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Plextor M8Se 256GB & 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | PCIe in Storage | Posted: Sep 20, 2017 10:15 am
TweakTown Rating: 87%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: 1.2.0.0

 

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

 

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

 

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Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

 

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

 

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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, we see the 512GB M8Se delivering performance that is on par with one of our favorites the MDD BPX. The 256GB M8Se doesn't perform nearly as well, but even so, it does manage to outperform the 600p and the SX8000. The MLC powered M8Se, on the other hand, performs exceptionally well, in fact, it is the winner of this testing.

 

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. When evaluating NVMe SSDs, we are looking for a minimum score of 11,000

 

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

 

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The 512GB M8Se digests this test extremely well, delivering a score that is second only to the RD400. The 256GB model also delivers an excellent score, in-fact it is better than we are getting from Samsung's 960 EVO.

 

 

 

PCMark 8

 

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. We focus on the total score first and then storage bandwidth when evaluating PCMark 8 results.

 

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

 

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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. The intensive nature of this benchmark doesn't mix very well with the M8Se's planar TLC flash array. The results aren't very good, but they not very bad either. The M8Pe scores about 10 points higher than does the 512GB M8Se. We believe that the length of the test overwhelms the drive's NitroCache and this results in a lower score than we would like to see. The good news is that most consumer workloads don't run for an hour, not even close to that.

 

 

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Application Performance

 

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0.70

 

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.

 

Our systems are much more powerful than the calibration system (1000-point baseline) used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point relative to our test systems. We will be running this test going forward, and we will add drives to our chart as we test them.

 

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Surprisingly, the 256GB M8Se outperforms the 512GB model. The 256GB M8se is delivering system performance that is about the same as Samsung's 1TB PM961 which is one of our favorite SSDs. Our takeaway from this testing is something that we have harped on before. We would really like it if Plextor offered a proprietary NVMe driver, performance could be so much better.

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