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Plextor M8PeY M.2 with AIC NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 12, 2017 7:51 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Plextor

Moderate Workload Model


We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.


PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests


Version and / or Patch Used:


The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.


We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's consumer guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.



OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used






OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State






Secondary Volume Empty - FOB






There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.




The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing.


Focusing in on 75% full and steady state performance, reveals another side to the M8PeY. It is a powerhouse when running consumer type workloads. On our Intel platform, the M8PeY takes all but the mighty Samsung 950 Pro to the woodshed. It also delivers the goods surprisingly well on our Ryzen platform. This is the most important test we've run to this point and the M8PeY is shining brightly.



PCMark 7 - System Storage


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0


We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used








PCMark 7 more accurately represents real-world performance than does Vantage. The M8PeY, running on our Intel platform again delivers outstanding moderate workload performance. Only the RD400 and 950 Pro are able to outperform the Plextor offering. We believe that this is largely due to the unfortunate fact that the M8PeY badly needs a better driver than the in-box MS Windows 10 NVMe driver, which is well known for its inherent inferiority. The M8PeY running on our Ryzen platform does not fare nearly as well. This is due to the Ryzen platforms inferior low queue depth random performance.



PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth


Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304


We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used










PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate consumer type workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance. We decided to clearly demonstrate just how inferior the Windows 10 NVMe driver actually is, and hopefully Plextor or Marvell will take notice and do something about this travesty. When we run an alternative NVMe driver on the M8PeY, the drive goes from one of the lowest performing, to second best. We aren't going to elaborate on what "alternative" NVMe driver we used, other than to say you can typically force any NVMe driver onto any NVMe SSD through device manager and it will run perfectly.


Based on our PCMark 8 results, we believe that Marvell's 88SS1093 NVMe controller is an elite controller that just needs a good NVMe driver for Windows 10 to unleash its true potential. If you by chance are still running Windows 8.1, this is not an issue because the NVMe driver built into Window's 8.1 is actually a good driver, however, who in the heck still runs Window's 8.1? If you look at our Server 2012 R2 MOP results, you will see evidence that the Windows 8.1 NVMe driver is a good driver because it is the same NVMe driver that is built into Server 2012 R2.



BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE System Performance


Version and / or Patch Used:


SYSmark 2014 SE is considered the gold standard for testing system performance because it is an application based benchmark. This test gives us the ultimate in real-world results because it utilizes actual applications running on the system, instead of playing back recorded traces. If you want to know what kind of impact a particular SSD will have on your system's overall performance; this test will show you.




Disk performance has the greatest impact on the Responsiveness score, so that is what we will focus on.




Our system is much more powerful than the calibration system used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point on our test system. We will be running this test going forward and we will add drives to our chart as we test them. We have this test up and running smoothly on our Intel platform, but so far, we can't get the test to complete on our Ryzen platform without crashing the system.


Samsung's powerful PM961 1TB SSD (Review coming soon) edges out the much smaller in capacity M8PeY 256GB. Again, we would like to see Plextor produce a proprietary NVMe driver as it would have a significantly positive impact on the overall performance of the SSD.

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