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Plextor Cancels Altaplus M7e, Regroups With Eldora For M8e PCIe SSD

The hits just keep coming for Plextor. Last year, the company launched the M6 Pro that was later recalled for losing customer data. When a fix was ready, the new firmware failed to drive satisfactory performance consistency when pushed hard. Plextor claimed the fifth firmware for M6 Pro fixes all of the issues, but we've yet to test our drives for the fifth and final time to find out. Then again, you would never know about the issues if you read the staggering number of reviews that issued awards for the M6 Pro, many written when the drive was chewing through customer data like Cookie Monster. 

Plextor added a new enthusiast class product last year as well, the M6e. This product used a Marvell PCIe 2.0 x2 AHCI controller and outperformed competing SATA-based products. Samsung also released a native PCIe SSD for the client market around the same time, the XP941. The Samsung product cost less than Plextor's M6e and nearly doubled the performance in some measurable metrics. The M6e needed a boost, so the company slapped a heatsink over the same M.2 drive, changed the PCB color to black, and called it the "M6e Black Edition." The new "gamer" model looked the part, but aside from a firmware update and new DRAM cache software, the two M6e products were the same.

Fast forward to Computex 2015, and Plextor again claimed to have a competitive enthusiast product based on Marvell's Altaplus controller. The Altaplus uses PCIe 2.0 with four lanes and was first demonstrated by Marvell at CES in 2014. The controller was also used in Kingston's Predator PCIe SSD, but in our tests, we determined the controller was unable to keep pace with Samsung's less expensive SM951 AHCI SSD.

Plextor was supposed to bring the M7e Altaplus product to Flash Memory Summit 2015, but the product was a no-show. The M7e would have kicked off the M7 series, but the company chose to introduce the value-focused M6V product to North America instead. The M6V uses Toshiba's 15nm TLC flash and was introduced in Europe over a month ago. Apparently, North American readers are unable to read tech websites in Europe now; in the sole review online, Plextor claimed the M6V was shipping as of last month, but we are still unable to purchase the drive in Europe or in the land of the free.

That was quite a buildup to get to the meat of the story. We recently learned that Plextor canceled the M7e with Altaplus because it's not competitive with Samsung's SM951 SSD that has shipped for the last six months. While some may not care, we were actually looking forward to the M7e, because the drive scales to 1 TB of NAND flash capacity in an M.2 22110 form factor. Samsung has yet to release a 1 TB PCIe client SSD. Maybe Plextor heard the rumors about the 950 Pro coming to market soon.

Either way, the M7e is another failed product in the Plextor portfolio. Plextor can nudge Marvell hard enough to get Eldora and Eldora Lite to market before we go through another year and another product category dominated by Samsung, though.

M7e R.I.P.

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  • gadgety
    Well, not an M.2 or PCI-e drive, but Samsung's got their share of lemons, too. Like the 840 and the drive I have the 840evo. It was hailed as the top performance for a reasonable price, value for money, or as this site stated "Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award on Samsung's 840 EVO." It wasn't. It was a time bomb, bordering on hoax, sort of the Ben Johnson in the SSD world, fast, but on drugs. My dual CPU, multi GPU PC with the 840EVO starts slower than the family APU HTPC with a lowly Kingston SSD. So Plextor isn't the only one with lemons. Samsung's 840EVO is a bigger problem than the Plextor drive, because it outsold most every other SSD, and in fact, I think should reward the millions of 840EVO buyers with a healthy discount on an 850EVO.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    I have zero rebuttal to any of that other than I was not the editor here at the time.
    Reply
  • Mac266
    Well, not an M.2 or PCI-e drive, but Samsung's got their share of lemons, too. Like the 840 and the drive I have the 840evo. It was hailed as the top performance for a reasonable price, value for money, or as this site stated "Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award on Samsung's 840 EVO." It wasn't. It was a time bomb, bordering on hoax, sort of the Ben Johnson in the SSD world, fast, but on drugs. My dual CPU, multi GPU PC with the 840EVO starts slower than the family APU HTPC with a lowly Kingston SSD. So Plextor isn't the only one with lemons. Samsung's 840EVO is a bigger problem than the Plextor drive, because it outsold most every other SSD, and in fact, I think should reward the millions of 840EVO buyers with a healthy discount on an 850EVO.

    You don't think the problem is probably on your end? I have a 840 EVO and my PC is extremely fast starting up.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    What the hell was this article?

    The little bit of news was nice, but the rest was more or less a rant against the brand followed by what seems to be Samsung fanboing for absolutely no reason. Add to that the fact that the second half of the title seems to be mere speculation with no official word.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    The difference between one man's speculation and one man's fact is the source. LiteOn, Plextor's parent company on the SSD side displayed the Eldora processor in the CX2 at the show. The CX2 is for OEMs and enterprise use depending on who is buying. The M8e info comes from a Plextor source on two occasions. The first was at Computex and the second was at FMS.

    Samsung ships roughly 50% of the client SSDs in the channel today. Given the large number of other brands in the market I would call that dominant. There isn't any fanboi action here, just the facts.

    The rest of the article just gives background on what Plextor has gone through over the last few years. Many of the details in this piece have never been merged together in a single article before. This is the place to get the full story without the spin.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    16479963 said:
    The difference between one man's speculation and one man's fact is the source. LiteOn, Plextor's parent company on the SSD side displayed the Eldora processor in the CX2 at the show. The CX2 is for OEMs and enterprise use depending on who is buying. The M8e info comes from a Plextor source on two occasions. The first was at Computex and the second was at FMS.

    Samsung ships roughly 50% of the client SSDs in the channel today. Given the large number of other brands in the market I would call that dominant. There isn't any fanboi action here, just the facts.

    The rest of the article just gives background on what Plextor has gone through over the last few years. Many of the details in this piece have never been merged together in a single article before. This is the place to get the full story without the spin.

    If that was your intention, that is fine and dandy, but the article itself was terribly laid out. If the CX2 and other sources were your backing for the speculation, please list them in the article. Also, it takes way too long for you to reach the meat of the article, and instead give us a list of previous Plextor issues and quite random Samsung facts. Seriously, what the hell is the 950 Pro, and where did you get info about it? Further, sentences like this: " Apparently, North American readers are unable to read tech websites in Europe now; in the sole review online, Plextor claimed the M6V was shipping as of last month, but we are still unable to purchase the drive in Europe or in the land of the free." make little to no sense without more explanation.

    Finally, I don't know what counts as the full story without the spin, but leaving out long term company history while completely bashing Plextor with harsh negative rhetoric over and over and painting a heavenly picture of flawless Samsung doesn't seem full or without spin.
    Reply
  • jabliese
    My dual CPU, multi GPU PC with the 840EVO starts slower than the family APU HTPC with a lowly Kingston SSD.

    Without anymore detail than what you have offered, I would guess your multi GPU PC is doing a bit more than your APU HTPC on boot up. The difference in speed from one SSD to another is pretty small, in real world terms. Now, if you put the Kingston SSD in your multi GPU setup and saw an improvement in boot up times, you would have a valid complaint.

    I have zero rebuttal to any of that other than I was not the editor here at the time.

    Really. You cannot even pick out the apples to oranges comparison he was doing, but felt compelled to reply.
    Reply