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Plextor M6V SSD Review

Value-oriented shoppers in the market for an SSD don't have to settle for TLC-based drives. Plextor found another way to reduce prices with two-bit-per-cell MLC: just use flash with smaller cells.

Conclusion

You'll find 256GB SSDs sprawled across a wide swath of prices. Some of the new SM2258-controlled models armed with Toshiba 19nm TLC start as low as $70. The top-performing drive is SanDisk's Extreme Pro, and Newegg has that one at $115. You'll get your best value from Samsung's 850 EVO 250GB, which sells for $100.

Currently, Plextor's M6V is available only through Amazon in the U.S. The company has its drive listed at an MSRP of $100—the same price as Samsung's 850 EVO. The M6V has been available in Europe for a month or so longer. More European vendors have the M6V in stock, and EU pricing has the two competitors better-separated (with the M6V available for less). Here in the States, we should see Plextor's offering become less expensive in order to compete.

It's often difficult for Plextor SSDs to go head-to-head based on pricing. Its drives come from Lite-On, and the Plextor name is licensed. A percent of the sale goes to Plextor, adding to what you pay. To help offset the added weight, Plextor chose to roll its M6V out with 15nm Toshiba MLC. It's not clear if Toshiba is charging less for the new lithography, but we know it costs less to manufacture 15nm flash than the 19nm NAND, since Toshiba can harvest more dies per wafer. Because 15nm is still new, we don't know how yields are doing. If the price is the same now for 15nm and 19nm, you can bet it'll change over time, with 15nm emerging less expensive.

Performance-wise, Plextor's M6V closes the gap with Samsung's 850 EVO, but doesn't manage to overtake it. The two compete viciously, offering similar performance and software features. The largest distinctions between them are probably encryption support (Plextor's M6V doesn't support it) and warranty (Samsung gives you two more years than Plextor). To be fair, I haven't yet heard any low-cost SSD buyers arguing for FDE. The technology is still fairly new, and most home users simply don't care about it. Warranty terms are much higher-profile. Longer warranties instill confidence in a product, and the M6V falls short there.

Let's cut to the chase: does the M6V top Samsung's 850 EVO? In some ways, yes, in others, no. It's a solid product from Plextor, but I don't see a reason to buy it over the 250GB 850 EVO at a similar price. If you were bothered by the 840 EVO issues and want to stay away from Samsung for a while, the M6V is next in line with Crucial's MX200. Both are better than the Toshiba TLC-based drives that share their air.

At Computex, Plextor announced several software features designed to reduce the amount of data held on the SSD. We hoped it'd release PlexCompressor for the entire portfolio. But right now, that software is only available for premium models. PlexCompressor for the M6V could certainly improve the drive's value, and it may find its way to Plextor's lower-end models. But I think the company, along with its competition, is more worried about compatibility with Windows 10 right now.


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

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  • jimmysmitty
    Man I remember when Plextor was the name when it came to CD burners. You wanted a great burner? You got a Plextor.

    How times have changed....
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    17039348 said:
    Man I remember when Plextor was the name when it came to CD burners. You wanted a great burner? You got a Plextor.

    How times have changed....

    Yeah I still have my B940 that I use for backups and as long as that still works I will continue to use it.
    Reply
  • Quixit
    Man I remember when Plextor was the name when it came to CD burners. You wanted a great burner? You got a Plextor.

    How times have changed....

    They have to sell something, not much money in burners these days.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    When Plextor handed over burner manufacturing to LiteOn things went down hill. You could buy the same model with LiteOn branding and flash it to the Plextor firmware and same a few dollars. I still have all of my Plextor hardware going back to the old SCSI 50-pin units.

    Remember bit to bit copying that would write the copy protection to the new media?
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    Quixit, I get that. It is just me reminiscing about the good ol days.

    17039993 said:
    When Plextor handed over burner manufacturing to LiteOn things went down hill. You could buy the same model with LiteOn branding and flash it to the Plextor firmware and same a few dollars. I still have all of my Plextor hardware going back to the old SCSI 50-pin units.

    Remember bit to bit copying that would write the copy protection to the new media?

    I do. Was one of the things that made Plextor great, as well as their very fast burning speeds. They were able to burn more reliably at higher speeds than the competition which is what made them truly great.

    It is too bad that their new field is not the same, I would buy a Samsung Evo or Intel SSD over this any day.
    Reply
  • qlum
    We use quite a decent amount of them at work as the 120gb ones are quite cheap and at their price you otherwise only get old low end models you generally don't want.
    Reply
  • kalmquist
    I agree that the M6V is too expensive. (As I write this, the 256GB model is $97 on Amazon.). The 240GB Sandisk Extreme Pro, which outperforms most other SATA SSD's at high queue depths and has a 10 year warranty, is now $95 on several sites (including Amazon). The 256GB Mushkin Reactor, which uses the same controller as the M6V, is selling for $80 on Newegg, and that's high because the 250GB Samsung 850 EVO is selling for $78.
    Reply
  • Nintendork
    For consumer grade use, high queu depths means nothing, most the use as an OS-gaming drive revolves around QD 1-4.

    The 850EVOs offer twice the total written capacity (and it can be more than that).
    Reply
  • TbsToy
    Oh boy, another questionable sata SSD to chase around:)!
    Walt Prill
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    Yet another pointlessly expensive lesser grade SSD. The 256GB M6V is 81 UKP here, whereas the 850 EVO 250GB is less than 60. Why on earth would anyone buy an M6V?

    Ian.

    Reply