Plextor M8V (M8VG) 512GB M.2 SATA SSD Review
Bohs Hansen / 6 months ago
Plextor is a company that continues to impress us with their drives. We recently saw the M9Pe blast through the benchmarks with impressive results. While the drive was great to test and showed impressive results, it also is out of the budget range for a lot of people. However, Plextor has a strong lineup of budget-oriented SSDs too and the M8V M.2 (product link) which we’re testing today belongs in that category.
Plextor M8V Series
Plextor continues to set standards for budget drives, simply by delivering more than the average drive. Their drives don’t just deliver a strong performance, they also come with a great software bundle which can take the whole thing to a new level. Part of this is that you get the full NAND capacity. In today’s case, you get 512GB instead of the often seen 480GB. We will get to why that is further down the page.
Plextor’s new M8V series comes in two other capacity options besides today’s 512GB version. There’s also a 128GB and a 256GB capacity available. The 2280 (22mm by 80mm) NGFF M.2 module isn’t just compatible with most modern motherboards, it will also fit into a lot of notebooks, netbooks, and ultrabooks. By eliminating the need for a casing such as in the 2.5-inch version of the drive, you cut down even further on the weight. And in portable systems, every gram counts. And yes, there’s also a 2.5-inch 7mm version of the M8V series. We reviewed that recently.
The M8V is built with a Silicon Motion SM2258 4-channel controller. In my opinion, it’s one of the best available controllers in this market segment. It delivers a good performance and comes with a great set of features. The controller is paired with Toshiba’s BiCS 64-layer 3D TLC NAND.
If you’re interested in the BiCS NAND, here’s a small official video by Toshiba about just that:
Performance and Endurance
SATA3 does set some performance limitations, at least when you compare it to the NVMe brothers out there. While that is true, Plextor’s M8V takes the bus to the max with a performance of up to 560MB/s during reads and 520MB/s during writes. Random write performance is at least as important and it also shines at those operations. With up to 82K IOPS during reads and up 81K IOPS during writes, the drive actually breaks the SM2258 controller’s max ratings.
Endurance is a vital aspect of every storage drive, after all, you don’t want it to break down before you replace it for natural reasons. The M8V with 512GB capacity has an endurance rating of 280 TBW. That rating equals 0.5 drive writes per day for the 3-year warranty. Again, Plextor goes above the norm for budget drives which usually come with about 0.3 DWPD. The mean time before/between failure (MTBF) rating comes in at 1.5 million hours.
SSD features are easily overlooked as the performance is the main focus. But they are important too. Naturally, you get the basic TRIM and S.M.A.R.T., but that’s not all. The M8V features LDPC ECC technology which stands for Low-Density Parity Check. It ensures safety and integrity of data transmissions which results in near MLC endurance. Furthermore, the M8V also supports RAID Engine and data shaping for an enhanced data stability. The 128-bit ECC and robust data hold-out algorithm used ensures that data is stored and retrieved without error. On top of that, you also get hardware-based 256-bit AES full-drive encryption. A great bonus at any time.
As with any Plextor drive, there are the exclusive features too, starting with PlexNitro. PlexNitro is Plextor’s exclusive cache acceleration technology specially developed to TLC SSDs. The PlexNitro cache accelerates the performance of the drive without taking away capacity from the user. This is also why you get the full drive capacity of 512GB instead of just 480GB.
Another Plextor exclusive is the TrueSpeed technology. With TrueSpeed, SSDs retain a like-new performance even after prolonged use. That’s great in any case.
Plextor’s SATA drives come with more features, but in the form of software. My favourite of these is the PlexTurbo technology. In its essence, PlexTurbo is a RAM disk. By using a small portion of your system memory as cache, the software is able to increase the performance more than tenfold in most situations. Not only that, it also helps increase the lifespan of the drive by eliminating unnecessary writes to the drive.
PlexCompressor is an automated compressing tool. It runs in the background where it compresses the data you store on the drive. Thus, effectively giving you more capacity that you have in reality.
PlexVault is another nifty tool, allowing you to create private spaces without a trace. Within them, you can store sensitive or confidential files. This is a particularly useful feature if you share your system with other people. There are just some things one doesn’t want to share.
Plextor Quality Control
Quality control isn’t just a buzzword for Plextor, they take this stuff seriously. The M8V, like any other Plextor drive, undergoes high standard flawless quality control. Each SSD is subjected to rigorous inspections from the world-class advanced SSD testing laboratory to ensure error-free performance. The “Plextor endurance testing mechanism” simulates a range of professional read-write scenarios which proudly promises quality and reliability.
- Silicon Motion SM2258 controller with Toshiba BiCS 64-layer NAND
- Up to 560/520MB/s sequential and 82K/81K random performance
- PlexNitro for full NAND capacity and TureSpeed for long-term performance
- LDPC ECC, RAID Engine, and Data Shaping
- PlexTurbo, PlexCompressor, and PlexVault compatible
- Hardware-based 256-bit AES full-drive encryption
Package and Accessories
There aren’t a lot of surprises in regards to the packaging. The M8V M.2 drive comes in a simple blister package with all the information printed on the front label.
Inside the box is the drive itself along with an extra screw. While your motherboard or M.2 adapter should have its own screw, you might have lost that. So while it isn’t vital, it’s a nice bonus to get.