For bargain lovers and value hunters, 2014 started with a bang as far as SSDs are concerned. Since the start of the year, we have reviewed no fewer than five new mainstream SSDs - the ADATA Premier Pro SP920SS, Crucial M500, Crucial M550, OCZ Vertex 460 and the Samsung SSD 840 EVO.
And earlier this year at CeBIT 2014, Plextor debuted its new M6 series of SSDs, which includes the Plextor M6S (the drive we are looking at today), the mSATA M6M and the PCIe-based M6e.
The Plextor M6S is the successor to the older M5S and is targeted at the mainstream market. Inside, users will find a Marvell 88SS9188 controller. This new controller is actually a pared down version of the 88SS9187 controller that is found in drives like the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme and SanDisk Xtreme II. As a result, it gets only four memory channels as opposed to eight. This is actually ideal for mainstream SSDs as this not only reduces power consumption, but it also means that the controller is more well suited for using more cost effective high-density NAND packages since it only has four channels anyway. We talked about NAND parallelism in our review of the ADATA Premier Pro SP920SS and Crucial M550, well worth a read if you have trouble understanding why a controller with lesser memory channels is better suited for higher density NAND packages. Additionally, the new 88SS9188 controller is better optimized for DevSleep, which helps bring down power consumption especially when the system is in idle.
Moving on, the Plextor M6S also uses Toshiba’s new 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND - a tried-and-test combination considering how fast the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme is - and supports the latest SATA 6Gbps interface. Sadly, the Plextor M6S does not come with any accessories or cloning utility.
Of course, Plextor is favored by enthusiasts mostly for its stringent quality checks and the pre-production units of M6S drives are all put through a grueling 576 hours test before they can be approved for retail. Part of these tests include putting the drives through a 48 hour 4k read and write cycle to ensure there are no BSODs, black screens or freezes. Plextor also puts the drives through 24 hours of sequential reads and writes and then tests their ability to recover from hibernation for up to 4000 times. The drives are also put on a cold and warm boot cycle for 250 times.