AN SSD FOR THE MASSES

Plex­tor M6S

HWM (Singapore) - - Test - by Ken­nyYeo

2014 is shap­ing up to be a bumper year for main­stream SSDs as we have seen a flurry of new re­leases from brands like ADATA, Cru­cial and Sam­sung. Not to be left out, Plex­tor also an­nounced its new M6 se­ries of drives ear­lier this year at CeBIT 2014, which con­sists of three mod­els, the mSATA M6M, the PCIe-based M6e and the SATA M6S.

The Plex­tor M6S is the suc­ces­sor to the M5S and is pow­ered by the Marvell 88SS9188 con­troller, which is ac­tu­ally a pared down ver­sion of the 88SS9187 con­troller that is used in high-end drives like the Plex­tor M5 Pro Xtreme and SanDisk Xtreme II. Cru­cially, the 88SS9188 con­troller has only four mem­ory chan­nels, half that of the 88SS9187. While this will have an neg­a­tive im­pact on per­for­mance, it ac­tu­ally makes sense for main­stream drives as it re­duces power con­sump­tion and also makes them more com­pat­i­ble for high-den­sity NAND den­sity pack­ages. Ad­di­tion­ally, this new con­troller is also bet­ter op­ti­mized for DevSleep, which helps bring down power con­sump­tion when the sys­tem is in idle.

In terms of per­for­mance, the new M6S hand­ily out­per­formed the M5S and of­fers much im­proved write per­for­mance. Per­for­mance on high queue depth work­loads was also sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter. The M6S was also a com­fort­able match for pop­u­lar main­stream SSDs like the Cru­cial M550 and Sam­sung SSD 840 EVO. In fact, it recorded a 5,447 score on PCMark 7, which is only 25 points less than the high-end Plex­tor M5 Pro Xtreme.

Strong per­for­mance aside, Plex­tor drives are fa­vored by en­thu­si­asts be­cause of the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer’s com­mit­ment to re­li­a­bil­ity. M6S units are said to be put through 576 hours of gru­el­ing tests be­fore they were ap­proved for re­tail. Part of these tests in­cluded putting the drives through 48 hours of 4k read and write cy­cles to en­sure there would be no BSODs, black screens or freezes. The drives were also put through 24 hours of se­quen­tial reads and writes and then tested for their abil­ity to re­cover from hi­ber­na­tion for up to 4,000 times.

As if its per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity tests are not enough, the Plex­tor M6S has a fi­nal trick up its sleeves and that is its price. At $229, it is one of the most af­ford­able main­stream SSDS in the mar­ket right now, and is cheaper than its clos­est ri­vals - the Cru­cial M550 and Sam­sung SSD 840 EVO in­cluded. In this highly price sen­si­tive seg­ment of the mar­ket, ev­ery dol­lar counts and Plex­tor is clearly aware of this.

No SATA Ex­press here, the M6S uses the stan­dard SATA 6Gbps in­ter­face.

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