NVMe SSDs are becoming more and more common. With the growth of more PCIe lanes directly wired to the CPU, it’s no surprise that many people will go for the speedier route of PCIe NVMe SSDs. Let’s take a look at the Plextor M8Se NVMe SSD – specifically the 256GB Plextor M8SeGN that I have here. It’s an M.2 form factor NVMe SSD and no heatsink.

The Plextor M8Se is a family of SSDs, each varying from each other. We’ve covered the differences initially, but here’s a quick rundown on its differences:

  • M8SeG – M.2 with heatsink
  • M8SeGN – M.2 without heatsink (the one I’m reviewing here)
  • M8SeY – PCIe Gen. 3 x4 card

Let’s proceed with the review of the Plextor M8SeGN.

Unboxing

The M8SeGN comes in a rather plain and simple box. The included features were stated clearly, and kept everything very clean, in my opinion.

Plextor M8Se box

Opening up the box reveals a large plastic clamshell that holds the M.2 NVMe SSD at the center, alongside with a screw beside it. That’s all you’ll get from the box – literally. No manuals, nothing. I mean, what else do you expect, actually? Most of us are not even going to look at the user manual for an SSD.

Plextor M8Se unboxing

Design

Quick one here – the Plextor M8Se – particularly the M8SeGN – has a dark green PCB with components occupying the entire length of the M.2 2280 NVMe SSD.

Plextor M8Se PCB

By the way, M.2 2280 means it’s using the M.2 interface and has a physical dimension of 22mm x 80mm. By using the M.2 2280 form factor, the heatsink-less Plextor M8SeG NVMe SSDs will fit into many motherboard’s M.2 slots without any issues. However, I can’t say the same for Plextor M8SeG that has a heatsink – placing the Plextor M8SeG onto motherboards with its M.2 slot underneath the PCIe x16 slot might cause interference with the dGPU heatsink or shroud.

Plextor M8Se rear PCB

Specs

As per the datasheet provided for the Plextor M8SeGN PCIe Gen. 3 x4 NVMe SSD, here is the list of specs. The specs listed here are pretty similar if not identical with the M8SeG and M8SeY, with the most prominent difference being the physical dimensions and form factor.

Plextor M8Se Series PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD
Specification
Model

PX-128M8SeGN

PX-256M8SeGN

PX-512M8SeGN

PX-1TM8SeGN

Capacity

128 GB

256 GB

512 GB

1 TB

Cache

512MB LPDDR3

512MB LPDDR3

1024MB LPDDR3

2048MB LPDDR3

Controller

Marvell 88SS1093

NAND Flash

TOSHIBA 15nm Super High Performance TLC

Performance (Under Windows NTFS)

Sequential Read Speed (MB/s)*

Up to 1,850

Up to 2,400

Up to 2,450

Up to 2,450

Sequential Write Speed (MB/s)*

Up to 570

Up to 1,000

Up to 1,000

Up to 1,000

Random Read Speed (IOPS)*

Up to 135,000

Up to 205,000

Up to 210,000

Up to 210,000

Random Write Speed (IOPS)*

Up to 80,000

Up to 160,000

Up to 175,000

Up to 175,000

Environment and Reliability

Power Requirement

DC 3.3V 3.0A (Max.)

Temperature

0°C ~ 70°C / 32°F ~ 158°F (Operating)

MTBF

>1,500,000 Hours

Endurance (TBW)

80

160

320

640

Warranty

3 years

Compatibility

Operating System Supported

Microsoft Windows 8.1, 10/ Linux OS

Agency Approval

UL, TUV, FCC, CE, BSMI, VCCI, RCM, KCC, EAC, ROHS, WHQL

Command Set Support

TRIM, S.M.A.R.T, IO queue, NVMe command

Interface

M.2 PCIe Gen 3 x4 with NVM Express

Firmware Upgrade

Supported

Form Factor and Connectors

Form Factor

M.2 2280

Power Connector

M.2 connector for DC 3.3V input

Data Connector

M.2 Connector

Dimension and Weight

Dimension (L/W/H)

80 x 22 x 2.3 mm / 3.15 x 0.87 x 0.09 inch

80 x 22 x 3.65 mm
3.15 x 0.87 x 0.15 inch
Weight (Max.)

