Today we're taking a look at Plextor's M8V SSD. This is their latest entry-level SATA SSD and the first SATA drive from Plextor to use 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory.

64-layer 3D NAND flash memory started hitting the market last year, but only a handful of consumer SSDs using the latest-generation flash have launched. All of the early models came from the vertically-integrated manufacturers of flash memory and SSDs. Intel, Micron, Toshiba and Western Digital all introduced drives last year with their own 64L 3D TLC. That flash memory is now starting to be used by the rest of the market, as other brands fill in the gaps left by the biggest players.

Plextor is the consumer retail SSD brand of Lite-On, one of the largest SSD manufacturers that is not also a NAND flash manufacturer. One of Lite-On's primary ways of differentiating their SSDs is by developing in-house firmware for the SSD controllers, rather than using the reference firmware provided by most controller vendors. This means that Lite-On/Plextor SSDs often have fairly different performance profiles from drives that at first glance seem to be almost identical technologically.

Plextor M8V Specifications
Capacity 128 GB 256 GB 512 GB
Form Factor 2.5" SATA and M.2 2280 SATA
Controller Silicon Motion SM2258
NAND Toshiba 64-layer 3D TLC
Sequential Read up to 560 MB/s up to 560 MB/s up to 560 MB/s
Sequential Write up to 400 MB/s up to 510 MB/s up to 520 MB/s
4KB Random Read  up to 60k IOPS up to 81k IOPS up to 82k IOPS
4KB Random Write  up to 70k IOPS up to 80k IOPS up to 81k IOPS
Endurance 70 TBW 140 TBW 280 TBW
Warranty 3 years

The Plextor M8V is a budget-oriented SATA SSD using Toshiba's 64L 3D TLC. Where Toshiba's own TR200 adopts a DRAMless controller to cut costs, the Plextor M8V uses the mainstream Silicon Motion SM2258 controller. That controller is used in the Crucial MX500, one of the best mainstream SATA SSDs on the market today. A derivative—the SM2259—is used in the Intel 545s. Plextor isn't trying to position the M8V directly against those drives or other top-tier SATA SSDs, but they will still be some of the primary competition for the M8V. The Crucial MX500 will also be one of the more interesting drives to compare the M8V against in terms of performance and power consumption, because the shared controller gives us the opportunity to judge whether Micron or Toshiba's 64L 3D TLC is better.

Our test sample is the 2.5" 512GB M8V. The M.2 version should perform almost identically and use about the same power, and the smaller capacities will definitely be slower—especially the 128GB models. The Plextor M8V features a three-year warranty, but the write endurance ratings are more in line with drives that have five year warranties.

The M8V uses the same brushed aluminum case that Plextor has been using for generations. Inside, we find a small PCB with markings that indicate the M8V is the alter ego of the Lite-On CV8 client SSD for the OEM market. There are two NAND packages on each side of the PCB, and a Samsung DRAM part next to the SM2258 controller. The M8V does not use any thermal pads.

AnandTech 2017/2018 Consumer SSD Testbed
CPU Intel Xeon E3 1240 v5
Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC
Chipset Intel C232
Memory 4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 CL15
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 5450, 1920x1200@60Hz
Software Windows 10 x64, version 1709
Linux kernel version 4.14, fio version 3.1
AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer
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  • edgineer - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    What's the actual capacity of this drive, 476 GiB? I hate having to use a calculator/guessing. Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    As with any other 512GB drive, the usable capacity (before partitioning) is 512,110,190,592 bytes. Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    Crucial MX200 500GB ends up as 465gb usable Win 7 64 build after formatted for use
    Crucial MX100 256 ends up with 238GB usable
    Reply
  • frenchy_2001 - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    That would be because Windows displays GiB (2^30 bytes) and not GB (10^9 Bytes).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibibyte
    Reply
  • bug77 - Thursday, March 22, 2018 - link

    During formatting, some space is reserved for the file system. That is not a limitation of the drive, nor does it make the drive have a smaller capacity.
    You don't like file system's overhead? Use a different file system. Oh wait, you can't do that on Windows :D
    Reply
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