Plextor's M9Pe represents the first retail SSD we've tested with a Toshiba BiCS 3 64-layer TLC flash array. Having already tested Toshiba's OEM XG5, we know that BiCS 3 offers plenty of performance even though it is a TLC product. BiCS brings with it the promise of more affordable and better performing flash-based SSDs in 2018. Third generation BiCS, or BiCS 3 64-layer 3D TLC, was first demonstrated at this year's Dell/EMC World via the XG5. Toshiba feels BiCS flash is superior to others for the following compelling reasons:
Of the features listed above, the feature that interests us most is the faster 1-shot programming called "Full Sequence." With Full Sequence programming, three pages can be programmed at the same time resulting in fewer steps. Full Sequence programming delivers better performance and at the same time reduces power consumption. More performance with less power consumption isn't something you see every day. In a mobile environment, power consumption becomes a primary concern which makes BiCS 3 particularly attractive for the ever-expanding world of mobile computing because it is power efficient.
Plextor has again partnered with Marvell for their newest NVMe SSD. The M9Pe pairs Marvell's 88SS1093 Gen3 x4 NVMe 8-channel "Eldora" controller with Toshiba BiCS 3 64-layer TLC flash and Plextor's own in-house firmware. The 88SS1093 is the very same NVMe controller that Plextor has used for all of their NVMe SSDs to this point.
There are two main points about the Marvell 88SS1093 controller that we feel make it stand out from the competition. Number one is the massive 4K QD1 random read performance that the Eldora controller dishes out. As we've stated countless times, random read performance at low queues is by far the most important factor for system performance in a consumer environment. Secondly, the 88SS1093 employs LDPC (Low-Density Parity Check) error correcting technology. LDPC drastically reduces write-amplification in comparison to conventional ECC code, thereby greatly extending the life-span of NAND-flash arrays. LDPC works so well that TLC flash can have MLC-like endurance.
Marvell controllers are supplied without firmware, so buyers can customize performance and features as they see fit. This means you won't be seeing Marvell controlled SSD's coming from smaller companies that do not have in-house firmware engineers. Plextor's custom firmware incorporates SLC buffer technology called PlexNitro. PlexNitro accelerates performance, increases endurance and does so without impacting the drive's capacity.
A BiCS 3 flash array and an Eldora controller powering it is unquestionably a very enticing combination. But, there is more. If you choose the AIC (Add-In-Card) version of the Plextor M9Pe, the M9PeY, you also get some serious bling in the form of RGB lighting.
RGB In Action
Not only is the M9PeY about the most attractive AIC SSD we've ever seen, but it is also the first PCIe SSD with true RGB that we know of. True RGB that reacts with disk activity.
Plextor's newest NVMe SSD has the looks and packs a punch as well. Let's get into the review, and we will show you exactly how potent the M9Pe can be.
Plextor's M9Pe Series is available in three capacities and three different versions - the M9PeY (AIC with heat sink), the M9PeG (M.2 with heat sink) and the M9PeGN (M.2 only). Available capacities: 256GB, 512GB and 1024GB.
- MTBF: 1.5 Million Hours
- Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
- PlexNitro SLC caching
- Garbage Collection
Availability: Early 2018
Note: There is no performance difference between the M9PeY and the more affordable M9PeGN models.
Features include Plextor's exclusive TrueSpeed and TrueProtect technologies. TrueSpeed technology keeps long-term SSD performance at like-new speeds after periods of use and when the SSD is nearly full. TrueProtect technology is a multi-layered error checking mechanism automatically executed by the firmware. TrueProtect keeps data access error-free. PlexNitro accelerates data transfers using SLC caching technology that does not impact capacity. Additionally, data accuracy is ensured by Marvell's latest third generation LDPC bit correction which also provides extended flash endurance.
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