Plextor is a well-known manufacturer for CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disc burners, CD/DVD media, network hard disks, portable hard disks, digital video recorder, floppy disk drives, and flash memory products. They also produce Solid State Drives (SSDs) in which their M5 PRO series has become one of the most remarkable drives that gained attention for its decent performance per price ratio. In case you didn’t realize, we’ve reviewed the Plextor M5 PRO Extreme 128GB and 256GB drives around more than a year ago.
Today we will be taking a look at the new flagship solid-state drive from Plextor, namely the M6 Pro 128 GB. The Plextor M6 PRO SSD features a new generation of A19 nm Toshiba toggle NAND flash and a multi-core Marvell controller with Plextor’s in-house developed firmware. In addition, Plextor has also given the M6 PRO with their self-developed RAM-caching PlexTurbo software.
Retailing at RM 359, the Plextor M6 PRO 128 GB SSD would sit nicely within the budget of users who want to upgrade from their old conventional hard disk drives or those who are looking to build a new gaming PC that doesn’t lack when loading their favorite game titles.
Product Link: http://www.goplextor.com/asia/index.php/sata3-ssd/25qsata-ssd/m6-pro
Suggested Retail Price: RM 359
The Plextor M6 PRO series comes in four capacities which include 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. The 128GB drive that we are reviewing has the lowest DRAM cache which is 256MB DDR3 only. It is specified to run at maximum sequential read and write speeds of 545 MB/s and 330 MB/s, respectively. The drive can achieve a maximum random read speed of up to 100,000 IOPS in 4k test and 80,000 IOPS of random write speed. In terms of power consumption, the drive consumes around 0.25 Watt based on MobileMark benchmark. While the SSD is sitting in idle mode, it only consumes 0.2 mW only which is outstandingly low.
The Plextor M6 PRO 128GB SSD ships in an attractive rose gold coloured box with the Plextor logo on the middle and capacity of drive printed on the lower left of the box.
The back of the retail packaging depicts the specifications of the drive, box contents, operating system support, file format support, and warranty information. Plextor also explains key features of the drive which include PlexTurbo and TrueSpeed technologies.
Removing the outer packaging reveals the inner box, which comes in a luxury black colour. Inside the black box you can now see the Plextor M6 Pro 128GB drive which is placed nicely in a black coloured foam to prevent any damage during transportation.
Now let’s take a look at the accessories provided in the box. You get a software disc containing SSD utilities, a quick installation guide, a warranty guide, a 2.5-to-3.5 inch bracket and its mounting screws, a VIP card and a red coloured straight-head SATA cable.
Plextor has decided to ditch silver colour scheme found on their old M5 PRO series and go for rose gold for their M6 PRO series. Furthermore, the Plextor M6 PRO 128GB SSD’s case is made out of high quality brushed aluminum. Similar to its predecessor, the M6 PRO SSD comes in a plain top case with just the Plextor logo screen-printed on the upper right of the SSD. The SSD measures in 100 x 69.85 x 6.8 mm which complies with 2.5” form factor standard and weighs 70 grams.
Turning over to the other side of the SSD, you can see a label showing information of the drive which include the serial number, model number (PX-128M6Pro), bar code, manufacturing date, World Wide Name (WWN), firmware version, voltage, and storage capacity of the drive.
On one side of the SSD we have SATA 3.0 connectors which is consisted of 15-pin SATA connector for DC 5V input for power delivery and 7-pin SATA connector for data transfer. This means that the SSD supports up to 6Gb/s of data transfer.
Of course, dismantling the case will void your warranty. But don’t worry as OCDrift will do it for you right here. This can be done by removing the four silver screws located on two sides of the SSD, followed by another four black screws attaching the PCB onto the case. Here you can see there’s a thermal pad to help cooling the Marvell chip, meaning it will use the chassis as a cooling heatsink. You can also see a layer of foam pad covering the case to protect the PCB from contact with the Aluminium case.
Let’s take a look closely at the PCB of the SSD. The Plextor M6 PRO 128GB SSD features one 256MB DDR3 memory chip based around SK Hynix labeled H5TC2G63FFR as a cache, a Marvell 88S9187 controller and eight new generation A19 nm toggle NAND flash from Toshiba. The SSD is rated to deliver a transfer speed of 545 MB/s read, 330 MB/s write and random read of up to 100,000 IOPs at 4K and 82,000 random write.
The other side of the PCB doesn’t have any chip soldered on it. Here you can only see several dots and labels printed in white colour.
The M6 PRO has a new ultra-low-power and fast-resume DEVSLP mode that gives longer battery life to notebooks and reduces wasted power in desktop systems while retaining responsiveness. The M6 PRO features the latest version of Plextor’s acclaimed long-term performance-sustaining True Speed technology. Also included is Plextor’s True Protect system, with multilayer data integrity and security provided by 256-bit AES full-drive encryption.
