AN SSD FOR THE MASSES
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.