Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD Review

Posted by Michael Pabia on Friday, June 6, 2014 - 5:00am

Plextor M6M 246GB mSATA SSD
*click image to enlarge

Introduction

Plextor have been around in the market for quite some time which started as manufacturers of optical disk drives and networking tools. Now they are one of the renowned brands when it comes to solid state drives be it for personal use or industrial use. Today we will be looking at one of their mSATA solid state drives specifically designed for ultrabooks, the M6M mSATA SSD. They are happy to have us test one of the models, the PX-256M6M, which has 256 gigabytes of storage space. Let's check it out in how it performs with our testing.

Plextor's Take On The M6M mSATA SSDs

The Plextor M6M is a high-performance mSATA 6 Gb/s SSD specifically engineered to give ultrabook, tablet PC, and other JEDEC MO-300 form factor users the speed and low power consumption benefits of the newest generation SSD technology.

Features

High Performance

The combination of the latest Marvell 88SS9188 controller and True Speed technology creates M6M the enhanced performance and reliability. The True Speed high-performance technology delivers real world benefits and prevents SSD speed drop, automatically returning performance to like-new speeds.

 

  • Latest server-grade Marvell® 88SS9188 controller ensures fast and reliable operation for all applications.
  • Sequential mode performance of up to 520MB/s read and up to 440MB/s write, boosts the responsiveness of ultrathin laptop and tablet PCs.
  • Random read speeds of up to 94K IOPS and write speeds up to 80K IOPS at 4K file size, give maximum real-world performance benefits.
  • Advanced True Speed technology provides long-term sustained performance for all data types and prevents speed drop.

Enterprise-grade Double-data Protection

Plextor SSD has a unique True Protect protection system to protect the integrity of your data. To confirm that each piece of data is correctly stored with one hundred percent accuracy the newest 128-bit error correction code is used. For data confidentiality, the drive uses hardware in the US Government AES-validated Marvell controller to provide secure 256-bit full-drive encryption.

Extreme Reliability

Plextor SSDs are required to pass some of the toughest tests in the industry before we even start production. Parallel tests involving 465 SSDs tested for 576 hours and the use of top grade FLEXSTAR® testing equipment to simulate extreme operating environments ensure that the M6M is built and tested for the highest level of stability in any working condition.

Designed For Ultrabooks

With its ultra mini size, light weight and low power consumption, the M6M is especially suitable for ultra portable on-the-go computing device.

  • Compact Size
  • No outer case.

Designed for the limited space in ultra portable devices. Highly compact JEDEC MO-300 form factor incorporating an mSATA 6GB/s connection. Light weight (10g max.) and mini size (50.8 x 29.8 x 3.6 mm), only an eighth of the size of the standard 2.5 inch SSD drive.

Low Power Consumption

The low power design can consume less power and provide extended battery life.

 

Specifications

Performance

Model

PX-64M6M

PX-128M6M

PX-256M6M

PX-512M6M

Capacity

64GB

128GB

256GB

512GB

Buffer: DRAM Cache

128MB DDR3

256MB DDR3

512MB DDR3

768MB DDR3

Read/Write Speed (Under Windows NTFS)

Sequential Read Speed
(SATA 6Gb/s)**

Up to 520 MB/s*

Up to 520 MB/s*

Up to 520 MB/s*

Up to 520 MB/s*

Sequential Write Speed
(SATA 6Gb/s)**

Up to 160 MB/s*

Up to 340 MB/s*

Up to 440 MB/s*

Up to 440 MB/s*

Random Read Speed
(IOPS 4KB)***

Up to 73,000*

Up to 90,000*

Up to 94,000*

Up to 94,000*

Random Write Speed
(IOPS 4KB)***

Up to 42,000*

Up to 76,000*

Up to 80,000*

Up to 80,000*

Power Consumption:
MobileMark

0.25W

0.25W

0.25W

0.25W

*from manufacturer's site

Packaging

Plextor M6MPlextor M6M
*click images to enlarge

The Plextor M6M mSATA SSD comes in a clear plastic packaging. It is actually one of the larger ones we saw compared to how other brands pack their mSATA SSDs.

Plextor M6M
*click image to enlarge

Included in the packaging are two screws you can use to fasten the M6M mSATA SSD to your machine if ever you do need them.

Closer Look

Plextor M6M
*click image to enlarge

The front of the M6M mSATA SSD reveals the information about the product such as the serial numbers, model, power requirement, date manufactured and so on.

Plextor M6M
Plextor M6M
*click images to enlarge

The chip on the right side of the SSD is the Marvell 88SS9188-BJM2 controller which is the latest 'server-grade' controller. Do note that the larger SSD counterpart of the M6M, the Plextor M6S SSDs, are also using the same controller. It was hard to get a clear macro shot of this tiny chip but you could see the marking 'BJM2' somewhat clearly under the Marvell logo.

 

Plextor M6M
Plextor M6M
*click images to enlarge

 

The M6M uses Toshiba NAND Flash memory modules which has the serial number 'TH58TE68DDKBA8H'. Having a total capacity of 256 gigabytes, there are a total four 64 GB NAND flash modules in the drive, two on each face.

