Thursday , 2 October 2014
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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

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…

Review Overview

Product Build
Performance
Adaptability and Installation
Warranty

Breaks the SATA Barrier!

Summary : The Plextor M6e native PCIe X2 M.2 SSD breaks the SATA barrier by reaching performance of 760MB/s, and better, yet, includes a 5 year warranty and adapter that makes the m6e compatibile with any PC with an open PCIe X4 slot.

User Rating: 3.9 ( 5 votes)
89

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+
  • 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?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      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

    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 home otherwise he is complete idiot.

  • 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)?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      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

      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.

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        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.

      • http://www.ramcity.com.au Rod Bland

        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

    Why the CrystalDisk shows it is SATA 3. Thanks

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

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

  • 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!

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

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

  • Michal Wiktorow

    Did you were able to put this m.2 SSD into laptop (like Zbook) and is Zbook 15 really m.2 PCIE or only SATA compatible – in other words is this interface in current laptops only a gimmick, or is it really reaching PCIe speeds.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      I don’t know what you are asking. there is no gimmick. M.2 is a specific form factor of PCIe and differs from former, and other custom, variations. There are two forms of M.2 and they are native PCIe and SATA. As I haven’t had the Z in my hands, I cannot address which form that might be. Sorry.

  • Mykal Spencer

    From your very excellent reviews innovations in this ssd market adding through way to the PCle lane adds an educational element to my profile as speed is always something we want to improve. From comparison the Samsung XP941 seem to be the leader, yet lacks the advantage of boot capability through PCle bios recognition, where as the Plextor does.(at least from my understanding).
    My question is, if I was to Raid 0 2x256GB Plextor PCleX2 cards, do I used a double adaptor card sold by a third party, thus lose the warranty or use 2 separate cards? (or is this even possible using 2 cards on my Rampage Black MB, since open bays are limited. There are optional double adaptor cards available, just wondering how to do this correctly with Plexor and keeping everything right, since you need to remove the ssd sticker.
    Lastly, I am wondering if it might be better to wait for Samsung to “catch up”, I’m sure their technology is not behind, (judging by the benchmarks especially) it’s like I have read about the supply demand with consumer feedback and competitive influence to issue a product superior not before the time is ready, this being Software related). It’s like other areas where Samsung dominates and blows the competition away, yet Plextor and the benchmarks we see here have something to be proud about, proof being a 5yr guarantee and in real world benchmarks you may not see much difference in raid 0 anyways?
    Mykal Spencer

  • Joel Schop

    Thanks for all the work you have done with M.2 PCIe SSDs. Is the hardware that allows the M6e to be recognized as a boot disk integrated in the actual M.2 SSD or the adapter? In other words, could the M6e M.2 SSD be swapped into another M.2 to PCIe adapter and the M6e still boot?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      We had initially tested the M6e in our IO-Switch Raijin review and spoke to this. The initial boot files were located in the SSD, and not the adapter. Check back to our initial report.

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    SKYPE=ROCKY-TIGER-USA G-TALK=PRINCESS.JASMINE.WOOD@GMAIL.COM MSN LIVE=TIGER_0717@HOTMAIL.COM MSN LIVE=ROCKY_0717@YAHOO.COM MSN LIVE=ROCKY-TIGER@WINDOWSLIVE.COM QQ=859061471 AOL-AIM=ROCKY_TIGER@AOL.COM

  • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

    Yes…unfortunately things change quickly with tech. I cannot answer whether they went with a change of heart or will only be releasing the smaller form factor to oem. Sorry.

  • Ethos Evoss

    Plextor is very good .. but cheapest SSDs are crucial ones

    is it poss. you could do vs battle like reviews ? (of max two) for example these plextor and crucial ones below ?
    http://www.watercoolinguk.co.uk/p/Crucial-M500-SSD-PCIe-M2-480-GB_44374.html

    Thank you

  • Alex Narayan

    did you happen to take crystal disk mark benches of the drives in raid-0? I have four of the 256GB m6e’s and I’m trying to figure out a baseline. Thanks,

    • alex

      ahh nevermind

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