Turn out the lights; the party is over. Well, for 2014 anyway. At the end of the year, I look back and see what products didn't get a review due to issues found during testing. I take these products, look for the latest firmware updates, put them through the ringer, and finally write them up as they are.
The Plextor M6M hit the market this past April, around the same time Plextor released the M6S 2.5". Both drives use the same Marvell 88SS9188 controller, and the same Toshiba A19 MLC flash. The specifications are nearly identical when comparing equal capacities, and both products are rated for 72TBW (66GB per day for three years).
The difference between the M6S 256GB and the M6M 256GB we're looking at today comes down to the number of NAND packages, and the number of the die per package. The M6S uses eight NAND flash packages with four 8GB die per package. The M6M 256GB that were looking at today is a mSATA product that can only hold four packages, and each package holds four 16GB die.
The Marvell 88SS9188 is a four-channel controller that was used on a handful of low-cost SSDs this past year. When first released, the M6M 256GB cost $189.99, a price we considered high at launch when comparing the M6M to other mSATA 256GB SSDs. Now, the M6M 256GB sells for $139.99, and is in a much better position in comparison to other mSATA products.
High prices aren't enough for us to hold a review up so a product has time to develop. When we first tested the M6M 256GB, it suffered from some performance issues, and had trouble with performance consistency. Since its release in April, Plextor has released several firmware updates for the M6M series. The latest firmware, released November 21, 2014, is the M6M's sixth release, and the last I plan to test... at least in 2014.
Specifications, Pricing, and Availability
Plextor released the M6M mSATA SSD in four capacities, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. All four drives use the same configuration, a Marvell four-channel SATA to flash controller, and Toshiba A19 second-generation 19nm flash. Today we're focusing on the 256GB model that is rated at 520 MB/s sequential read, and 440 MB/s sequential write speeds. The M6M 256GB rates random performance at 94,000 read IOPS, and 80,000 write IOPS.
The M6M series has all of the new bells and whistles, like AES-256bit encryption for security, and DEVSLP for reduced power consumption and longer notebook battery life.
Plextor has an extensive test facility used to develop new products. We saw a similar test setup while visiting Intel several months ago. The drives go through Flexstar "hot boxes," an extreme form of testing drive reliability. Also like Intel, we rarely hear about a Plextor SSD dying in the field.
Plextor writes its own firmware, and has used Marvell controllers for many years. Several other companies have approached Plextor over the years to get firmware for Marvell controllers.
The current price of the Plextor M6M mSATA 256GB SSD is $139.99. Newegg shows the drive in the top three in price for 256GB class (240GB and 256GB) drives at this time. The M6M is also covered by a three-year warranty, and is eligible for use with Plextor's Plextool. You can read more about Plextool, Plextor's SSD utility here.
PRICING: You can find the Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD retails for $158.23 at Amazon.
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