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Plextor M6e Black Edition 128GB PCIe SSD Review

Plextor M6e Black Edition 128GB PCIe SSD Review
Plextor's M6e Black Edition is designed for gamers, and performs well in benchmarks. However, we're not convinced that 128GB is enough storage.
By: Chris Ramseyer | PCIe in Storage | Posted: Feb 10, 2015 3:14 am
TweakTown Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Plextor

Introduction

 

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After testing Plextor's new M6e Black Edition 512GB and 256GB products, we've found that the excitement from this series wears off as we move down the product line. All three capacities read sequential data back at the same rate, 770 MB/s, and the sequential write performance trails off as the capacity shrinks. The 512GB writes sequential data at 625 MB/s, but that number drops to 580 MB/s on the 256GB model. The M6e Black Edition 128GB that we're testing today sinks sequential write speeds to just 335 MB/s, which is lower than all of the premium SATA 6GB/s products on the market today.

 

Plextor is targeting gamers with the new PCIe 2.0 x2 M.2 interface SSD, but we have to question why a gamer would want such a small premium priced SSD in the first place. It's not a secret that games have grown in recent years. Digital delivery systems such as Steam and Origin have unbound games from the limits of optical media. These days, it's common for game patches to top 5GB, with full installations of some games taking over 40GB of storage capacity.

 

The only way for a modern gamer to survive with a 128GB SSD is to pair the drive with another storage solution to hold large game files. In my home, that means an iSCSI bond to a NAS over a high-speed Ethernet connection, with a cache SSD sitting in front of several mechanical disk drives. For most of us, a dual drive solution means a SSD for the operating system, and a mechanical HDD to hold game files as the D: drive.

 

We wonder if a premium priced PCIe SSD with only 128GB of capacity even makes sense when it fails to match the performance of a budget SSD on the market today, much less a SandForce-based drive released three years ago that you most likely already own.

 

 

Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

 

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Today we're focusing on the M6e Black Edition 128GB model, but we will go over the other model specifications here as well. The fastest in Plextor's trio of new products is the 512GB capacity, followed by the 256GB capacity, and finally the 128GB capacity we're testing today. All three drives use Toshiba's A19 (second generation 19nm MLC flash), and all three drives use the same number of flash packages. The variable is the number of flash die per package. The more die, the higher the level of interleaving, which is the method that makes SSDs faster than single die speed.

 

All three M6e Black Edition SSDs read sequential data back at 770 MB/s. The sequential write speeds are staggered based on the amount of interleaving. The 512GB model writes sequential data at 625 MB/s, the 256Gb model at 580 MB/s, and the 128GB model we're testing today writes at 335 MB/s. The two larger drives write sequential data faster than is possible with SATA 6Gb/s, but the smallest capacity model falls within the range of SATA 6Gb/s products. That performance doesn't go over well since there are SATA 6Gb/s products on the market that write data faster than the M6e Black Edition 128GB, and sell at a lower price.

 

Newegg just listed the M6e Black Edition prices this evening, and this is the first review in the trio that I have pricing information available. The 512GB model will launch at $529.99, the 256GB model for $299.99, and the 128GB model we're testing today will launch for $199.99. Newegg estimates these products will ship February 12, 2015, and you can preorder the products as of today.

 

If you land on Newegg's Black Edition product page, you will notice an error in the warranty terms. Newegg shows a three-year warranty, but Plextor covers this series with a five-year warranty.

 

The difference between the M6e sold last year and the new Black Edition is a firmware upgrade; the M6e stopped at FW 1.04, and the Black Edition ships with 1.05. The Black Edition also gets an improved PCB on the adapter card that allows users to supply power through a SATA power plug, and also attach the computer case's HDD activity LED to a new connector.

 

The largest improvement on the new Black Edition is the heat sink that helps dissipate heat from the SSD. There is a thermal transfer material pad between the SSD and the heat sink, which effectively increases the surface area cooled by the system fans inside of the computer case. Last but not least, the M6e Black Edition introduces PlexTurbo 2.0 to the M6e product family. The software works on updated M6e products as well, but is just coming to the market with the new models.

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