Plextor this week introduced its M6S Plus SSDs that use Toshiba’s latest MLC NAND flash memory as well as a proven controller from Marvell. The new SSDs offer the same level of performance and the same feature set as their predecessors, the M6S drives introduced in 2014. The drives offer read and write speeds expected from SATA SSDs as well as Plextor’s technologies designed to guarantee high reliability and high performance after long periods of usage.

The new Plextor M6S Plus SSDs are based on the Marvell 88SS9188 controller as well as Toshiba’s newest 15 nm MLC NAND. Earlier Plextor offered M6S solid-state drives based on the same controller chip, but featured Toshiba’s older 19 nm MLC NAND. Apparently, Plextor will have to switch to a new type of NAND as manufacturers tend to decrease production of memory using outdated process technologies. The new drives are offered in 2.5-inch/7 mm form-factor and use the SATA-6 Gb/s interface.

The Plextor M6S Plus SSDs feature 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB capacities. They are rated to offer maximum sequential read/write speed of up to 520/440MB/s. Maximum random 4K read/write speed declared by Plextor is 94K/80K IOPS (input/output operations per second). It is noteworthy that to guarantee high performance, the new SSDs from Plextor are equipped with up to 768 MB of DDR3 DRAM-based cache.

Specifications of Plextor M6S Plus SSDs
  PX-128M6S+ PX-256M6S+ PX-512M6S+
Capacity 128 GB 256 GB 512 GB
Controller Marvell 88SS9188
NAND Toshiba, MLC 15nm
Cache 256 MB DDR3 512 MB DDR3 768 MB DDR3
Sequential Read Speed up to 520 MB/s up to 520 MB/s up to 520 MB/s
Sequential Write Speed up to 300 MB/s up to 420 MB/s up to 440 MB/s
4K Random Read up to 88K IOPS up to 90K IOPS up to 94K IOPS
4K Random Write up to 75K IOPS up to 80K IOPS up to 80K IOPS
Form-Factor 2.5-inch/7mm
Interface SATA-6 Gbps

Notably, the performance specifications for the new M6S Plus lineup is identical to that of the previous M6S series. As Plextor didn't switch controllers and didn't switch NAND vendors, this means that they most likely are just using 15nm NAND as a drop-in replacement for their existing designs, and there won’t be any generational performance changes such as using fewer, higher capacity NAND dies. This has been an issue in the past when vendors have switched to newer generation NAND and labeled the resulting product under an old brand, so kudos to Plextor for making the 15nm drives their own line anyhow.

However while the switch to 15nm NAND doesn't impact performance, it's unclear whether the endurance of the newer M6S Plus series has been impacted, as the company hasn't published any endurance figures for the new drives. Typically, MLC NAND produced using thinner fabrication process has lower P/E cycle rating compared to flash memory produced using thicker manufacturing technology. The 19nm M6S series was rated for 72TB, so it will be interesting to see where the M6S Plus ends up.

Moving on, contemporary Plextor’s SSDs also ship with the company’s PlexTurbo RAM caching technology, which is aimed to improve performance beyond limitations of SATA-6Gb/s interface. The caching works like RAM disk, hence, uses system memory. The M6S Plus also supports TrueSpeed (supposed to guarantee maximum performance over long usage periods) and TrueProtect (a multi-layer error correction capability) firmware-based technologies developed by the company.

Finally, exact MSRPs of the Plextor M6S Plus drives are unknown. However, Amazon plans to start selling the 128 GB version for $62, the 256 GB model for $91 and the 512 GB flavour for $166 shortly.

The Plextor M6S Plus SSDs appear to be pretty affordable, in fact, even more affordable than their predecessors. Apparently, the recent price drops of NAND flash helped Plextor to build inexpensive SSDs based on 15 nm MLC NAND flash from Toshiba, which is not a bad choice, considering the fact that the company managed to maintain performance numbers of the M6S. By contrast, many of Plextor’s rivals are using TLC NAND to make cheap SSDs.

Source: Plextor

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  • jjj - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Sandisk ( they have the NAND JV with Toshiba) said that 15nm yields are the best they ever had on any process. We also know that die size wise in 2D they lead - in 3D costs are much higher and hard to figure out who leads.
  • Samus - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    OCZ's newer drives are fine. Barefoot 3 is a little old school and the Trion drives are kind of a joke performance-wise, but all of them have been very reliable.

    I am a personal fan of the OCZ ARC100 drives, they are incredibly cheap, very fast and very reliable. Just don't put them in a laptop because the controller doesn't support DevSleep.
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    I was implying the Toshiba's recent accounting scandal.
  • HollyDOL - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    I am curious whether we'll see more/bigger DDR3 based caches across various devices. I would expect when the demand for DDR3 as a motherboard RAM starts to rapidly decline for sake of DDR4, there could be a surplus of chips for some time.
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Those chips will be eaten by stuff like ssds (they use dram too), phones, tablets...
  • jjj - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    xpoint cache would be more interesting.
    a bit of DDR would be good since it is faster but a few GB of xpoint could add a boost and it being non volatile helps too.
  • jabber - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    When do we get SATA IV?
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Not anytime soon, if ever, because PCIe and NVMe are the future.
  • patrickjp93 - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Eh, at 12Gbps, that's 1.5 GB/s, so that would be plenty for most consumer uses for a good, long while.
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    It wouldn't be 1.5GB/s in real life, unless the spec was significantly changed. SATA III is 6Gbps (750MB/s), but after 8b/10b encoding and other overheads the maximum real world performance is ~550MB/s. I.e. SATA IV, at 12Gbps raw transfer rate, would be capable of about 1GB/s, which is one third of what PCIe 3.0 x4 is capable of delivering in real world.

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