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Plextor M6e Black Edition 256GB PCIe SSD Review - SSD Bling

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Plextor
Tagged: ssd, plextor, pcie, 256GB

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Plextor launched their M6e PCIe SSD in mid-2014. This was the first consumer retail available native PCIe SSD. While previous solutions such as the OCZ RevoDrive bridged SATA SSD controllers to PCIe through a RAID or VCA device, the M6e went with a Marvell controller that could speak directly to the host system over a PCIe 2.0 x2 link. Since M.2 was not widely available at launch time, Plextor also made the M6e available with a half-height PCIe interposer, making for a painless upgrade for those on older non M.2 motherboards (which at that time was the vast majority).

With the M6e out for only a few months time (and in multiple versions), I was surprised to see Plextor launch an additonal version of it at the 2015 CES this past January. Announced alongside the upcoming M7e, the M6e Black Edition is essentially a pimped out version of the original M6e PCIe:

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We left CES with a sample of the M6e Black, but had to divert our attention to a few other pressing issues shortly after. With all of that behind us, it's time to get back to cranking out the storage goodness, so let's get to it!

Read on for the full review!

Specifications (from this page):

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Packaging:

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Similar packaging to the original M6e, except with a Black Edition box. PCIe bracket mounting screw is included, but no half height bracket is included.


February 9, 2015 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Would be nice to see what real world gains you get from so fast drive .

February 11, 2015 | 10:45 AM - Posted by PaulJ (not verified)

Agreed. I have asked Allyn in the past to start looking at real world benchmarks on SSD's. While the synthetic benchmarks are good at creating an objective analysis on the strengths and weaknesses between SSD models and manufactures, it begs the question, "So, what? How does that benefit me?"

As a data storage engineer for workstation and HPC environments, I have argued that consumers should first look at their drive size requirements for buying an SSD (due to high cost/GB) and THEN look at specific features and performance (power protection, onboard encryption, high IOPS, etc).

Right now you could buy an inexpensive and high end SSD and they will perform very similar in real world examples: OS boot times and application loading.

I believe it would benefit readers to show that while synthetic benchmarks can show improvements or deficiencies in performance, "fast" is fast enough and that drive size, features and pricing should be the real conclusive factor.

February 9, 2015 | 05:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"Plextor also made the M6e available with a half-height PCIe interposer"

On the first page; I don't think interposer is the right word. It is just an adaptor card. Is plextor calling it an interposer? Interposer has a specific meaning which I don't think is (or should be) confused with package or pcb.

February 10, 2015 | 03:32 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

"An interposer is an electrical interface routing between one socket or connection to another."

That's exactly what it is doing - electrically connecting M.2 PCIe to a desktop PCIe socket. I believe a lot of people just want to call it an adapter, but some also call it an interposer. I started calling it that when Intel kept referring to mSATA to SATA adapters as interposers.

February 12, 2015 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thank you for clarifying. There are always a lot of semantic difficulties that I do not wish to needlessly multiply. Do you take interposer to specifically mean pass-through? That is, not bridging or translating different interfaces.

February 9, 2015 | 11:38 PM - Posted by Val

I thought I heard you say in the podcast that it has a backplate, could you add a photo of the backplate? Thanks.

Oh and nice work, Allyn

February 10, 2015 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

No back plate, but maybe I was referring to the 'black' PCB?

February 11, 2015 | 05:22 AM - Posted by Val

Heh, yeah you probably was, my bad.

I always go for the aesthetic look of PCI-e cards, so I want a gorgeous backplate! lol. Right now, ASUS ROG is the most cool looking one although the logo is upside down, bah.

Aside from topic, but Allyn, you might be able to send the message. ;) I have a gripe on PCI-e cards. I believe most people have tower case(s) and won't see the card's face anyway. Even if you have horizontal case, you have to choose which card to show (being the closest to the window). Manufacturers beginning to spice up the tops but they also need to focus more on the backplate! Just sayin.

February 12, 2015 | 06:07 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I'm right there with you, and that's why I personally use one of those 'inverted' ATX design cases (all the cards are face up).

February 10, 2015 | 10:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd sacrifice most of that speed for 2x or 4x the capacity.

February 12, 2015 | 01:18 PM - Posted by Bri (not verified)

So who exactly would buy this over doing a RAID 0 setup? Unless you are running a server requiring high I/O I'm not getting the value add for the enthusiast market...

February 12, 2015 | 06:09 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

For this particular Marvell PCIe controller, it's sort of a wash. That's why I included a RAID-0 pair of SSDs as a comparison point. We need NVMe or faster AHCI PCIe SSDs to make it worthwhile over a simple SATA RAID.

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