For the last several years, Plextor has used a two-tier strategy for its SSD products. We've already tested Plextor's flagship SSD for 2014, which is the M6e. The M6e uses a PCIe interface via M.2 and an adapter card. Today, we have the M6S, Plextor's 2014 mainstream offering, on the test bench.
The M6S is noticeably faster than last year's mainstream M5S SSD. In some cases, it's even faster than the M5 Pro and M5 Xtreme products. The drive uses a new Marvell 4-channel controller that's designed to provide smooth performance while consuming significantly less power than enthusiast class SSDs and hard drives. The drive also uses Toshiba toggle mode flash like its predecessors.
Any SSD buying decision starts by looking at prices. This is where Plextor needs to be competitive once the initial MSRP falls off. With new low cost, high performance products on the market from ADATA and Crucial and 1y flash on the way from Flash Forward (Toshiba and SanDisk flash), SSDs are headed to new price points that are much lower than 2013 prices.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
The M5S product family consists of three capacity sizes: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. This is the first product we've tested with the new Marvell 88SS9188 4-channel controller. Plextor paired the new controller with 19nm Toshiba toggle mode NAND flash. The 256GB model we're testing today has a 256MB DDR3-1600 buffer for page data.
This combination delivers 520 MB/s sequential reads and 420 MB/s sequential writes on our 256GB sample. The write speed varies between each model. The 128GB drops to just 300 MB/s sequential writes, but the 512GB model increases to 440 MB/s.
Random IOPS performance changes between the three models as you can see in the chart above. The 256GB drive we're testing today delivers up to 90k IOPS read and 80k IOPS write at queue depth 32.
Plextor covers the M6S with a three-year warranty, but the drives do not ship with an elaborate accessory package. It's an odd position to have at this time with MSRPs as high as the Plextor positioned the M6S at. The 128GB has an MSRP of $139.99, the 256GB is $249.99, and the 512GB model is $499.99.