Unlike the previous M6e Black Edition reviews, we now have pricing information from Newegg on these products. The 128GB model we tested today lists at $199.99 at the time of writing. Newegg shows the Black Edition products available for preorder, but the drives will not ship until February 12, 2015. The 256GB model will sell for $299.99, and the largest capacity model, the 512GB, will sell for $529.99.
I think Plextor missed the market again when it comes to price, not unlike nearly every product the company has released since the M3 Pro. SSD prices have dropped over the years, but for some reason, Plextor keeps launching products at or above $1 per GB, even when competing products offer better performance at lower prices. Even though there are only two native PCIe SSDs on the market right now (barring All-in-One RAID products), the XP941 with superior performance has to be the starting point for cost. Then, price reductions should be made for the amount of performance under the XP941 that the M6e Black Edition offers.
We don't want to overlook the new Black Edition and the improvements this product brings. The XP941 doesn't include an adapter or a snazzy heat sink that rocks the aesthetics department. We do have to question if it's necessary though. Most people shelling out nearly $1 per GB on storage most likely have a system with a M.2 slot on the motherboard. That also means a Z97 or X99 chipset, although some M.2 slots are present on Z87 boards. In our testing, we've found that the best slot for full PCIe performance comes from the M.2 slot that is often connected straight to the CPU's PCIe lanes, and not through the PCH (South Bridge) or PLX switches. PCIe slots on many motherboards are almost always routed through one or the other. These switches and chipsets increase latency, and reduce throughput in many cases.
The next part to consider when choosing a native PCIe product is the need for a heat sink at all. When we tested the XP941, we found that the controller can get past 100 C, but the workload ran to get there was obscene, and well outside of typical consumer use. Most users will never touch 100% 4K random writes for ten minutes. The Marvell 88SS9183 controller doesn't get anywhere near those temperatures under the same workload, but that doesn't mean heat isn't a problem. With good case airflow (nothing too elaborate, but well ventilated), the 88SS9183 controller will work well inside of a computer without a heat sink.
Plextor did go the extra mile and included a nice heat sink to the drive, but the heat sink doesn't actually touch the controller at all. In fact, the heat sink will block air from passing over the hottest component, the Marvell controller. The heat sink does contact the DRAM and NAND packages on the opposite side of the controller, and those are two components that you do not want running at high temperatures.
We tested the 128GB M6e Black Edition today, and have reservations about gamers even considering running a 128GB drive. The game files are too large with modern games. If you play Falcon 4.0, or still install games from 700MB CDs, then 128GB is more than enough to satisfy your game collection. However, if you install Battlefield 4, or have a Steam collection, then you will run out of space faster than it took UPS to deliver your new 128GB SSD.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||95%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||85%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||88%|
The Bottom Line: We love the look of Plextor's new flagship M6e Black Edition SSD products, but doubt gamers will flock to a 128GB premium SSD. When it comes to this price range, the XP941 offers better performance, but comes in a no frills M.2 only package.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Plextor M6e Black Edition 128GB 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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