Wednesday , 26 November 2014
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ioSwitch Raijin M.2 NGFF PCIe SSD Review – Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD Revealed With Boot Features

The advent of M.2 SSDs holds the promise of eliminating the SATA bottleneck and, while it may not seem that big of a deal for the typical consumer, improved performance to a media professional is pure gold.  Faster transfer speeds translate into quicker job completion which realizes increased business and higher revenue.  Although we have had M.2 SSDs in hand for some time now, the thrill of the chase is always there when watching to see who will get such and such a product to market, and into consumer hands first.  When it comes to M.2 SSDs, short of those of us having the ioSwitch Raijin in hand, nobody would ever have guessed…

IOSwitch Raijin M.2 PCIe SSD Angled

ioSwitch is a brand new company in the SSD arena and their Raijin PCIe M.2 SSDs are about to pull off some new tricks in the world of flash storage.  The ioSwitch Raijin SSD is a PCIe M.2 SSD situated in a PCIe 3.0 X4 HHHL (half height half length) adapter and it is plug and play bootable.  Include both Mac and PC compatibility, and there just might be a few media professionals with newer Mac Pro towers  salivating at the thought of pure PCIe M.2 in their work environment.  Albeit a bit pricey, the Raijin is a fix that brings SATA based PC’s into the age of M.2 PCIe in a big way.

Plextor M6e PCIe SSD x2

An unexpected trick of the Raijin is the fact that the adapter card isn’t the source of the boot, but rather, the SSD itself is.  The ioSwitch Raijin M.2 PCIe SSD contains a newly available Plextor M6e M.2 PCIe SSD and, with some very clever engineering between Marvell, Plextor and ioSwitch, the M.2 SSD itself is plug and play bootable, contains its own BIOS, and will boot in any system via a compatible PCIe adapter card.  This eliminates the questions of ‘how to boot’ that we have already spent hours trying to solve and, when you consider the potential of a bootable M.2 PCIe SSD, it increases system compatibility significantly.

IOSWITCH RAIJIN M.2 PCIE SSD SPECS

The ioSwitch Raijin is available through the ioSwitch website only, and in 128, 256 and 512GB capacities.  It is presently based on the newest Plextor M6e M.2 NGFF PCIe SSD and performance is variable, depending on SSD size.  While all sizes are capable of 740MB/s read speeds, write speeds are listed at 640MB/s for the 512GB, 575 MB/s for the 256GB and 330MB/s for the 128GB capacity.  Read IOPS are listed at 105,000 for the 512GB and 95,000 for the 256 and 128GB sizes while write IOPS are steady for all capacities at 75,000.  While compatibility of the Raijin lists OSX 10.6 and above, our initial testing in a PC based system has been no less than impressive, although we should emphasize that the Raijin is, as of yet, not ‘listed’ as PC compatible. The Raijin also comes with a three-year warranty.

RAIJIN COMPONENTS

The ioSwitch Raijin M.2 PCIe SSD is a Plextor M6e M.2 PCIe X2 SSD contained within a HHHL PCIe 3.0 X4 adapter card.  There is a clear metal casing over the SSD which, by way of a rubber thermal conductor on the inside of the casing, is used to dissipate any heat created by the SSD, as well as protecting it from the elements.  The shell is held in place by four screws which also secure the PCIe bracket to the unit and the shell will eventually contain ioSwitch Raijin branding.

IOSwitch Raijin M.2 PCIe SSD Disassembled

We have seen the M2Enabler in a previous article and something that we definitely like about the build are  the LED lights that signify X2 or X4 data travel as well as SSD error.

Raijin LEDsRaijin PCIe X4A close look at the SSD gives us the first ever published pictures of the components of the Plextor M6e M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD.  Admittedly, it is not the final retail version but, none the less, this M.2 2260 sized card performs as expected.

Plextor M6e M.2 PCIe SSD Front

For those not familiar with Plextor, they are a very loyal company and believe their products are best served by the likes of Marvell and Toshiba exclusively.  This M.2 PCIe SSD contains the Marvell SS9183 controller and four modules of Toshiba Toggle Mode 19nm MLC NAND flash memory, matching that in which we have seen in similar Plextor SSD products.

Plextor M6e SSD Front

Each module of memory is 64GB in capacity for a total RAW capacity of 256GB, however, only 238GB of usable storage is available to the user after formatting.  There is also a NANYA 256MB DRAM cache on the flip side of the PCB.

Plextor M6e SSD Back

The advent of M.2 SSDs holds the promise of eliminating the SATA bottleneck and, while it may not seem that big of a deal for the typical consumer, improved performance to a media professional is pure gold.  Faster transfer speeds translate into quicker job completion which realizes increased business and higher revenue.  Although we have had M.2 SSDs in hand for some time now, the thrill of the chase is always there when watching to see who will get such and such a product to market, and into consumer hands first.  When it comes to M.2 SSDs, short of those…

Review Overview

Product Construction
Performance
Ease of Installation
Warranty
Price and Availability

Amazing Plextor M.2 PCIe SSD!

Summary : First appearance of a consumer M.2 PCIe SSD couldn't be better as the IOSwitch Raijin adds compatibility and a significant performance boost to just about any desktop computer.

User Rating: 3.73 ( 2 votes)
75

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • Rod Bland

    Great review Les. So how is this product different to combining say the Plextor M.2 and one of the Bplus or M.2 Enabler cards. Do the latter cards also allow the system to boot, or is this something new that only this ioSwitch Raijin card can do?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      We tried the SSD in several cards and regardless, it will boot. We have also confirmed this to be a customized SSD that will allow it. The SSD is bootable, not the card.

      • smitty

        So any other generic ssd in the Asus impact motherboards onboard connector would not be bootable?

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        Not quite. If the M.2 host is built into the motherboard, you can believe that they have taken this into account. This design was a custom build to ensure this SSD has very wide compatibility in systems, such as the Mac Pr desktop, which has traditionally been used by media professionals who can use this specific performance upgrade.

  • Zaxx

    Man….can’t wait for Tosh to start using the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller now that they own Ocz…pretty sure it’ll smoke the Marvell controller they’re using. Plextor may end up the main and/or exclusive source of future BF3 based ssds…hmmm

  • Teszter

    Hey! Very informative! Plenty of images, links, and explanations.
    Unfortunately, I cannot afford anything like this yet. Thus, having to buy an SSD, I shall go for either SATA or mSATA. I am still puzzled, though, as to which is the best choice. Which of the two will give me the highest performance?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      mSATA and SATA SSDs will provide the same performance for the most part, however understanding your systems configuration is crucial. Many mSATA buyers have been disappointed to learn their mSATA slots on their motherboards, or in portables, was SATA 2 and not 3.

  • WillythrGeek

    Which motherboards allow the best performance for this concept?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Any motherboard with an available PCIe V2 slot available should suffice…including Mac systems.

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