TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL
SSD Testing at TSSDR differs slightly depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs. For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, although CPU C States have not been changed at all. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch. We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.
Enterprise testing is significantly different as we explore performance in steady state, explore drive latency, and do our best to follow SNIA test protocol. As Plextor will be marketing the M6e as a client/consumer SSD, we are going to be following our regular consumer review tests and, if need be, we can later return for additional testing.
This new PCIe Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to be quiet, Corsair, Crucial, Intel, EVGA and InWin for their support in our project. Our choice of components is very narrow, in that, we choose only what we believe to be among the best available and links are provided to each that will assist in hardware pricing and availability, should the reader be interested in purchase.
|InWin D-Frame Open Air Chassis
|ASUS Maximus VI Z87 MotherBoard
|Intel Core i7-4770K CPU
|Corsair H100i CPU Cooler
|be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSU
|be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fans
|EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked with ACX Cooler
|Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 1600Mhz Memory
|Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
|Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouse
|NetGear R6300 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router
|HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBA
The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities,and PCMark Vantage. In consumer reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and, also, to provide validation to results already obtained.
MARVELL 88SS9183 PCIE SSD CONTROLLER
Considering that this particular Plextor PCIe M.2 SSD is somewhat a custom design, we thought we might afford it a bit of space for discussion. To date, there is no information publicly available about the 9183, but its use here provides the common knowledge that is a PCIe X2 based chip and fine tuned by Plextor’s engineering team. A very special feature of this chip, and its firmware, is has a self-contained BIOS and boot instructions, making it the first ever that we have seen and compatible with just about any motherboard.
In our testing, we found the SSD to be a quick and easy plug and play and, in fact, there is no file available for download if you needed one, as we see in most PCIe card products. Prior to the system BIOS, the following appears for about 2-3 seconds.
In first seeing this, we had to check and ensure the drive was actually running in PCIe X2 vice SATA; it was.
Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, product information, ‘power on’ information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. We can see that the SSD is capable of TRIM as it is not grayed out as with AAM and APM.
M.2 PCIE X4, M.2 PCIE X2 AND M.2 SATA
Just as a bit of a refresher, we thought we might clarify the two connectors used in M.2 SSDs. The connector on the left is the Plextor M6e M.2 PCIe X2 SSD and has two notches, termed B and M keys. This connector can be used for SATA or PCIe X2, enabling maximum speeds of 550MB/s and 1GB/s. The connector on the right is a singled keyed (M) M.2 PCIe X4 connector and can also be used for SATA data travel. PCIe X4 can reach speeds up to 2GB/s. Both connectors fit into the M.2 host connector which is where the M.2 name came from.