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Plextor M6 PRO SSD with PlexTurbo Caching Layer Technology Preview

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 25, 2014 2:10 pm





Most Plextor M6 PRO owners will never run their drive as a secondary volume until something shinier comes along in a couple of years. A majority of users will use the M6 PRO for the boot volume and with Plextor's PlexTurbo software. Since PlexTurbo will only work on the boot drive, we can't test the combination like we do other SSDs.




For this test, we reached for a Lenovo W530 notebook. The W530 was recently retired from our Notebook Battery Life Test system and replaced with a T440 that supports DEVSLP. The W530 uses a Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor running at 2.3GHz and a Maximum Turbo frequency of 3.3GHz.


Now that the system is retired, we were able to make some modifications. Patriot sent us four Viper series DDR3-1600 SODIMMs for another product that we later learned required ECC DRAM. With 32GB of LoVo (Low Voltage = 1.35v) DDR3 in our system, we were ready to get the most out of PlexTurbo. PlexTurbo does not require 32GB of DRAM - we just couldn't help but go overboard.


Also, this system uses four DDR3 SODIMMs at 1600MHz in dual-channel mode. A system based on X79 or X99 with quad-channel DRAM would be significantly faster. At this time, we can't show any results from our X99 systems and X79 had poor SATA III performance so we're sticking with a consumer based chipset.



Crystal Disk Mark Read


Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 TP1




In the PlexTurbo results, we'll have two sets of results, the M6 PRO with an OS on the drive and the same M6 PRO with an OS and PlexTurbo running. In all of the tests we see the PlexTurbo software accelerating performance. The largest performance gains on the chart come in sequential workloads, but by percentage the random workloads increase a significant amount as well. The high queue depth tests have the least amount of increase.



Crystal Disk Mark Write




In the write test, we see a significant increase as well. Plextor's documentation states, "Automatically protects against loss of data from the RAM cache during a power interruption or unexpected system crash." We'll need to get more details on how this is possible when the DRAM is clearly accelerating the data writes. We'll cover this topic more in the actual review that is coming soon.



Random IOPS




This is where things get really interesting with PlexTurbo (blue bars). Starting at the bottom with the random read IOPS, we see that PlexTurbo accelerates all of the random read IOPS regardless of the queue depth. PlexTurbo just takes over and go wild when reading cached data back.


The middle group shows 4K random writes at different queue depths. The PlexTurbo software accelerates all the way up to QD8 and then the accelerated M6 PRO drops off. Most users will never reach high queue depths under a normal consumer workload, so it's not an issue for gaming or even enthusiast tasks like video editing and so on.


The same is true for the random mixed IO test. The low queue depth tests show a significant increase, but as the commands stack up, the PlexTurbo software slows performance.

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