Introduction & Drive Details
Recently we had the pleasure of reviewing Plextor's 2TB M10P Gen4 SSD. The drive caught us a bit off guard with its unheard-of real-world performance. We'd tested quite a few SSDs powered by InnoGrit Rainier controllers, and they had all performed at a high level, but not record-breaking as the WD Black SN850 was still our performance champion by a lot. We expected more of the same from Plextor's InnoGrit IG5236 controlled M10P.
What we got instead was a new performance champion that laid waste to everything that had come before it. It smashed exactly where we want to see it smash. Gaming and PCM10 storage traces. Performance where it matters. Why was the M10P much different than the rest of the IG5236 powered SSD's we'd tested? Flash. The M10P had for the first time a Kioxia BiCS 4 flash array behind its InnoGrit Rainier controller. Previous to that, we'd only seen Micron 96L flash behind the IG5236, and just recently Micron 176L.
It turns out BiCS is the key to unleashing the IG5236. And it makes sense because our previous long-reigning performance champion WD Black SN850 1TB also has a BiCS 4 flash array. There is much newer competing flash like 176L Micron and 6th Gen V-NAND, but neither can match the real-world performance that 3-year old BiCS 4 can deliver. Micron 96L and now 176L, can deliver more sequential throughput than the much older BiCS 4 can, which is why it was always paired with the IG5236, but we could care less about sequential throughput. We care about consumer workload and gaming performance, or as we call it, user experience.
Plextor's exquisite single-sided (another first) 2TB M10P delivered record-breaking performance, and we crowned it our performance champion. BiCS 4 FTW, which got us to looking back at what we'd seen from the SN850, and that was BiCS 4 flash arrayed SSDs have always been faster at 1TB than 2TB. Could a 1TB M10P be faster than a 2TB? It should be. Of course, it is! So here we are with something even faster. Here look:
That's by far the best we've seen from any flash-based SSD. We ran that on our 24 thread AMD system as it does game level loading faster than our Intel 16 thread system due to having more threads to draw data from simultaneously. It's one of only two sub-6 second flash-based SSDs, the other being its 2TB sibling. Performance that matters.
The 1TB model is physically identical to the 2TB model. It's a preferred single-sided design that comes naked with an optional heavy-duty heat sink.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XIII HERO - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i9-11900KF - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Alphacool Eissturm Hurricane Copper 45 - Buy from Amazon
- RAM: XPG DDR4 D50 Xtreme 5000MHz 16GB (8GB x 2) - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: Zotac 2080Ti AMP Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Case: PrimoChill's Praxis Wetbench - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 1000W 80+ Gold Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Buy from Amazon
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO
Synthetic performance is almost the same at 1TB as it is at 2TB, except that we are getting better sequential write out of the 1TB model. QD1 random reads look very nice and, as expected, are better than the 2TB model.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Here we go, a new lab record, and finally, the 980 Pro has been defeated. Now, we don't read too much into synthetic benchmarks as being indicative of performance that matters, or real-world performance, except for this one. Anvil read score has proven to be a VERY good indicator of real-world performance prowess. A drive scores high here, and it always turns out to be a superior real-world performer. Again, the 1TB is showing itself to be capable of even better performance than the 2TB.
128KB transfers at QD4 have never been the IG5236 controller's cup of tea. No matter, though, as this is not performance where it matters, it's nothing more than a synthetic measurement. The 1TB does better than the 2TB, again.
Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10
We would like to see better performance here, but it's still falling well within an acceptable range. Here the 2TB model has the advantage, likely due to a larger SLC cache allocation.
4009 MB/s is excellent, and the difference between it and the top spot is really a matter of splitting hairs.
Game Level Loading
Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. Do you want a superior gaming SSD? The M10P 1TB is just what the doctor ordered. Lab record. Performance that matters.
PCM10 Storage Tests
PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.
The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark
Plextor's M10P is the only flash-based SSD to date to score 4,000 or more here, where performance matters most. The 1TB manages to eek out a victory over the 2TB model, which is quite impressive considering this test writes more than 200GB data. This is Elite; this is where only BiCS can go. Look at the S70 Blade. Same controller but 176L Micron.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
This, this is the one. The 1TB M10P becomes the first flash-based SSD to reach 700 MB/s storage bandwidth. The M10P stands head and shoulders above all others. The 1TB M10P scores more than 1,000 points higher than the WD Black SN850. Elite performance brought to you once again by BiCS flash.
As we predicted could happen when we reviewed the 2TB Plextor M10P, the 1TB model has shown itself to be even faster. BiCS has again demonstrated that it has no equal when it comes to performance that matters. You don't get the sequentials as you do with Micron, but who cares? Sequential numbers are just eye candy for advertising purposes and can be hollow to the point where we sometimes see Gen3 SSDs that beat the crap out of 7,000 MB/s Gen4 SSDs because they deliver a better user experience.
We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. We consider a user experience score of over 7K to verify an SSD as TweakTown Elite. 10K points speaks for itself, and it's declaring the 1TB M10P currently the best performing flash-based SSD. Again, look at the S70 Blade. It's badass in its own right, but nothing like the M10P. The only difference is the flash.
This thing is FAST. You can feel it. The kind of fast that is tangible even when just clicking your mouse. Plextor's M10P is TweakTown Elite, and we crown it once again our flash-based performance leader. There is an issue, though, that we cannot overlook. Availability. Where can you get one? Not in the Americas, at least not yet. That's a big deal as we see it. It looks like our Asian brothers have the advantage this round. It could prove to be the most elusive performance leader of all time, and that would be a crying shame.
- User Experience
- Single Sided
The Bottom Line
If you can buy it, do so, you will be happy you did.