Today Plextor is officially launching their first SSDs with 3D NAND flash memory: the M9Pe family of NVMe SSDs. Based on Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS3 3D TLC NAND, the M9Pe is the successor to the 15nm MLC-based M8Pe, which was their first NVMe SSD. The choice of TLC NAND for this new flagship product mirrors a trend across most SSD vendors, who are abandoning MLC NAND in even the high-end product segments as they transition to 64L 3D NAND.

Aside from the updated NAND, little has changed from Plextor's previous generation of NVMe SSDs, and the specifications are almost identical to what was previewed at Computex 2017. The M9Pe still uses Marvell's 88SS1093 controller with Plextor's own firmware. The 128GB capacity has been dropped from the lineup, and 1TB is still the largest model. Performance ratings for the M9Pe are mostly much higher than the M8Pe, especially for sequential transfers. The 256GB M9Pe has lower random read and write speeds than the M8Pe, and the random read rating of 180k IOPS also falls below the planar TLC-based 256GB M8Se. However, the higher capacities of the M9Pe promise much improved random I/O performance, with random read speeds of up to 400k IOPS for the 1TB model.

Plextor M9Pe Series Specifications Comparison
  256 GB 512 GB 1 TB
Form Factor M9PeY:  Half height half length PCIe add-in card (HHHL)
M9PeG: M.2 2280 with heatspreader
M9PeGN: M.2 2280 without heatspreader
Controller Marvell 88SS1093
Interface NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4
NAND Toshiba 64L BiCS3 3D TLC
Sequential Read 3000 MB/s 3200 MB/s 3200 MB/s
Sequential Write 1000 MB/s 2000 MB/s 2100 MB/s
4KB Random Read (QD32) 180k IOPS 340k IOPS 400k IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD32) 160k IOPS 280k IOPS 300k IOPS
Endurance 160 TBW 320 TBW 640 TBW
Warranty 5 years

The write endurance rating on the M9Pe is a step backward from the M8Pe and instead matches the M8Se's rating. However, as a higher-tier product the M9Pe does get a five year warranty instead of the three year warranty on the M8Se.

As with the previous generation of NVMe SSDs from Plextor, the M9Pe comes in three variants. The base model is the plain M.2 2280 card, dubbed the M9PeGN. The M9PeG is the same M.2 SSD with a heatspreader that adds slightly to the exterior dimensions of the drive. The M9PeY variant is the add-in card version. This places the M.2 drive in a half-height half-length adapter card with a heatsink and LED lighting. The heatsink is geometrically identical to the one used on the M8Se, but the plastic highlights have been changed from blue to red, and the monochromatic LEDs have been replaced with RGB lighting.

Our review samples of the M9Pe have arrived and will begin testing later this week. A full review will be available later this month.

Source: Plextor

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  • jjj - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    No word on pricing?
  • jjj - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    nm found that elsewhere.
  • euler007 - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    For those still wondering, 451.79$ for 1 TB pcie card, 427.39$ for the M.2 with heatstink, 415.19$ for the m.2 without heatsink. Pretty annoying that the price is never in these tables.
  • HollyDOL - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Can you disable the RGB hell?
    Yes -> Benchmarks pls
    No -> Thanks but no thanks
  • Glaring_Mistake - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    According to Tomshardware: "You can't control the light show, but it changes colors based on drive activity." so unfortunately it sounds like you can't turn off the RGB.
  • shabby - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Seems performance is a mixed bag, going from mlc to tlc is never a good thing.
  • jabber - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Who actually owns the Plextor brand name now?
  • VirusTheory - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

  • jabber - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

  • Dremor - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Billy, AnandTech,
    can you please make sure you extensively test if this new M9Pe drive exhibit the same Garbage Collection issue, which plagued (and is plaguing) M8PE drives by permanently reducing write performance after?
    This issue is not widely discussed (you can google for it with "plextor m8pe garbage collection issue"), but Plextor never bother to really fix it.

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