 

Testing and Benchmarking

Although the M6M mSATA SSD was designed for ultrabooks, mSATA SSDs can also be used in desktop computers since some motherboards on the Intel platform using a Z77 chipset on the LGA 1155 platform and the Z87 chipset on the 1150 platform have mPCIE slots to accommodate such drives. We will be using a Z87 system to test M6M drive and compare it with some SSDs we have.

System Setup

Plextor M6M
Plextor M6M
*click images to enlarge

Processor

Intel i7-4770k

Motherboard

MSI Z87 MPower

Cooler

Cooler Master Seidon 120XL

Memory

Corsair Vengeance 1600Mhz 2x8GB

Graphics Card

Palit GTX 660TI 2GB

Case

Cooler Master Storm Trooper

Power Supply

FSP Epsilon 800 watts

OS

Windows 7

Boot Drive

Corsair Force GS 240 GB (75% Full)

Test Drives

1. OCZ Vector 128 GB

2. Plextor M6M 256GB

Baseline Test: Testing Software

  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark
  • Anvil Storage Utilities
  • Crystal Disk Mark

Test Results

AS SSD

Benchmark Description: Test the sequential or random read/write performance without using the cache. AS SSD Benchmark reads/writes a 1 GByte file as well as randomly chosen 4K blocks. Additionally, it performs the tests using 1 or 64 threads and it determines the SSD's access time. Two extra benchmark tests examine the drive's behavior when (1) copying a few big files, a lot of small files and a mixture of file sizes by using cached copy functions of your OS as well as (2) reading/writing data depending on the data's compressibility.

Plextor M6MPlextor M6M

ATTO Disk Benchmark

Benchmark Description: 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. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Plextor M6MPlextor M6M
*click image to enlarge

Anvil Storage Utilities

This is a new benchmarking tool for hard disk drives and solid state drives.

OCZ Vector
Plextor M6M

Crystal Disk Mark

A HDD/SSD utility software which supports S.M.A.R.T. and a part of USB-HDD.

OCZ VectorPlextor M6M
OCZ Vector (Left), Plextor M6M (Right)

Benchmark Result Remarks

Overall, we could see that the M6M mSATA SSD drive is pretty much around the written specifications of having sequential read speeds around 480~500 MB/s and sequential write speeds almost around 440 MB/s more or less. Note that we have minimal applications running in the background and did a few optimization tricks on both SSDs. Also note that the our boot drive SSD is 75% full. Testing the M6M to one of the fastest SSDs last year should give you a good comparison of the drive. Let's move on the system benchmarks wherein we use the M6M drive as the boot drive.

System Benchmarking

System Setup

Processor

Intel i7-4770k

Motherboard

MSI Z87 MPower

Cooler

Cooler Master Seidon 120XL

Memory

Corsair Vengeance 1600Mhz 2x8GB

Graphics Card

Palit GTX 660TI 2GB

Case

Cooler Master Storm Trooper

Power Supply

FSP Epsilon 800 watts

OS

Windows 7

Boot Drives

1. Corsair Force GS 240 GB (75% Full)

2. Plextor M6M 256 GB (75% Full)

System Test: Testing Software

  • PC Mark Vantage
  • PC Mark 7

PC Mark Vantage

PCMark Vantage includes everything you need to get a PCMark score for your system.

pcmarkvantage
Result Links Below

Corsair Force GS 240GB
Plextor M6M 256GB

PC Mark 7

PCMark 7 is a complete PC benchmarking solution for Windows 7 and Windows 8. It includes 7 tests combining more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed for the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 7 offers complete Windows PC performance testing for home and business use.

pcmark7
Result Links Below

 Corsair Force GS 240GB
Plextor M6M 256GB

The graphs would emphases too much on which has higher scores but when you look at the figures and think about it, there's not really much difference between the benchmark scores of the two drives in both PC Mark Vantage and PC Mark 7. We could say that the Plextor M6M was up to par with the Corsair Force GS. 

 

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Plextor M6M 246GB mSATA SSD 

Data storage is indeed becoming smaller in size, getting larger in capacity and faster as well which the Plextor M6M displayed to us very well. Our tests reveal the specs of the drive is up to par with what's written on par and also up to par with one of fastest SSDs back in 2013. Performance is impressive as it performed well in our tests and produced consistent results in our baseline tests. As for the system performance test, it also came neck and neck with the Corsair Force GS 240GB SSD drive which is priced around the same price range with the Plextor PX-256M6M.

Now let's talk about the price. The Plextor M6M 256GB version may not be the cheapest one available when it comes to the same capacity size. There's the cheaper Crucial M500 240GB mSATA SSD and others but with a relatively inferior specs compared to the M6M. So the speed does come with a price. You can find the Plextor PX-256M6M for $169.99 in Newegg, $156.99 in Amazon. At that price, you'd be paying $0.61 per gigabyte, not bad for an impressive mSATA SSD in our book. Plextor's M6M mSATA SSDs also come with a 3-year warranty.

Likes

  • Consistent performance close to specs
  • Bang for buck at $0.61/gigabyte
  • 3 year warranty
Dislikes
  • None 

If you are indeed looking for an upgrade to your ultrabook or even an SSD boot drive to your Z77 or Z87 intel platform computer that has a mPCIE slot for mSATA SSDs, we highly recommend the Plextor M6M!

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