Although SanDisk tinkered with the idea of bringing a Marvell 88SS9183 product to market (the A110), the company never brought the product to the market through normal channels. Samsung's XP941 was brought to market through back door channels, and is not an official retail Samsung product. That means Plextor's M6e products are the only PCIe-based M.2 SSDs in the channel today. That doesn't mean the other products don't exist. A few resellers in Japan sell the A110, and the XP941 can be purchased from RamCity any day of the week.
Plextor released the Black Edition to attract more gamers to the M6e product line, but at the same time, they used the opportunity to tweak the performance. The new firmware increases the random read and write performances, but takes a performance hit on sequential data transfers. At low queue depths, where it counts, the M6e Black Edition isn't faster than Samsung's 850 Pro, or SanDisk's Extreme PRO when working with random data.
The M6e Black Edition still outperforms all of the SATA 6Gb/s products since the drives use the PCIe bus. Since your game level load access is nearly all large sequential data transfers, your games will load faster with the M6e Black Edition, but the load times only see a small improvement.
In this chart with the current PCIe based M.2 products, we see how everything compares. The results are impressive, but the Samsung 850 Pro 256GB loads WoW at 57.7 seconds, and Battlefield 3 at 133.3 seconds. To further emphasis our point, the Extreme PRO loads WoW at 58.2 seconds, and Battlefield 3 at 133.1 seconds. Gamers are not going to gain a lot just by jumping on the PCIe SSD bandwagon.
PlexTurbo 2.0 doesn't lend much help in these tests either. We tested with and without the software quite a bit, and outside of synthetic benchmarks, we didn't feel or find much improvement. I guess we'll have to wait for PlexTurbo 3.0.
If you edit or change the file types of movies with IMG Burn or other video editing software, you will see a much larger performance increase with the M6e Black Edition. Anything that uses very large sequential files will be faster with the M6e Black Edition, but the smaller the file length, the less effective the results will be.
I think what we are missing is higher clock speed controllers from Marvell so we can take advantage of the PCIe bus. Marvell is already making controllers on the 28nm process node. As the lithography process shrinks, it should be possible to increase the clock speeds without going overboard on the controller temperature. NVMe is on the way as well, and Plextor displayed the upcoming M7e SSD at CES with a PCIe x4 lane controller that also uses NVMe commands to reduce latency. Until that arrives, most of the products are just stop gaps to put out products on a predefined release schedule.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||95%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||90%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||93%|
The Bottom Line: It's one of the best on the market right now, but we know better products are coming later this year. This is the PCIe SSD that Plextor should have made last year, though.
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 256GB 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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