We had the opportunity this week to meet with LiteOn/Plextor in a suite at the Bellagio. We were shown a presentation outlining the history of LiteOn and Plextor, as well as all of their relevant technologies and future products roadmap.
Many people have never heard of LiteOn, as many of their products are sold to OEMs to use in their computing devices, and are not generally sold as consumer products. Many popular brand name notebook/laptop and desktop computers come with a LiteOn SSD and/or optical disk drive (ODD) pre-installed. Generally speaking, Plextor is the consumer brand, and LiteOn is the OEM brand.
LiteOn was established in 1975, and now has some 50 factories worldwide, employing nearly 80,000 people. Plextor developed the first CD-ROM drive in 1989, the first Blu-Ray writer in 2006, and their first SSD in 2009. Plextor’s optical disk drives are considered to be the top-rated consumer ODDs on the market.
According to industry analyst Gartner, in 2016 LiteOn was second only to Samsung for global market share of consumer SSDs in PCs. Samsung dominated the market at 48%, with LiteOn being next at 10% market share. For enterprise SSDs, for the same period again Samsung was the market share leader at 27%, with LiteOn ranked 6th at 5% market share.
Plextor has several new products in the works for 2017, including several form factors of SSD that will now utilize 3D NAND. Using 3D NAND in SSDs provides improved endurance and reliability, as well as higher performance — and at a lower cost.
M8Pe in action
Plextor began to release PCIe Gen3 x 4 SSDs in mid-2016, with the release of the premium/enthusiast MP8e, and a mainstream version, the M8Se, is to be available in Q1 0f 2017. A 3D TLC NAND 2.5″ SATA SSDs is planned for Q3 of 2017. The value-segment M7V SATA SSD, and the EX1 portable SSD should both be available early this year.
Under the LiteOn brand, they will be releasing the EP3 M.2 enterprise SSD featuring 3D NAND later in 2017, as well as the AD2 open-channel SSD.
- PlexNitro — uses an SLC cache to accelerate performance
- PlexTurbo — smart caching uses system memory to reduce read/write times
- PlexCompressor — smart compressing of little-used files to free up storage space to help maintain high performance
- PlexVault — data protection that allows you to “hide” certain files and sensitive information that can then only be accessed via hot keys
Stay tuned for further developments as we continue our meetings and explorations here at CES 2017.