Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD Review – RAID Tested at 1.4GB/s

Some time ago, we conducted a review of a new PCIe Card called the IOSwitch Raijin and it was constructed of a M.2 to PCIe x4 adapter, along with the Plextor M6e native PCIe M.2 (NGFF) 256GB SSD.  At the time, the M6e was an unreleased SSD and it seemed that even Plextor was caught off guard at the publicity that report received, politely asking us to lay low with our M6e samples for a while.  A few days back, we received the 512GB version of the M6e PCIe M.2 SSD and within the packaging, we found an included PCIe X4 adapter which was a bit unexpected.

Plextor-HHHL-PCIe-Card-SSD-3x5

In our Plextor coverage this past January at CES,  Plextor displayed their M6e PCIe M.2 SSD, as well as a separate product called the M6e HHHF (above) that included the adapter card to maximize system compatibility. Receipt of our product sample confirmed that the M6e will be available as a M.2 SSD alone, or with the M.2 to PCIe adapter as a PCIe solution to maximize compatibility.  For us, the added benefit of also possessing the M6e 256GB capacity M.2 SSD is that we can do a bit of RAID 0 testing with the two cards.

Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 256 and 512GB SSD 2

PLEXTOR M6E PCIE M.2 SSD

The Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD is a PCIe X2 device and, as much as that doubles the performance compared to SATA 3 SSDs, using only 2 lanes also means that the M6e is bottle-necked at 1GB/s speeds.  The M6e will be available in sizes of 128, 256 and 512GB and performance is variable depending on capacity.

Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD Exterior CasePlextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD Exterior Case Bottom

While read speed is consistent at 770MB/s for all sizes, write speeds are 625MB/s (512GB), 580MB/s (256GB) and 335MB/s (128GB).  As well, IOPS are listed at 105,000 IOPS read/100,000 IOPS write for 256 and 512GB capacities, while they drop just a bit to 96,000 IOPS read and 83,000 IOPS write for the 128GB capacity.  Product release is believed to be Q2 2014 and pricing has yet to be set in stone, however, the M6e will come with a 5 year warranty and Plextor has also released a new utility called the ‘Plextool’.

Plextool Welcome Screen

The Plextor Plextool provides information about Plextor SSDs, but more importantly, it is a very convenient utility for  updating firmware, secure erasing, and it also has a diagnostics scan should you feel something might be wrong with your SSD.

M6E COMPONENTS

We have covered the components of the M6e 256GB SSD within our IOSwitch Raijin Review and thought it might be interesting to throw in a picture as it is a shorter 42mm (2242) length M.2 PCIe SSD.  Test results of that SSD are also published in our recent look at the ASRock Fatal1ty FX990 Killer motherboard where we put 8 different M.2 SSDs to the test.

Plextor-M6e-PCIe-SSD-x22At that time, we had to dig up our own adapter card. One of Plextor’s smartest moves with this new form factor SSD is that they will market the M6e M.2 SSD alone, or M6e M.2 with M.2 to PCIe X4 adapter card that eliminates compatibility issues with any system containing an empty PCIe 2.0 x4 slot.  If one purchases the drive with adapter, there is a security sticker over the fastening screw that will void the warranty should it be damaged in any way.

Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD With Adapter

The back of the adapter card is nondescript and there are three lights on the end, red for error, green for PCIe X2 travel and the yellow is for drive activity.

Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 SSD With Adapter Aluminum FaceThe M6e M.2 SSD itself contains the Marvell SS9183 controller, Hynix DDR 3 DRAM cache, along with 8 pieces of Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode NAND flash memory.  It will also be available in different lengths, the 2242 (42mm) shown in the 256GB version here while the 2280 (80mm) is shown in the 512GB capacity.

Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 512GB SSD PCB Top2Although the RAW capacity of our M6e sample is 512GB (8×64), only 477GB is available to the user after the drive is formatted.

Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 512GB SSD PCB Bottom2

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iCrunch
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iCrunch

Great review, thanks! I have a quick question: How would you quantify the “real world” performance gain of a PCIe x4 SSD over a PCIe x2?

Les@TheSSDReview
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Transfer speeds. PCIe X4 will be the stuff used to edit and compile high end 4K video whereas X2 will do just about everything else. For now, the only step up is X2.

dzezik
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dzezik

why are You so excited with useless RAID0 setup. it only increase stream read/write.Are You only copying big files from one disk to another. that is Your main task for computers? RAID0 also increase failure probability. Try RAID1 ti is more secure and gives boost for random IO reads (depends on RAID controller), random IO read is weakest area for SSD. RAID1 also makes Your data more secure. Please remember RAID0 is not RAID is antithesis of RAID. It is not redundant (R). Who uses RAID0 for keeping data, this is only test setup, no one is using it at… Read more »

Bernd
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Bernd

Nice review, thanks.I ma planning to buy such a SSD but i would ike to use it externally like a bigger and better USB stick, does anybody know if such external enclosures are planned, or is it technically not practicable(the speed limit over usb 3.0 doesn’t hinder me)?

Les@TheSSDReview
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There isn’t a USB enclosure that I am aware of just yet but I might watch MyDigitalSSD as they will probably be the first. There are, however, several PCIe adater cards and we have done an article in such in our M.2/NGFF section.

jp1wc1
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jp1wc1

you could buy a m.2/ngff to sata 2.5 inch enclosure and then purchase a sata to usb adapter. like this http://www.microsatacables.com/ngff-m-2-ssd-to-sata-adapter-with-case also search on ebay and amazon.

Les@TheSSDReview
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I don’t understand why you would do that. The purpose of introducing PCIe is to get the higher performance we see outside the barriers of SATA. One needs to find either an X2 or X4 PCIe adapter, much as we have used in our reports.

Actually….when you doing the comparison to USB 3.0, I see where you are coming from.

Rod Bland
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There will be an external USB 3.0 enclosure on the market in early June designed to accept PCIe M.2 SSD’s. Stay tuned on that one.

Calvin
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Calvin

Why the CrystalDisk shows it is SATA 3. Thanks

Les@TheSSDReview
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The same shows on their own test as well and it is undoubtedly the reason of this being such a new technology.

Kubo90
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Kubo90

Hi, I have a question. Why Plextool shows speed: 6Gb/s (SATA 3), when the M2 interface has a speed 10 Gb / s, even if it is in the PCI-e!

Les@TheSSDReview
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It is a matter of technology advancing to quickly to cover all the bases. They will update soone enough I am sure.