Plextor M8Se NVMe TLC SSD Coming In June

Plextor jumped the gun at CES 2017 and pre-announced a product we won't see until the second half of the year. The upcoming M8Se series targets the NVMe mainstream and comes hot on the heels of the M8Pe that we loved in our initial review. Plextor will ship the M8Se model with Toshiba 15nm 3-bit-per-cell TLC and sell it at a lower price point than its predecessor.

The new mainstream NVMe SSD uses a new heatsink design for the add-in card that Plextor says will improve cooling by up to 20%. The card also features blue accent lighting (SSDs go faster with a hovering glow from light emitting diodes). Plextor will also sell a heatsink-less M8PeGN model in the M.2 form factor.

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ProductM8Se 128GBM8Se 256GBM8Se 512GBM8Se 1TB
Form FactorAdd-in Card: M8SeYM.2: M8SeGNAdd-in Card: M8SeYM.2: M8SeGNAdd-in Card: M8SeYM.2: M8SeGNAdd-in Card: M8SeYM.2: M8SeGN
ControllerMarvell EldoraMarvell EldoraMarvell EldoraMarvell Eldora
NANDToshiba 15nm TLCToshiba 15nm TLCToshiba 15nm TLCToshiba 15nm TLC
Sequential Read1,850 MB/s2,400 MB/s2,450 MB/s2,450 MB/s
Sequential Write570 MB/s1,000 MB/s1,000 MB/s1,000 MB/s
Random Read135,000 IOPS205,000 IOPS210,000 IOPS210,000 IOPS
Random Write80,000 IOPS160,000 IOPS175,000 IOPS175,000 IOPS
Endurance80 TBW160 TBW320 TBW640 TBW
Warranty3-Years Limited3-Years Limited3-Years Limited3-Years Limited

Plextor tells us to look for eight product SKUs with two different types of M8Se drives. This is similar to the M8Pe that comes in three variants; an add-in card, an M.2 with a heatsink and an M.2 without a heatsink. The M8Se with TLC doesn't have an M.2 model with a heatsink at this time, but that may change before the product launches in June or July. You can read our review from the M8Pe to see how even a thin heatsink improves performance on the Marvell Eldora controller. The only M8Se SSD with a heatsink at this time is the M8SeY add-in card. Plextor changed the design to reduce material costs but still managed to improve performance by up to 20%.

We’re taken aback by the amount of time Plextor will invest to fine tune this product--there are only a few changes from the shipping MLC version. The change from MLC to TLC is trivial, but we suspect Plextor will spend the time optimizing the SLC cache modes to increase performance. In the past, Plextor had a run of products we couldn't recommend, but the company turned that around in late 2016. We asked Jeffery Chang from LiteOn what turned the product development around.

"Plextor's current lineup takes heavy inspiration from [the company's] enterprise product line. There is more integration between the teams, and it's paying off with higher performance consistency."

Plextor hopes to reduce the entry cost of NVMe products, and we look forward to learning more about the Plextor M8Se series. If the timeline holds, we should have a full review just in time for Computex 2017.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • weilin
    The product naming convention hurts me...

    "M8Se 128GB" gets a space, but "M8Se256GB" doesn't. Neither does "M8Se512GB" but "M8Se 1TB" gets one?