Plextor M6e PCIE M.2 SSD Review

Introduction & Pictures

 Plextor PCIE/M2 SSD

 

Conclusion

Before we get into the performance figures, we do think it's worth discussing the new M2 interface in a little more depth. Clearly, it offers far more bandwidth and speed than any of the previous SATA iterations that we've seen in the past, and this is great. However, every current board you buy will have multiple high speed SATA3 ports, whilst you need a high end motherboard in order to find just one M2 port. We think it's great that Plextor offer a solution to this with the PCIE card, but realistically, if you value the aesthetics of your system, you aren't going to want a green PCIE device sat under your graphics card. This is a shame really because if they'd put a little more effort into the adaptor card, and made it with a black PCB and also made it far smaller, they could have been onto a real winner in making this a great device for everyone, whether they have a dedicated M2 port on their motherboard or not.

When it comes to performance, the speeds for larger data blocks are outstanding. This is by far the highest sequential read speed we have ever seen, and equally in ATTO when we've dealt with 128K blocks the speeds are brilliant. Smaller data blocks however are clearly where the Plextor drive falls a little short. ATTO's 16K runs show the drive marginally edging ahead of the rest of the SSDs that we've tested, but when we drop to the 4K speeds in Anvil, the M2 drive does fall short of the SATA competition.

We do have to keep in mind that this is the very first M2 drive we've seen. It's clear that certain areas need to be worked on with the smaller data blocks, but that will on require a few changes with the SSD controller. Overall, we are incredibly impressed with the performance of this drive and are excited to see what the future holds for M2 SSDs.

When it comes to price, we're seeing these retail for around £190 with the adaptor card, and for around £165 for the M2 drive on its own which is a little on the steep side as far as 256GB SSDs go. To put it into comparison, the 512GB Corsair LX drive we tested last week is only £180, and we understand this is new technology and so high prices are to be expected however. We do hope the prices will fall in the coming months however when more manufacturers have brought out similar drives. There's very little in terms of competition for Plextor at the moment, and we are hoping prices to be more competitive soon.

Practicality is another factor that this M2 drive triumphs in. Assuming you're using a motherboard with a dedicated M2 port, you can almost be done away entirely with SATA drives. If you're watercooling, one of these may allow you to remove the hard drive cages in order to mount a radiator in the front of your case, and you'd no longer have to worry about mounting an SSD somewhere else. We do hope that in the future we'll see M2 ports on ITX motherboards, and if so, these SSDs would be a perfect choice for a small, portable system.

We're awarding the Plextor M6e the OC3D Performance Award.

     Performance

Thanks to Plextor for providing the SSD for review. You can discuss your thoughts on the OC3D Forums.

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