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How We're Testing Plextor's M6S And M6M

Plextor M6S And M6M SSD Review: Revving Another Marvell Engine
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Our consumer storage test bench is based on Intel's Z77 Platform Controller Hub paired with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU. Intel's 6- and 7-series chipsets are virtually identical from a storage perspective. We're standardizing on older RST 10.6.1002 drivers for the foreseeable future.

Updates to the RST driver package occasionally result in subtle performance changes. They can also lead to some truly profound variance in scores and results as well, depending on the revision. Some versions flush writes more or less frequently. Others work better in RAID situations. Builds 11.2 and newer support TRIM in RAID as well. Regardless, results obtained with one revision may or may not be comparable to results obtained with another, so sticking with one version across all testing is mandatory.

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
MotherboardGigabyte G1.Sniper M3
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System Drive Intel S3500 480 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: 0306
Drive(s) Under TestPlextor M6M 256 GB mSATA, SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: 1.00

Plextor M6S 256 GB SATA, SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: 1.00
Comparison DrivesAdata SP920 1024 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Adata SP920 512GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Adata SP920 256 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Adata SP920 128 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Crucial M550 1024 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Crucial M550 512 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Intel SSD 730 480 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: L2010400

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 120 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 250 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 500 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 1000 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

SanDisk X210 256 GB, Firmware X210400

SanDisk X210 512 GB, Firmware X210400

Intel SSD 530 180 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: DC12

Intel SSD 520 180 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 400i

Intel SSD 525 180 GB mSATA, Firmware: LLKi

SanDisk A110 256 GB M.2 PCIe x2, Firmware: A200100

Silicon Motion SM226EN 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: M0709A

Crucial M500 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Crucial M500 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Crucial M500 480 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Crucial M500 960 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 EVO 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 EVO 480 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 EVO 1 TB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

SanDisk Ultra Plus 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: X211200

SanDisk Ultra Plus 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware X211200

SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware X211200

Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware DXM04B0Q

Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware DXM04B0Q

SanDisk Extreme II 120 GB, Firmware: R1311

SanDisk Extreme II 240 GB, Firmware: R1311

SanDisk Extreme II 480 GB, Firmware: R1311

Seagate 600 SSD 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: B660

Intel SSD 525 30 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 60 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 120 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 180 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 240 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 335 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 335s

Intel SSD 510 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: PWG2

OCZ Vertex 3.20 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.25

OCZ Vector 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.0

Samsung 830 512 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: CXMO3B1Q

Crucial m4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 000F

Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.02

 Corsair Neutron GTX 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: M206
Graphics
MSI Cyclone GTX 460 1 GB
Power Supply
Seasonic X-650, 650 W 80 PLUS Gold
Chassis
Lian Li Pitstop
RAID
LSI 9266-8i PCIe x8, FastPath and CacheCade AFK
System Software and Drivers
Operating
System
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectX
DirectX 11
Drivers
Graphics: Nvidia 314.07
RST: 10.6.1002
IMEI: 7.1.21.1124
Generic AHCI: MSAHCI.SYS
Benchmarks
ULINK DriveMaster 2012
v980, JEDEC 218A-based TRIM Test Script
Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0
Intel iPeak Trace-Based Benchmark
Iometer 1.1.0# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=16 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential, 8 GB LBA Precondition, Exponential QD Scaling
PCMark 8
Version 2.0.228, Storage Consistency Test
PCMark 7
Secondary Storage Suite
Display all 10 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    bjaminnyc , April 10, 2014 6:47 AM
    I know there are slight performance differences between models and manufacturers, for the home user the discrepancies matter very little other than lifespan. It all comes down to price point for non-commercial application, not sure where this really fits in the product stack.
  • 0 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , April 10, 2014 8:21 AM
    The Marvell 88SS9188 controller in the M6S is only capable of addressing 4 NAND channels at a time whereas the 88SS9187 (Crucial M500, Plextor M5Pro) and 88SS9189 (Crucial M550) are capable of addressing a full 8 channels. I would expect the Plextor M6Pro to use the newer 88SS9189 found in the M550 to be able to address 8 channels of NAND and support up to 1TB drives using 128Gbit NAND.
  • 0 Hide
    Ipatinga , April 10, 2014 8:42 AM
    Clean looks... ok update for the M5S... here hopping M6P will have something on its sleeve performance wise. I liked the Plextor software (its like a bonus for some people... ).

    But I still have the Samsung 840 EVO on my list, after all, when the dust settles, they both perform very well in a notebook for a regular joe, but the EVO has the price to beat.

    Since my Crucial m4 is not dead... I will wait... mainly for prices to go even lower so I can get a higher capacity model instead of the best of the best.
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 10, 2014 12:41 PM
    Why not compare the Samsung EVO 840?
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , April 10, 2014 1:51 PM
    Quote:
    The Marvell 88SS9188 controller in the M6S is only capable of addressing 4 NAND channels at a time whereas the 88SS9187 (Crucial M500, Plextor M5Pro) and 88SS9189 (Crucial M550) are capable of addressing a full 8 channels. I would expect the Plextor M6Pro to use the newer 88SS9189 found in the M550 to be able to address 8 channels of NAND and support up to 1TB drives using 128Gbit NAND.



    So we weren't able to get confirmation from Plextor or Marvell, but it's probably the case that the 9188 is a cut down four channel version of the 9189. It's all the more annoying, because this is the third review in a row with new Marvell silicon but no actual info from Marvell.

    We have a pretty good idea of this from looking at the 9174 4 channel used in the UltraPlus vs the 8 channel 9175 used in.... pretty much everything else ever made... that the 9188 is a four channel version of the 9189. But we don't know how many CEs per channel it has, or much else for that matter.

    However, we do know Plextor's M6 Pro will have a 1 TB version, also with A19 flash. Plextor reps told me as much at the 2013 Flash Memory Summit. That was last August though, so I think there have been some delays -- either with Marvell, Toshiba, or both.


    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , April 10, 2014 1:58 PM
    Quote:
    Why not compare the Samsung EVO 840?


    If you're referring to the 128 KB sequential and 4 KB random performance, I'm trying to keep those clean. I'd much rather throw down on matchups like this in more important metrics. However, with TRIM testing out this go around, the EVO v. M6 angle got downplayed. It's an oversight.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 0 Hide
    Zeroplanetz , April 10, 2014 6:37 PM
    I really wish write speeds would actually make a jump.
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , April 10, 2014 9:51 PM
    Quote:
    I really wish write speeds would actually make a jump.


    For sequential writes, you can't do much better than 500 MB/s. The fastest M6M/M6S hits 440 MB/s, and so there just isn't much room left to grow unless you switch to PCIe-based storage or add a couple drives in RAID.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan

  • 0 Hide
    michaelrhaley , April 16, 2014 6:38 AM
    Great article! I'd like to see a summary comparison of your top ten drives listed in Tom's best SSDs for the money using your new benchmark. Most important is your omission of Samsung 256G Pro which has been your leader for 8 months cited now as "face meltingly fast". Any performance benchmark must include the Samsung leader. Love to see this right away from you!
    Sincerely, Michael
  • 0 Hide
    kalmquist , May 4, 2014 10:15 PM
    Currently, the 128GB M6S is selling for $100 on Newegg, the 256GB M6S is selling for $165. The 512GB M6S is not listed.

    Hard to justify buying these over the Samsung 840 EVO ($85 and $154). Actually, for most uses my first thought would be the Crucial M500 ($75 and $120). The M500 doesn't win on either performance or power consumption, but it is good enough that these will not be major issues for the typical user.
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