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Plextor M6e Black Edition Review

Plextor M6e Black Edition Review

Since its introduction last year, we have been very impressed by Plextors M6 range of SSDs. Whether it be the SATA based model, or the M.2 variant (which is our go-to drive for testing that platform) the performance and stability have been top notch. That said, the PCIe card, a plain green PCB, offered by Plextor wasn’t exactly the most stylish product for those building a great looking system. Recently they resolved that with the announcement of a new revision and today we cover that in our Plextor M6e Black Edition Review.

Plextor M6e Black Edition Review – Packaging and Bundle

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The M6e arrives in some decent looking retail packaging which covers plenty of product information on the back, as well as key features on the front. Inside we find the M6e Black Edition wrapped in an anti static bag, suspended in foam and bundled with a screw and product/consumer documentation.

Plextor M6e Black Edition Review – Software

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Retail models of the M6e Black Edition will arrive with a software CD however in our case we needed to download the latest version. Plextool allows us to monitor and maintain our drive (including download of Firmware updates which are then flashed in DOS). We can also choose to enable the latest version of PlexTurbo which now uses up to 4GB of system memory as a high performance cache, speeding up access times of frequently used data and going some way to reducing wear on the drive. It should be noted that Plextools is an optional install and the drive itself does not require any extra drivers, just plug it in and it’s good to go.

Plextor M6e Black Edition Review – The Drive


As we mentioned in the introduction to this review, Plextor base their M6e on the M.2 connector which many recent motherboards support. To maximise compatibility though, also provided an add-in card which allows us to install the drive in the more common PCI-Express slot. For the Black Edition this card has gone through several changes though. First up is a black PCB. Then we have a black metal heatsink shroud which surrounds the red metal heatspreader on the drive itself. Plextor have also included a header on the PCB to tie into our case LEDs and a SATA power port, which is optional for now, but could be used in the future should higher capacity m.2 drives need it,

Looking around the product there is a warranty sticker and the other item of note are the status LEDs at the end of the card which allow us to see what the drive is doing at a glance. E.g. Yellow lights for drive activity.

Plextor use Toggle NAND Flash chips which are branded Toshiba. We also have a single DDR3 cache chip (512mb on the 256Gb drive) and the other major component of note is Marvell’s 88SS9183 controller.

As with the previous generation of drives the M6e is tested prior to leaving the factory (in stress related tests) to ensure reliability. So confident are Plextor in the robust nature of the drive that it has a 5-year warranty. Other points of note are the support for AES, Legacy and UEFI boot, TRIM support, Windows and Linux compatibility and PCIe Gen2 x2 as a maximum operating level.

Finally, in terms of official speeds, Plextor rate the M6e Black Edition for up to 770MB/s read, 625MB/s write (512GB) with 105,000IOPS read/ 100,000IOPS write. Our 256GB model is rated for the same speeds, other than writes which should peak at 580MB/s. Plextor advertise their long term speed maintenance as “TrueSpeed”, using firmware based enhancements to maintain the above performance over time.


Plextor M6e Black Edition Review – Performance

Key Test Specifications: Intel Core i7-4790K, Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5, 4x4GB Corsair DDR3-2666, Windows 8.1 64Bit.


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BlackMagic HD Video Benchmark:

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File Copy Tests:

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Application Load:

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Map/Level Load Time Pre and Post PlexTurbo mode:

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Plextor M6e Black Edition Review – Conclusion

The first thing we need to note about the M6e Black Edition is how it affects existing M6 series owners, especially those who have the original M6e. Basically, at the drive level this is the same product. Same speeds, same features (including support for PlexTurbo 2.0 and 4GB). The changes here mainly focused on the PCIe card which gains some style points, ideal for modders, and a couple of nice to have features such as the case LED connector and power socket which could be used in the future. As a side note the firmware on the Black Edition is 1.05 vs  1.04 on M6e standard.

As we saw with the original M6e, the Black Edition easily outperforms SATA based drives and so for those looking for peak performance, without the cost of some extreme PCIe models, the Black Edition offers a good balance. PlexTurbo does show benefits over time too which is a nice bonus.

Simple to install, a Windows based Firmware update would be appreciated but otherwise a solid product form Plextor. The styling is much improved and performance maintained at a level which easily exceeds SATA based drives.

Performance Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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