It’s Plextor’s philosophy that all products featuring new technology and outstanding speed must have equally outstanding reliability. True to form, the M6 PRO is the first SSD to survive Plextor’s new ultra-strict, enterprise-grade, zero error testing. Taking place at the company’s own state-of-the-art testing facility, 400 units were subjected to 1008 hours (up from 500 hours) of extreme tests without error or failure. This 100% individual unit testing validated the M6 PRO’s unparalleled reliability. Typically, Plextor SSDs also have a MTBF (mean time between failures) of 2.4 million hours, which is the highest reliability ranking in the industry, matched by a full 5-year Plextor warranty.
Software & Utilities
The Plextool software provides several utilities for Plextor SSDs. These include:
PlexTurbo – an intelligent utility that uses some of the system RAM as an ultra-smart RAM cache, bypassing limitations of the 6 Gb/s SATA III channel and delivering additional speed for real-world applications. In addition to outperforming competing technology, PlexTurbo minimizes RAM usage, uses active data comparisons to prevent unnecessary writes, and prevents RAM cache data loss if power is interrupted.
NTI Echo – a patent pending smart cloning software that allows users to easily make an exact copy of their computer’s HDD to another HDD or SSD.
NTI Backup Now EZ – the easiest to use complete system backup solution allowing rapid PC backup and restore. Backup Now EZ offers the following new main features:
- Interval Image Backup
Makes an initial full image backup of you system, then also includes Interval Data Protection (IDP) for daily or weekly changes to keep the image always up to date.
- Multiple Restore Points
A flexible multiple restore points which enables users to flexibly restore the system at any time.
- Quick Search Restore
Helps find the needed files from the backup set without needing to manually drill down through folder tree.
- Backup Job Status Console
Gives the user an overall view/status of their backup jobs.
- Destination Capacity Alert
A warning message that appears when your destination drive is becoming full.
- Backup Priority Setting
Adjusts the CPU priority to speed up either the backup or the other applications.
Test Setup & Testing Methodology
Before we begin talking about the performance numbers, let us brief a while about the test system being used. The processor that we used is in the form of eight-core Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” CPU which was overclocked to a core frequency of 4.5GHz and 4.0GHz cache frequency with a voltage of 1.377v (1.375v BIOS set).
Meanwhile, we overclocked our G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit to run at a memory frequency of 3000MHz 15-15-15-35-1T with a voltage of 1.35V. For BIOS settings, please refer to “The UEFI BIOS” chapter that we’ve discussed just now.
To keep temperature low we used custom watercooling kit to take handle the heat generated during overclocking. As for graphics power, we used the ASUS ROG Matrix R9-290X Platinum graphics card running at factory clocks and with stock cooler. As usual, we used Corsair AX1200 power supply unit (PSU) to provide sufficient power to the system. The hardware are installed on our beloved DimasTech EasyDual V2.5 test bench. For testing, the drives are connected as secondary storage.
Thank you ASUS Malaysia for supplying us with the motherboard! Thank you G.Skill for the awesome Ripjaws4 DDR4 memory kit! We also would like to take this opportunity to thank Ideal Tech PC Sdn. Bhd. for providing us with the blazing-fast Scythe GrandFlex fan!
For testing, all storage drives are tested on a SATA 3 running off 6 Gbps on the Intel X99 chipset. To minimize fluctuation of performance during load and none load events, all power saving features such as C-States and Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) are disabled in the UEFI BIOS.
Now let’s get on to the testing!
CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark utility that measures performance for sequential and random reads/writes of various sizes for any storage device. It is useful for comparing the speed of both portable and local storage through sampling of highly compressible data (0 Fill/1 Fill), or random data which is mostly in-compressible devices. In our testing, the Plextor M6 PRO 128GB scored 547.10 MB/s in sequential read and 311.70 MB/s sequential write, making the SSD the top performer among the comparison drives. 4K transfer is more relevant for daily usage because most users would find themselves process 4KB data. The M6 PRO 128GB read 312.6 MB/s and writes 293.3 MB/s of 4K QD32 data.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as connections to storage. In our 8MB test, the Plextor M6 PRO 128GB tops the chart again with an impressive scores of 561.84 MB/s in read and 307.84 MB/s in write. In 4K tests, the M6 PRO recorded 127.91 MB/s and 191.08 MB/s of read and write speeds, respectively.
AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark is the only benchmark which test the SSD using in-compressible data. It determine the SSD performance by conducting several specific tests. It test the sequential or random read/write performance without using the cache, reads/writes a 1 GByte file as well as randomly chosen 4K blocks. In this AS SSD Benchmark, our M6 SSD outperformed any other drive with sequential scores of 526.70 MB/s and 295.92 MB/s in read and write tests, respectively. In 4K QD64 tests, the M6 PRO notched 273.26 MB/s and 322.31 MB/s of read and write speeds, respectively.
