The Plextor M6e is an interesting product that can be faster than other drives on the market at times, but, at other times, it can be slower, too. The issue revolves around the way Plextor handles garbage collection. After data writes to the drive, almost instantly, the GC scheme kicks in and starts to reorganize the data. Plextor doesn't list the total number of writes per day, but, with GC this aggressive, we have to wonder what the real-world endurance rating is. The M6e uses the same flash as the M5 Pro, 19nm Toshiba Toggle, and we've yet to hear about endurance issues on that model or any other Plextor SSD. What we do see in our testing, though, is the drive cleaning itself while we're trying to use it, and that actually slows the performance.
Plextor intentionally flies the gamer flag over the M6e and doesn't market it as a power user or A/V prosumer product. PCMark Vantage shows that under light, daily use scenarios, the M6e does very well. Gamers tend to fall into this category. You start the game, play, read a lot of data but don't write a significant amount other than when installing games and patches. I think it's important to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of this dive.
On the other side of the coin, if you write a lot of data quickly to the drive, the performance can drop to very low levels and get there quickly. If you're editing a video like we do at trade shows, then the write performance can drop off, and the M6e can actually write slower than a traditional SATA drive.
Plextor hasn't stated if we'll see an M6e Pro model, an issue we've ran into in the past with previous Plextor releases. The base drive releases and then a slightly more expensive model hits with higher performance. No one likes to purchase the latest and greatest and then have a higher level of greatest hit the market just a few weeks later. Given that Plextor calls the M6e a premium product, we expect a premium price. If a Pro model launch comes in rapid succession like what we had on M5S and M5P, some people may not be too happy about it.
Then, we also have the Marvell PCIe 2.0 4-lane controller waiting in the wings. Shown at CES 2014 two months ago, the higher spec controller delivers twice the theoretical bandwidth. Even in its early form, we saw sequential reads over 1400 MB/s and sequential writes over 1000 MB/s. It's difficult to recommend the M6e knowing that a 4-lane controller from Marvell is around the corner.
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