If you happen to pop off the bottom casing of your laptop and find out that your 2.5″ disk drive is nowhere to be found, do not panic. Instead, it’s possible that your laptop may be utilizing a different form factor than the 2.5″ drive. When it comes to solid-state drives, there are three main form factors that you should know about. The first, as we have already mentioned is the 2.5″ form factor, which is the standard size for most desktop and laptop systems. The second, and the primary focus of today’s review, is a mSATA drive. A mSATA drive is roughly 2″ by 1″ in total size, and ideally used in the slim ultra books. The final size that you should know and is quickly increasing in popularity is the M.2 form factor, which is roughly 3″ by 0.75″. Looking back down at your open laptop, you may just see that mSATA, or even a M.2 drive. Regardless, it is still an easy upgrade just like the 2.5″ form factor drive.
Founded in 1985, Plextor is a manufacturer that focuses primarily on solid-state drives, optical disk drives, and networking. The SSD Review last had a chance to meet with them at the Las Vegas convention earlier this year, where we were introduced to their new M.2 SSD’s. Today we have the opportunity to take a look at their PX-256M6M mSATA SSD.
WHAT IS A SOLID STATE DRIVE?
If you have never heard of a solid state drive before, or an SSD, then you may be in for shock as to how much time you have wasted waiting on your computer’s hard drive. To briefly explain, a solid state drive is a storage device that is found within your computer and will hold all of your data, including your operating system, pictures, videos and documents. The largest difference between your hard drive and a SSD is the fact that SSD’s increase your system’s speed immensely, never mind that they also come with a bunch of other features that make them far superior to that of a hard drive. If you are interested in learning more, then we encourage you to head over to our big-sister site, The SSD Review, and take a look at our ‘Learning To Run With Flash’ series.
PLEXTOR M6M MSATA SSD SPECIFICATIONS
When shopping for a mSATA drive, it is important to know that the physical size of the drive does not ‘overly’ influence that capacities the drive can achieve. In this case, the Plextor M6M mSATA SSD is available in 64, 128, 256 and 512 GB capacities, which should be ample storage for an ultra book drive upgrade. All capacities have been listed to reach read speeds of up to 520 MB/s, and write speeds of 160, 340, and 440 MB/s depending on the capacity. Plextor also includes their three-year limited warranty with each solid-state drive.
Plextor tests all of their SSDs in an extensive testing facility to ensure that the drive is extremely reliable. Plextor takes 465 SSD’s and tests them for 576 hours, and in order to reach your ultra book the drive must perform perfectly, without any errors. This is very extensive and allows Plextor to easily stand behind the reliability of the drive.
The M6M also includes AES Data Encryption at its highest level of 256 bit encryption. This feature is the United States government standard for encryption technology, and offers great protection if your ultra book was stolen.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
Plextor’s mSATA SSD lineup will be available to be purchased as of April 21st 2014, with a MSRP of $89.99 (64GB), $139.99 (128GB), $249.99 (256GB), and $499.99 (512GB). With these prices we can see that the price per gigabyte is roughly $0.97.
PLEXTOR M6M MSATA SSD COMPONENTS
When you buy your M6M, you will notice that the packaging is much less sophisticated than other SSD’s, as it includes the mSATA drive and two screws. Unlike 2.5″ form factor SSD’s we do not need to disassemble the housing in order to see the SSD components.
The Plextor M6M mSATA features Marvell’s 88SS9188 controller, and as we know the controller is essentially the ‘brains’ of the solid state drive. Actually, this is the first time we have seen the 88SS9188 controller and it is an eight channel controller, similar to the 88SS9189 recently seen in the Crucial M550.
When looking at the rest of the mSATA drive, we can see that there are four Toshiba NAND flash memory modules, with the serial number TH58TEG9DDBA8H. With the overall capacity listed at 256 GB, each NAND module can store 64 GB.