PlexTurbo 2.0, Conclusion, and Final Thoughts
With the release of the M6e Black Edition, Plextor also announced an update to their Plextools suite.
This new update includes an improved version of PlexTurbo, which is Plextor's DRAM caching solution. The update increases maximum DRAM usage to 3.8GB and introduces an 'Write Through Plus' caching style that, sparing an overly complicated description, keep caching performance high while also minimizing the chance/amount of data loss should power be interrupted during a large write. PlexTurbo 2.0 can be enabled on the M6 PRO (SATA) and all three variants of the M6e (M.2, PCIe, PCIe Black). For those on PlexTurbo 1.0, the recommended update process is to disable PlexTurbo prior to updating to Plextools 1.1.6 and enabling PlexTurbo 2.0.
SSD DRAM accelerators like PlexTurbo and Samsung's Rapid don't show much improvement on the full drive / large file workloads we typically run, however they *do* accelerate things when small file workloads are concentrated within a capacity that can fit within the DRAM cache. One good example to demonstrate this effect is with ATTO. Here's the M6e by itself:
…and now with PlexTurbo 2.0 enabled:
That funky pattern is not an inconsistency of ATTO but is actually a side effect of ATTO never being coded to handle such high throughput figures. Note that the scale 'pegged' at a 32 bit integer value (2^32). With PlexTurbo 2.0, the speeds are actually ramping up and rolling over the maximum value, starting back at zero. With large enough transfer sizes (at the very bottom), it actually rolls over this value twice – easily confirmed with Task Manager:
For comparison, Samsung's Rapid tops out at ~6GB/sec with a SATA SSD connected. That actually brings up another good point – PlexTurbo is currently the only such solution that can accelerate PCIe as well as SATA SSDs.
- Good sequential performance
- IOPS performance at lower queue depths comparable to high end SATA units
- Cost/GB is competitive for a PCIe SSD
- No driver required – uses the standard Windows Inbox SCSIPort driver
- PlexTurbo 2.0 available for previous M6e models
- PCIe 2.0 x2 link not fully utilized by Marvell controller
- Black Edition version priced at a high premium over the base M.2 version
- Warranty VOID sticker prevents penalty-free conversion between PCIe and M.2 form factor
Pricing and Availability:
Plextor M6e Black Edition – available for pre-order exclusively at Newegg (Feb 12, 2015):
Plextor M6e PCIe:
Plextor M6e M.2:
Compared to the RevoDrive 350, currently at:
Note that we are using pre-order prices for the Black Edition, and current market prices for all other items listed. The M6e PCIe was priced higher at launch as well, but did come down in price in the months after launch. The intro price of the Black appears too high to justify what is really just an improvement in aesthetics, so we suspect those prices should come down fairly soon after launch. As a more important note, there is an $80 spread between the Black Edition and the bare M.2 unit, and that difference in price may be enough to sway people towards upgrading to an M.2 capable motherboard with that cost savings.
The Plextor M6e Black Edition will ship with a 5-year warranty, while competing PCIe units (G.Skill Phoenix Blade / OCZ RevoDrive) carry a 3 year warranty.
Plextor has certainly pushed the fit, finish, and looks of their M6e PCIe SSD with the new Black Edition. The new color scheme does well to match newer black and red motherboards and GPUs. While it is awesome to look at, Plextor's changes were mostly cosmetic. The heatsink is functional but is not absolutely necessary for this relatively low power SSD. Since the power draw is on the low side, PCIe power is more than sufficient, rendering the SATA power connector a little more than an interesting talking point. The activity pin header is the most useful option, allowing for a case HDD LED to directly monitor the M6e Black's activity. One unwelcome addition was the warranty sticker, which has no place on an item that contains a user removable / replaceable part. The internal M.2 SSD is the exact same part as what can be purchased individually (and that part maintains its 5-year warranty when installed by the purchaser). Purchasers who intend to upgrade to an M.2 capable motherboard could purchase the bare M.2 M6e and a PCIe adapter for cheaper than the Black Edition. Sure it would not look as great, but at least they would not void their warranty during the upgrade process. All of that said, the M6e Black Edition is an awesome looking SSD that would look great in any color matched / modded system.
(Yes, it's expensive, but it does look great and performs well)