We will see more division with SSD products in 2015; the stage is already set, low-cost SSDs will dominate the SATA space. Products like the new Crucial BX100, the Mushkin Reactor, and others will give users acceptable performance at very low prices, and unlike in the past few years, larger capacities.
On the other side of the coin, performance products can no longer live within the constraints of SATA 6Gb/s, and will move on to the PCIe bus. We've had PCIe drives for years, mostly with RAID controllers, and more than one SATA to flash controller pieced together. These products work really well with workstation workloads, but low queue depth performance is actually slower than simple SATA-based products. After you tack on a price higher than the cost of purchasing an equal number of 2.5" SSDs, it's easy to see why all-in-one RAID products never caught on with enthusiasts, gamers, or power users.
By June, the market will be flooded with native PCIe SSDs in many form factors. These products will eventually tip up in M.2 gum stick-like parts, PCIe cards that are either native or hold the M.2 parts, and finally SATA Express, a standard that routes two PCIe 2.0 lanes to a 2.5" form factor drive.
Plextor is one of the few companies to release a native PCIe SSD to the market. We've tested native PCIe parts from SanDisk in the A110, the Samsung XP941, and the original Plextor M6e, but only Plextor's part is a full retail unit that you can purchase from more than just a handful of specialty stores.
Specifications, Pricing, and Availability
The new Plextor M6e Black Edition shares the same specifications as the original M6e we tested at this time last year. The Black Edition evolves the M6e product line by adding an aluminum heat sink to dissipate heat from the M.2 form factor SSD that rests under the cover, and also supports Plextor's new PlexTurbo 2.0 cache software - neither were available on the M6e. The original M6e does work with PlexTurbo after a firmware update now; it just wasn't available when the product launched.
The M6e Black Edition comes in three capacities, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Today we're focusing on the largest capacity, but in the coming days, we will follow up with the other two models as performance testing concludes.
The PX-512M6e-BK reads sequential data at 770 MB/s, and writes sequential data at 625 MB/s. This is the fastest model in the trio offered by Plextor. To achieve those speeds, the M6e Black Edition uses a PCIe 2.0 x2 bus. The faster interface to the host PC also allows the M6e Black Edition to handle random data faster than SATA 6Gb/s devices. The 512GB model delivers 105,000 random read IOPS, and exactly 100,000 random write IOPS.
The spec list shows us something we rarely see on these types of devices, non-Windows OS support. Plextor states the M6e Black Edition will work with different Linux operating systems.
At the time of writing, the new M6e Black Edition products are not available from the usual outlets like Newegg and Amazon in the US. The new products should turn up any day now. We're not going to speculate on the final price, but we should know more by the time we finish testing the other two capacities. The M6e Black Edition comes with a five-year warranty from Plextor.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Plextor M6e Black Edition 512GB PCIe SSD]
- Page 3 [Test System Setup and Initial Performance]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Sequential Performance]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Mixed Read / Write Workloads]
- Page 7 [PCMark 8 Consistency Test]
- Page 8 [PCMark 8 Consistency Test - Continued]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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