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Plextor M9Pe M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Cosmic Speeds, Itty-Bitty Size

By Joseph Bradford on January 30, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Plextor M9Pe M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Cosmic Speeds, Itty-Bitty Size

As games and media files continue to grow in size, gamers and creators are finding themselves with the desire to access that data more quickly. SSDs are nothing new, nor are m.2 variants of the drives. However, Plextor have released their newest m.2 in their line-up, one that boasts supremely fast read/write speeds and is geared towards the discerning gamer looking for the edge in their experiences.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $221

Performance

  • Seq Read Speed: Up to 3200MB/s
  • Seq Write Speed: Up to 2000MB/s
  • Random Read Speed: Up to 340,000 IOPS
  • Random Write Speed: Up to 280,000 IOPS

Environment and Reliability

  • Power: DC 3.3v 2.5A (Max.)
  • Temperature: 0?~70? / 32? ~ 158? (Operating)
  • MTBF: >1,500,000 Hours
  • Endurance (TBW): 320
  • Warranty: 5 Years
  • Dimension (L/W/H): 80.00 x 22.80 x 4.70 mm / 3.15 x 0.90 x 0.19 inch

First things first: the Plextor boasts staggering read/write speeds, so we looked to our synthetic benchmark tests in order to match up what the company themselves report. The Plextor website does caution that the actual numbers will vary depending on the system and they also list their test motherboard and methodology for a point of reference.

Our Test System:

  • CPU: Intel i7-6700K @ 4.0 GHz
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA - Z170 - HD3
  • RAM: Viper GDDR4 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • PSU: Corsair TX750w
  • GPU: GTX 1080
  • OS: Windows 10 Home Edition

Author’s note: In this review, we compare the Plextor M9PeG against its own reported numbers, as we do not have a full stable of SSDs to compare. Being a gaming-centric site, we simply do not have the sheer volume of SSDs to compare. For a full drive-by-drive analysis, please check out  our friends at guru3d for full multi-SSD comparisons and breakdowns.

The first test we ran was the AS-SSD benchmarking tool. Since it doesn’t look like Plextor has their own proprietary benchmarking software (much like Samsung’s Magician tool), and the tool it does have didn’t seem to recognize the SSD after multiple installs and restarts, AS-SSD seemed like the best place to start. 

You’ll notice those Sequential Read/Write numbers coming in quite underneath Plextor’s own benchmarks. Running the test multiple times, we never achieved the end result of getting close to the 3200MB/s read or 2000MB/s write speeds touted by Plextor. While still an impressive number compared to many SATA SSDs out there, the Plextor does fall short here of even its own marketing. Comparing it with the numbers of our Samsung 960 EVO m.2 SSD review, it falls  below the EVO’s numbers as well, but not terribly.

Turning to ATTO’s Benchmark tool, we see some different results. ATTO is a benchmark tool widely used and respected across the industry. It’s here we start to see the results we expected. ATTO clocks the Plextor M9PeG at a read/write of 3041MB/s and 2024MB/s respectively. CrystalDiskMark shows similar results, with a sequential read write of 3185MB/s and 2014MB/s.

File transfers in a copy/paste scenario were next, and we tested three different ways: writing from the Toshiba 7200RPM HDD to the Plextor m.2, copy and pasting large folders on the m.2 itself and then copy and pasting from the m.2 to the Toshiba 7200 RPM HDD. 

Not seeing the blazing fast speeds of the Plextor at work here, but being able to transfer a 37GB folder within a few minutes, where before it could take hours to do, is rather nice. Even transferring the file on the SSD itself we didn’t see the speeds touted, but it only took about three minutes total - which is excellent. The longest test was writing to the Toshiba from the Plextor - but even then it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected to see.

However, Plextor touts this as a gaming performance m.2 drive, so how does it fare in some of the more graphically demanding or games that require a large amount of data to load in initially? I was shocked at how fast some of these games loaded, specifically PUBG. Normally when loading into a match of PUBG on the Toshiba, I’d connect and then still be loading into the game itself long after the plane took off from the starter island. With the Plextor clocking in a 9 (!) seconds to load into the island, I was there before the minute countdown even started. It was an incredible experience. 

Additionally, Black Desert Online is a game I adore, but I hated waiting for it to load into the game. From launch to the server list it only took about 20 seconds, and many of those were splash screens. However, usually I’d be in for around a minute wait to load into the game proper after selecting a character. From there, though it took a blazing fast 22 seconds - and I wonder how much of that was simply networking and connecting to the server.

ESO has always been the bane of my loading experience. Not only is the launcher slow to load, but going from the log in menu to the character screen has always been a chore. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes to get into the game itself from the character select. However, the long waits were over - 17 seconds from the time I selected my character till I saw the rolling fields of Glenumbra. Quantum Break, which I included because I’m currently playing through the game again and noticed long loading times on the Toshiba, still sees a large amount of time needed to load into a level, which I found interesting. GTA V and Total War: Warhammer 2 see decreases in their load times by a good margin as well - and GTA also seemed to run smoother in areas where I had considerable stutter before, likely due to draw calls and streaming on the Toshiba that the Plextor handles with ease.

Total War: Warhammer 2 also saw some performance increases on my end on both the campaign map and battlefield. Quantum Break was interesting, though, as when testing the Windows 10 store version I noticed considerable stutter when on the m.2 drive, the Steam version I didn’t have the same problem in the same area. I tested this with other Windows 10 apps such as Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4, as well as the Sea of Thieves beta and didn’t encounter similar results in the end. However, it’s worth noting that the stutter disappeared when I moved the UWP game from the SSD back to the Toshiba.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the Plextor M9PeG m.2 NVMe SSD is an extremely powerful drive. Clocking in at around $225, though, you have some options. The Samsung 960 Evo 500GB is just a few dollars more at the moment, and does have some comparable - sometimes better - numbers compared to the Plextor. Additionally, while SATA SSD transfer speeds are hamstrung by the SATA transfer itself, the Crucial MX500 500GB Sata SSD clocks in at $134.99 and might be worth a look if you’re on a budget. However, if you’re looking for an incredible little drive to give your PC a speed boost, the M9PeG is definitely not a bad way to go in the end. While there was the brief stuttering issue in Quantum Break, every game I tested otherwise saw performance gains overall compared to the standard HDD. And for an upgrade like this, that’s exactly what you’re aiming for.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Incredibly fast
  • Great real-world performance

Cons

  • Some stutter noticed while gaming, but not a prevalent issue

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.