HD Tune Pro
HD Tune Pro is a hard disk / SSD utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive’s performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more. In this test, our M6 sample scored 436.70MB/s in sequential read and 191.70 MB/s in write test. This sequential read is almost similar to that of the Crucial M4 128GB drive.
Anvil’s Storage Utilities
Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark for SSD and HDD created by Anvil himself. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of test which includes endurance testing, threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests. Here, nothing surprises us as the Plextor once again tops the chart with a sequential read of 529.47 MB/s and write of 292.99 MB/s. In 4K QD16 tests, the M6 PRO scored 240.98 MB/s and 275.28 MB/s of read and write speeds, respectively.
PlexTurbo an intelligent utility that uses some of the system RAM as an ultra-smart RAM cache, bypassing limitations of the 6 Gb/s SATA III channel and delivering additional speed for real-world applications. In addition to outperforming competing technology, PlexTurbo minimizes RAM usage, uses active data comparisons to prevent unnecessary writes, and prevents RAM cache data loss if power is interrupted. We run CrystalDiskMark benchmark to investigate how much is the performance gain with the PlextTurbo software. The end result is very impressive. The Plextor M6 PRO 128GB SSD yielded 3,678 MB/s and 2,920 MB/s in the sequential read and write tests respectively, which is around 572% and 837% improvements. In 4K QD32 tests, the M6 PRO scored 1008 MB/s and 949.3 MB/s of read and write transfers, respectively. While you might think that PlexTurbo’s performance is impressive but in reality it actually doesn’t represent realistic scenarios in our routine works.
Thoughts & Verdict
The Plextor M6 PRO 128GB is indeed an exceptional solid state drive for your storage needs. Starting with aesthetic this drive looks very attractive which comes in a rose gold chassis. The build quality is good made out of brushed aluminum. Plextor has also given it their self-developed firmware to ensure its constant stability and reliability. Furthermore it also comes with interesting accessories such as Plextor’s exclusive RAM-caching software named PlexTurbo, SATA cable and 2.5-to-3.5” bracket.
In terms of performance, the Plextor M6 PRO 128GB has clearly dominated our benchmark charts, beating the Crucial M4 128GB SSD and Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB HDD. The Marvell 88SS9187 controller works excellently when it is able to deal with compressible and incompressible data without breaking a sweat. Sequential performance is superb, our own benchmark results showed that it is able to achieve close to Plextor’s specifications of 545 MB/s read and 330 MB/s write.
With PlexTurbo RAM-caching software, the Plextor M6 PRO 128GB SSD scored 3,678 MB/s and 2,920 MB/s in CrystalDiskMark’s sequential read and write tests respectively, which is around 572% and 837% performance gain. Somehow take note that RAM-caching feature doesn’t actually represent realistic scenarios in our routine works. It brings no performance advantage from game loading to Photoshop activities.
Retailing at RM 359, the Plextor M6 PRO 128GB is definitely a great solid state drive for your gaming build. Comes with excellent build quality, attractive appearance, and decent storage performance, we believe that this price tag is justified. Furthermore, it is backed by manufacturer’s 5-year warranty.
Performance/Price Value: 5/5
+ Good performance/ price ratio
+ Support for the DEVSLP energy saving mode
+ Attractive rose gold colour scheme
+ Decent build quality
+ Good software package
+ Great accessories package
+ Five-year warranty
- PlexTurbo caching software brings no performance benefit in real life
- Colour scheme might not match your PC theme
Plextor M6 PRO 128GB received Recommended Award from OCDrift.com
Disclaimer: OCDrift.com gives out our own award based on the Hardware Performance, OverClocking Ability, Innovation, and Value as determined by the reviewer
Plextor has recently released PlexTurbo 2.0 which is able to support full range of M6 Pro & M6E solid state drives. Today we’ve taken this latest version of PlexTurbo into our test lab to investigate what’s so special about this version and how far can it make to boost the storage performance of our M6 PRO 128GB drive.
We started the benchmark by performing the CrystalDiskMark benchmark test. As you can see from the comparative picture above, PlexTurbo 2.0 managed to improve the sequential transfer to a whopping 7,081 MB/s in read from 3,678 MB/s with PlexTurbo 1.0. Besides that, we obtained 6,678 MB/s of sequential write speed from 2,920 MB/s with PlexTurbo 1.0. In 4K QD32 tests, we obtained very similar results between the PlexTurbo 2.0 and 1.0.
PC Mark 8 is known to be a benchmark software that can represent performance of hardware in real world scenarios. We’ve fired up the Storage Benchmark of this software to see what improvement that can be produced by the PlexTurbo 2.0 to answer the shortcomings of the old version. With the PlexTurbo 2.0, we were able to get a storage bandwidth of 346.02 MB/s, which a 75.24 MB/s boost over PlexTurbo 1.0. Therefore, we can conclude that the PlexTurbo 2.0 will really improve the storage performance of Plextor’s SSD in real life. Good job Plextor!
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