10g / 0.35oz

Package Content

Drive

128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB SSD

Specifications subject to change without notice.
Actual performance may vary based on hardware, software, and overall system configuration.
* Performance measured using CrystalDiskMark ver.3, IOMETER with queue depth set to 32.
Test Platform: Motherboard: ASUS Z170-Deluxe (Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64)

Testing Setup

Test hardware configuration

CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S/Noctua NH-D15
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1700
GPU MSI GEFORCE GTX 1060 3GT OC
Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4
Memory Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 16GB
Primary Hard Drive Plextor M8SeGN
Power Supply SilverStone ET-650B 650W
Chassis BitFenix Aurora
Fans Noctua NF-F12
Others SilverStone LS02 RGB LED Strip

Benchmarks

Plextor claims that the M8SeGN that I’m benching here has a theoretical limit of up to 2,400MB/s sequential read speed and up to 1,000MB/s sequential write speed. To quickly verify this claim, I launched CrystalDiskMark and tried it out.

Plextor M8Se CrystalDiskMark benchmark

The performance claimed by Plextor is true – it did reach 2,400MB/s and 1,000MB/s on both sequential read and write speeds respectively. Great!

As for the random 4K read and write speeds with a queue depth of 32, the Plextor M8Se scored about 360MB/s read speed and about 260MB/s write speed.

Plextor M8Se ATTO benchmark

Then comes ATTO Disk Benchmark. The scores on this benchmark are pretty good overall, but its speed tapers off ever so slightly when larger block-sized files are tested.

Thermal throttling?

This is a concern that is thrown all around the NVMe SSD scene. I get it – there are NVMe SSDs that thermal throttles just like your CPU and GPU. When it gets too hot, the clock speeds go down – and in the case of NVMe SSDs, the IOPS drops and both read/write speeds drop. Does it happen to the Plextor M8Se SSD – specifically the M8SeGN that I have here?

Plextor M8Se Noctua NH-U12S
The Plextor M8SeGN with the Noctua NH-U12S

No – not exactly, unless I intentionally cause it to thermal throttle with an unrealistic workload. I did try to mess things up by stressing the Plextor M8SeGN, and here are my findings. I suppose these findings are applicable to the entire Plextor M8Se family of NVMe SSDs too.

  • Continuously looped CrystalDiskMark on 9 passes of 32GB test size while running Dota 2.
  • Specs say that its operating temperatures are from 0°C to 70°C. It can reach 75°C before thermal throttling.
  • Once thermal throttling happened, Dota 2 starts stuttering.
  • The temperature never exceeded 76°C.
  • Performance recovered instantly after the benchmark was ended.

Particularly for my setup, the Plextor M8SeGN idles at around 52°C and goes up to about 57°C under my usual workload, and can reach about 64°C while gaming. I can only predict that both the M8SeG (M.2 with heatsink) and the M8SeY (PCIe card) will have better thermals than this M8SeGN barebones version.

Wrapping up the Plextor M8Se review

The Plextor M8SeGN that we’ve got here has what we presume is the lowest price amongst the Plextor M8Se family of NVMe SSDs – which is understandable as it is pretty much the barebones version.

While the Plextor M8SeGN is the barebones version with maximum compatibility, its real use case scenario temperature is still way lower than its maximum operating temperature when air coolers are used. If you use a beefier air cooler or have some airflow through or nearby the SSD, it’ll greatly improve your temperatures – but that’s a story for another time.

Plextor M8Se hero

Overall, the Plextor M8Se PCIe Gen. 3 NVMe SSD – specifically the M8SeGN – gets a big thumbs up. Don’t let its lack of “cool aesthetics” fool you.

The Plextor M8SeGN that I have here is available from 128GB to 1TB – just like all of the other variants in the M8Se family of NVMe SSDs. Though, for both the M8SeG and M8SeY variants, I can only find them at Newegg.

As for the price, it’s as listed below.

  • 128GB, MSRP USD$109 ($0.8515625/GB)
  • 256GB, MSRP USD$179 (0.69921875/GB)
  • 512GB, MSRP USD$329 (0.642578125/GB)
  • 1TB, MSRP USD$599 (0.584960938/GB)

All in all, the Plextor M8SeGN, in particular, is of fantastic value for the 256GB variant and above.


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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
9
Performance
9
Value
10
The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!