Plextor M6e 256 GB PCI Express SSD Review: M.2 For Your Desktop

Results: Sequential Read And Write Performance

Fantastic sequential read and write performance is a trademark of modern SSDs. To measure it, we use incompressible data over a 16 GB LBA space, and then test at queue depths from one to 16. We're reporting these numbers in binary (where 1 KB equals 1024) instead of decimal numbers (where 1 KB is 1000 bytes). When necessary, we also limit the scale of the chart to enhance readability.

128 KB Sequential Read

Using the popular Plextor M5 Pro as a comparison point gives us the opportunity to examine two otherwise-similar drives attached a couple of different ways. In the chart above, the biggest difference isn't controller or firmware, but rather the circumvention of SATA 6Gb/s' speed barrier. Both drives come armed with the same number of dies, and employ the same 19 nm Type A Toggle-mode DDR flash.

Anywhere above a queue depth of one, the PCIe-based M6e is significantly quicker than the M5 Pro, ending up more than 200 MB/s faster than the SATA-bound SSD. It's not that we haven't seen performance like this before. But it always makes me happy to see it again.

128 KB Sequential Write

The PCIe-attached M6e strikes again, besting the M5 Pro to the tune of 100+ MB/s. And the 256 GB model isn't even the fastest M6e. Plextor's 512 GB model should add even more sequential throughput.

Here's a breakdown of the maximum observed 128 KB sequential read and write performance with Iometer:

Of course, the only other truly comparable drive is SanDisk's A110, which uses the same M.2 form factor. In fact, both drives pack the same Marvell 88SS9183 heater and 19 nm Toggle-mode flash, backed by custom firmware. But unlike the A110, Plextor's drive is something you can buy right now, while the A110 remains OEM-only.

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22 comments
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  • Nice product design, please make one in red (it will be faster).
    8
  • Someone needs to build an adapter that connects to a PCIe x8 slot and has mounting points for up to 4 or 8 PCIe M2 SSDs.
    3
  • lots of empty space on that PCB and its only a half height card. Maybe its possible we can see multiple TB PCIs SSDs in the consumer space or they may just restrict it to enterprise.
    4
  • 300 dollar for 256 gb... i can buy 4x 120gb v300 kingston (2200mb/s R) (1920mb/s W)
    raid 0. too expensive. that plextor
    -3
  • Who keeps telling you there is no demand for M.2 drives?

    I bought a Lenovo Y410P shortly after they were released (and was incorrectly told it had mSATA not NGFF/M.2 for the SSD), and have been waiting over a year for a decent M.2 drive to put in it.
    1
  • May be in a few years we will see an ssd connected to a PCIe x16 the and size of a graphics card.
    0
  • How much does it add to boot-time with its bios loading stuff? Other PCI-e cards add as long as a 1-2 minutes to boot time.
    0
  • It's only a single AHCI device, and it doesn't have to wait for spinup like other raid controllers, so likely only a second or so extra init time.
    1
  • Au_equus said:
    lots of empty space on that PCB and its only a half height card. Maybe its possible we can see multiple TB PCIs SSDs in the consumer space or they may just restrict it to enterprise.


    The drive itself has no wasted space. The bridge board has plenty, being that the drive is only 22mm x 80mm.

    Regards,

    Christopher Ryan
    1
  • nekromobo said:
    How much does it add to boot-time with its bios loading stuff? Other PCI-e cards add as long as a 1-2 minutes to boot time.


    It adds all of about a second. You'll never notice, and based on UEFI settings, you might never even see the Plextor op-rom splash screen at post.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
    2
  • menetlaus said:
    Who keeps telling you there is no demand for M.2 drives? I bought a Lenovo Y410P shortly after they were released (and was incorrectly told it had mSATA not NGFF/M.2 for the SSD), and have been waiting over a year for a decent M.2 drive to put in it.


    On the desktop, the demand for M.2 storage is not very high yet. In laptops, SATA M.2s are in high demand, but there isn't much reason to have a pure M.2 native PCIe Phy drive in a desktop yet. The M6e we looked at is built around the AIB bridge board, and thus isn't detachable from the M.2 drive itself, so despite the M.2 drive at the heart of the board, you still really can't buy a M.2 native PCIe drive yet. And even if you bought a M6e, ripped it out of the bridge board, and installed it in the Lenovo -- it probably wouldn't see more than a single lane of connectivity.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
    0
  • Fun stuff here. Makes me interested what options I'll have to work with when I'm due for an upgrade in two years.
    0
  • Work on the asus impact VI on the MPCIe combo 2 slot?
    0
  • this is a great product great speed and a nice price
    0
  • this is a great product great speed and a nice price
    0
  • Ill pick one up, alot of space on that card tho, why not put another set and make it a full sized card?
    0
  • If you remove the SSD drive from the PCI-e adapter board, will it work in the new Z97 motherboards, in the M.2 slot?
    BTW: I know it will void the warranty.
    0
  • If you remove the SSD drive from the PCI-e adapter board, will it work in the new Z97 motherboards, in the M.2 slot?
    BTW: I know it will void the warranty.
    0
  • If you remove the SSD drive from the PCI-e adapter board, will it work in the new Z97 motherboards, in the M.2 slot?
    BTW: I know it will void the warranty.

    I posted the same question in the forums, and got an answer: NO!

    If I wish to use a m.2 SSD, it looks like I'd have to get a Crucial M550 m.2 SATA SSD. No PCI-e SSD's available yet!

    EDIT: 06/11/2014 - BTW, YES it will work. Mine does! And it uses the 2 PCI-e channels. My Z97 mobo sees it with no problems! That's what I'm running now.
    0
  • I believe this type of product will kick the mSATA drives to the curb before these can become popular. Won't be the first time I've seen this, though. A technology released, then quickly superseded for another.

    Will be great to have these for notebooks, though an adapter will be needed for current releases, negating any performance gains. Because this option isn't dependent on, nor was designed for, a SATA 3 port. A true PCI-e port will be needed.

    Who said that the PC was dead, again? We have every reason to keep them very much alive.

    Cat
    0