Plextor's M6V SSD was originally planned to be their first drive using TLC NAND, but that has now been put off to next year's M7V. Instead, Plextor is taking advantage of a surprise hit in the SSD controller market, Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller. We've previously tested this controller in the ADATA Premier SP610, the Transcend SSD 370, the Mushkin Reactor, and the Crucial BX100. The SM2246EN was designed to be a low-power controller for low-cost drives, and it has been very successful in that segment. The controller doesn't support TLC NAND, so all of these drives are free of the higher power consumption and lower performance that have troubled low-end TLC solutions we've seen so far.

Drive NAND Capacites
ADATA Premier SP610 Micron 128Gbit 20nm MLC 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Transcend SSD 370 Micron 128Gbit 20nm MLC 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Mushkin Reactor Micron 128Gbit 16nm MLC 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Crucial BX100 Micron 128Gbit 16nm MLC 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Plextor M6V Toshiba 128Gbit 15nm MLC 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

The SM2246EN has been paired with a variety of NAND, so these drives don't all perform identically. The Plextor M6V is the first time we've seen this controller paired with Toshiba's 15nm MLC, which is significantly denser than Micron's planar NAND and competitive with Samsung's second generation V-NAND. Toshiba has had trouble getting the 15nm MLC out the door in large quantities, and the rest of Plextor's products are still using Toshiba 19nm or A19nm MLC.

Of the major SM2246EN drives, each one differs a bit from the others in terms of features. Transcend's SSD 370 and its aluminum-clad variant (the SSD 370S) use custom firmware to offer encryption, but is missing some power saving modes. Mushkin's Reactor was initially available only in the 1TB capacity, but the 512GB and 256GB models are now available from some retailers. Crucial's BX100 uses semi-custom firmware and features the partial power loss protection now typical of their mainstream drives. The Plextor M6V, by comparison, has just the basic feature set of a SM2246EN drive, augmented only by Plextor's PlexTurbo RAM caching software for Windows (but not Windows 10).

Plextor has opted to not make a 1TB version of the M6V, which would probably require more expensive packaging to fit on the PCB layout they're using. Our 256GB sample has 8 packages on front of the PCB and 8 empty pads on the back, which means that each package has two 128Gbit dies inside.

Plextor M6V SSD Specifications
Size 128GB 256GB 512GB
Controller Silicon Motion SM2246EN
NAND Toshiba 15nm Toggle MLC
DRAM Cache 128 MB 256 MB 512 MB
Sequential Read 535 MB/s 535 MB/s 535 MB/s
Sequential Write 170 MB/s 335 MB/s 455 MB/s
4kB Random Read 81k IOPS 83k IOPS 83k IOPS
4kB Random Write 42k IOPS 80k IOPS 80k IOPS
Warranty 3 years

The M6V also has siblings in smaller form factors: the M6MV (mSATA) and M6GV (M.2 SATA), both using the same controller and flash as the M6V. They shouldn't be confused with the M6M and M6G, Plextor's higher-performance mSATA and M.2 SATA drives, which like the rest of Plextor's SSDs use Marvell controllers and 19nm Toshiba flash. The M6MV doesn't have a 512GB configuration, but the M6GV does. Both of the smaller form factors use more expensive and denser BGA packaging for the NAND flash, and neither seems to be readily available for purchase yet.

AnandTech 2015 SSD Test System
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.5GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z97 Deluxe (BIOS 2401)
Chipset Intel Z97
Chipset Drivers Intel 10.0.24+ Intel RST
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1200
OS Windows 8.1 x64
Performance Consistency
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  • eek2121 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    PCIE SSDs? Can you find me one with 500 gb storage for $169? The market isn't there yet. PCIE SSDs are in the minority and the price premium is still too high. The performance difference is minimal, especially for casual users.
  • Denithor - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    How's $173? Amazon has the Crucial MX200 500GB drive at this price point. And if you had asked yesterday, it was on sale for $140.
  • coolhardware - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I believe he was referring to any type of PCIe SSDs such as (Intel 400GB) or a M.2 drive, not a SATA drive as per your link (Crucial 500GB).
  • Luke212 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    You mean in your circumstances. Most laptops dont support M.2 PCIe. So we are stuck buying M.2 Sata or 2.5" Sata.
  • SmokingCrop - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    HDD is too slow for OS/programs and PCIe is too expensive.
    SATA SSD's is the sweet spot in between.
  • usernametaken76 - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    Some people have older systems and would like to freshen them without replacing the thing, you know? Not everyone can utilize PCIe storage (laptops for instance) and not everyone wants the drawbacks of spinning HDD storage. That's the nice thing about choice, dj_aris doesn't get to make the choice for everyone.
  • Denithor - Monday, October 12, 2015 - link

    And today only (10/12) the Crucial BX100 250GB drive is on sale at Amazon for $64. So this could make the whole question of best value for price moot, if you move quickly.

  • coolhardware - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Ordered one myself! Currently Amazon's #1 selling SSD. The 500GB drives are a nice price too.

    Just imagine, in a few years we should be able to get 2TB and 4TB+ for a fairly low price. That will be AWESOME.
  • nmm - Monday, October 12, 2015 - link

    I guess I can understand the compulsion to build a better SATA SSD if you're not already the market leader in SATA SSD's. It's much cheaper than plunging into uncharted territory. I do find it a little puzzling that there isn't more movement in the M.2/U.2 market. Seems like it would get tiresome constantly bumping up against the limits of the protocol for years on end.
  • Gigaplex - Monday, October 12, 2015 - link

    If these lower end SSD manufacturers targeted a faster protocol using tech that can't fully utilise SATA3, it's likely to be an uncompetitive product.

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