It's been some time since Plextor launched a new line of NVMe SSDs. The last Plextor NVMe SSD we looked at was their M9Pe series. The M9Pe series proved to be one of the top performing SSDs at the time. Plextor kept refining their firmware and by the time they were done the M9Pe delivered a user experience that rivaled anything available. Since then, we've seen nothing new on the NVMe front from Plextor, until today.
Plextor's newest is more of a refresh than a completely new SSD. Even the name M9P+ suggest the drive is a refresh of the M9Pe series. The M9P+ comes armed with the newest 96L BiCS4 TLC flash and a slightly different controller than before. Last go around, the M9P series came with a Marvell 88SS1093 8- channel controller, this time we find a Marvell 88SS1092 8-channel controller on board. We couldn't find any difference between the two controllers on Marvell's spec sheet other than the 88SS1092 being targeted specifically for enterprise applications.
Like its older sibling, the M9P+ isn't going to wow anyone with eye-popping sequential speeds, insane random performance at queue depths that no one will ever reach or record-breaking synthetic scores. However, what this drive WILL do is deliver a user experience that is currently unmatched by any flash-based SSD that we know of. Only Optane can deliver a better user experience, but Optane with high capacity is unaffordable for most enthusiasts.
As we've said a thousand times before, it's all about user experience - which we define as low latency under typical use case scenarios. With user experience as our definition of performance in mind, let's get into the review so we can show you exactly why we consider Plextor's M9P+ the best performing flash-based SSD at this time.
The packaging is familiar as is the AIC (Add-In-Card). If we were to remove the large solid aluminum heat sink, we would find an M.2 x 2280 SSD mounted to the AIC PCB. You could remove the M.2 and use it like a normal M.2 SSD if you wanted, but you will void the warranty and not get to enjoy the super-cool RBG effects built onto the AIC PCB.
The good news is that Plextor gives you options if you prefer a M.2 x2280 form factor instead of the AIC form factor. The M9P+ is also going to be available as a bare M.2 or M.2 with integrated heat sink, both options will be a bit cheaper than the AIC version we have on the bench today.