SSD, you can find more information on the drive here: Plextor M6e 512GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Review
Over the last few years, virtually all of the solid state drives that I’ve looked at and put through their paces have been part of the SATA III family of drives and whilst I have seen the performance levels come forward in leaps and bounds, there has always been a certain plateau of performance that was going to be reached eventually. Today’s SATA III SSDs have, for quite some time now, been able to max out and saturate the bandwidth that the interface has had to offer and this has left manufacturers with a strong challenge of how to improve the solid state drive as we know it and squeeze out better IOPs performance and improve the NAND itself to give a better life span as far as read/write cycles are concerned. To say the least we are literally at the limits of what can be done on the SATA III interface – so the real question that one would ask is where do we go from here? One path would be to bring out a new SATA standard – lets call it SATA IV; but to do this would require a lot of work and the cost of the products at the end of it could be potentially jaw dropping, so for now lets wait for a new standard to brew at a lower rate and let it slowly trickle into the market.
So with upgrading the SATA standard out of the question for new, we start to look at how else we can let the SSD run free and this brings us to PCI Express. Having a PCIe mounted drive is not a new concept by any means, after all OCZ got their footsteps into this market years ago with the RevoDrive and even when we look at the latest model, the RevoDrive 3 X2 – the performance that is on offer is way past the levels that we can get from a SATA interface. Whilst PCIe SSDs are not common place on the consumer market at this moment in time, over the last couple of years they have become a popular product in the enterprise market, partly due to the increased bandwidth, but more importantly due to their greater capacities that a single drive can offer and also superior IOPs performance, which in the enterprise market is far more important than sequential speeds.
Coming back down to the consumer level, advances in SSD technology have seen the mSATA interface mature and with the unveiling of the NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) drive late last year, we are now watching drives push past the lucrative caps of SATA III. Once again the gates have been flung wide open as manufacturers start to hop onto the PCIe bandwagon to take storage to the next level.
Coming over to Plextor’s addition to the new trend, the drive that I’m taking a look at today is part of the M6 family of drives, which is home to three different types of drive. The first drive in this family is a traditional 2.5″ SATA drive, whilst a smaller mSATA spin-off provides compatibility with compact devices such as notebooks and ultra-compact desktop systems. The third drive to make up the group is the M6e – a NGFF drive that is mounted on to a PCIe backplane, giving it the freedom to open up the throttle and take speed and performance well over that of SATA.
The M6e comes in a well padded box in an anti-static bag and aside from the drive, Plextor include a quick installation guide and a VIP booklet.
Following the announcement of the new M6 series of solid state drives during IFA last year, Plextor have been busy working away behind the scenes to get the range ready for launch. On top of this they have been continuously tweaking and tuning the three M6 lines in order to optimise their performance and increase reliability. Earlier in the year the M6e was announce – a PCI Express mounted M.2 drive that takes performance to levels that a traditional SATA connection is simply not able to offer. Keep an eye out on eTeknix as I have a full review on the 512GB model this drive coming up very shortly.
The next step for Plextor is the mainstream consumer SATA based M6S and today Plextor have announced that the drives will be available to buy during the second quarter of this year in capacities ranging from 128GB right up to 512GB. Like the rest of the M6 range, the 7mm thin drive packs a Marvell 88SS9182-BNP2 controller along with an array of Toshiba 19nm NAND. Performance wise users can expect to see speeds of up to 520MB/s read and 440MB/s write on offer along with random IOPS figures of 94k read and 80k write to suit.
What’s more the M6 series drives are focussed on the cost of owner ship with reduced power consumption being just one of the key elements that Plextor thought about when they designed the drives. Following in the footsteps of my review on the M5 Pro Xtreme in the early part of the year, along with my experience of the M6e as you’ll soon see, I’ve got a good set of hopes and aspirations for this drive and what it has to offer to the SATA based group of users.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had a look at numerous SSDs from many of the leading manufacturers in the world of SSDs and storage in general, however there has been one vendor that I have not worked with up to this point. This is of course Plextor and as things go, This company is said to be right up there in the rankings with the likes of Kingston, OCZ, Corsair, Sandisk and many more; but flash-based storage is not where this company has its roots buried. Since the formation of the company way back in 1985, Plextor have been making their name well-known in the world of optical storage with their name being made synonymous with high quality optical drives and media that performed way above that of OEM grade drives and media.Back when optical based storage was much more popular than it is today, Plextor’s drives typically demanded a far greater price tag over white box products, however the end-user was prepared to pay the premium due to the fact that Plextor’s products were far less susceptible to errors when burning media, which would otherwise leave you with a pile of coffee mug ‘coasters’ as they were known. As the market has moved on and the popularity of optical media fallen, Plextor branched out to the solid state market with their first SSD, the M1, coming to market in 2009. Since then we have seen the M series of SSDs grow and mature through the M2, 3 and 4 series and on to the current generation M5 drives with all the leading technologies and performance figures that the end-user looks for and demands in today’s performance driven market.
The M5 Pro Xtreme is the pinnacle of Plextor’s SSD design today and over its little brother, the M5 Pro, the Xtreme on paper doesn’t seem to be different, but there have been one or two subtle changes made to give slightly better performance figures over the M5 Pro when handling smaller file sizes (~4K). Considering both use the same third-gen dual core Marvell controller and 19nm Toshiba toggle flash MLC NAND, the performance differences are purely down to the use of sixteen NAND packages on the Xtreme over eight on the Pro and lower level drives.
Inside the box we find a typical set of SSD accessories with two sets of screws and a 2.5″ to 3.5″ drive bay adaptor, installation and warranty leaflets and a copy of NTI’s SSD Solution for drive cloning and migration to Plextor SSDs.
At IFA 2013 Plextor just unveiled some new storage options. Up first was the M6 SSD. This prototype drive uses a 5mm thin 2.5 inch form factor and a Marvell 88SS9187 controller. It uses Plextor’s propietary TrueSpeed technology and has Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND which is the smallest and fastest MLC currently available. Full specifications are not provided as the drive is being finalised but any one should be able to guess performance of 5XXMB/s read and write as the device will be limited by the SATA III interface.
Next up is a variety of M.2 form factor drives available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities. These M.2 drives, otherwise known as NGFF, use a PCIe interface to overcome SATA limitations. The devices measure in at 60mm for the smaller capacity one and 80mm for the larger capacity one. All of the capacities sport read speeds of 740MB/s but the write speeds and IOPS vary between capacities as shown below. These drives also use the same Marvell 88SS9183 controller and Toshiba 19nm MLC toggle NAND.Images courtesy of Plextor