SSD-drives Plextor M6 Pro, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Toshiba HG6

SSD-drives Plextor M6 Pro, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Toshiba HG6

Today we have on the agenda of the regular study of three models of solid-state drives. A breakthrough in speed, we did not count on more than once these reasons: mainly manufacturers were able to “squeeze” from flash all now concentrating on reducing the cost of storage, and going in this direction progress in the production of memory chips is not the best way affects the its velocity. As a result that it is possible to improve the controllers out compensation effect described above, so that the new SSD performance characteristics are not greater than the old (and this is the best). However, the direction in which you can achieve something fundamentally new, already outlined – a massive shift to use interface PCIe, which allows to increase the capacity in the area between the drive and the host system, and reduce overhead costs, abandoning emulation of the drive in mode “traditional” block device access. Especially suitable and compact form factor designed for new devices. But all these improvements are away from the conventional market of SSDs using the old time-tested SATA-interface, and it is to this class are our heroes today.

However, no significant improvements have not yet said about their complete absence. Especially older devices are gradually disappearing from the market, so many potential buyers interested in how new work. This is especially true in terms of the actual increase in prices due to changes in exchange rates, which in turn makes the SSD not too cheap purchase, though not nearly as expensive as five years ago, that “increases the responsibility” for the right choice.

Plextor M6 Pro 128 and 256 GB

In the summer we have tested a series of M6e and M6S, and now in our hands, and got two younger representatives of the line M6 Pro, which has already become the flagship not, as average.It may well be that this is why storage for a long time getting to the distribution network, and in the first batches were too many marriages that do greatly undermined the confidence of users as to this family in particular, and to the SSD Plextor at all. According to the information we have now, however, all the problems have been fixed, so that the drive can be considered as a potential purchase.

And was it worth it to wait? General hardware enhancements in the new Pro-Series actually is not: it is built on the same controller Marvell 88SS9187-BLD2, as the M5 Pro. Is that the 19 nm Toggle Mode Memory Toshiba replaced by “Update” A19, but it is applied in a series of budget M6S, so the only improvement M6 Pro – the use of models with a capacity of 128 and 256 GB of on-chip memory to 64 GB (and therefore their themselves more to provide better performance). Cache capacity is also identical to the M5 Pro and M6S – in short, no improvement was observed. Is that the model of low capacity, as mentioned above, must be fast enough, but this is true only when compared with the equally modern devices – the “oldies” show results not worse. In general, in fact Pro-series began to look a little strange – especially considering a range M6e with faster interface and inexpensive M6S, difficult to understand: who may need it M6 Pro? In order to increase its attractiveness, the company has provided its software functions PlexTools software caching data, but the extent of their necessity now in question – modern operating systems to cope with such tasks as good (even more so that they can more flexibly reallocate memory without interfering with “greedy” to her programs). So in essence, this update just to update – supply of old memory still stop, why not switch to a new one. Other reasons for not upgrading.

During the tests we used the firmware version 1.01.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 480 GB

When autumn we tested Extreme II, a new series of drives SanDisk has already been announced, but before the end was not yet clear – than it will be different from its predecessors technically.That, however, did not change a priori appeal Extreme Pro, as the company has gone on for a serious consumer-grade drives step by installing a new line of SSD warranty period as many as 10 years! However, there is in it and one reef (which turned out a little later) – a guaranteed resource is equal to that of the Extreme II and 80 TB of recorded data, which is a ten-year period is not too much. Thus, intensive work still more attractive it seems Samsung 850 Pro, where the same 10-year warranty combined with 150 TB resource. Although how well it is implemented in practice can only speculate – new memory type V-NAND thing still unexplored, so that developers can assume may be wrong. Well, SanDisk just confident in their products, the benefit is still never faced problems regardless of the warranty period.

SSD-drives Plextor M6 Pro, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Toshiba HG6

In general, as it turned out hardware and Extreme II Extreme Pro are very similar: both use controllers Marvell 88SS9187 and “brand” 19 nm memory eX2 ABL MLC NAND. But different generations, ie in fact we have the same transition from the 19th to the A19, good memory and SanDisk developed and produced jointly with Toshiba. That is what has changed radically since this technology SLC-caching. Recall its essence – part of the cells at work are used as single-level, allowing you to quickly and with little wear to record small amounts of information. But if too many write operations, the buffer have release (usually without a physical transfer information), so that a slightly caching helps in these scenarios, but they are consumer SSD just rare. Since the technology works in drives Samsung’s TLC-memory and also she acted in Extreme II. A new nCache Pro developers SanDisk main emphasis is on communication with the MLC-aligned memory of 16 KB pages, utilizing not only SLC-cache, but DRAM-cache (which latter capacity compared to the standard doubled in the previous model, ie, . has 480 GB drive has a gigabyte DDR3L SDRAM). It can be assumed as a result, that some operations may be active at all and this is only performed in the SDRAM, i.e. very quickly and do not drive resource consuming. A side effect has also been possible to drastically reduce the capacity of SLC-cache: in Extreme II 480 GB last occupied as much 16 GB, the Extreme Pro it has less than 1 GB, and released 15 “leave” to increase the replacement fund and improve load balancing. In short, a new line and have high reliability (which has increased the warranty period), and high speed. And for all vessels in the lineup – SanDisk in this series uses only the crystals of 64 Gbps.

During the tests we used the firmware version X21000RL.

Toshiba HG6 512 GB

For a long time it was not clear – how to change the line of SSD after the actual purchase OCZ, but the entry of the family HG6 showed that these areas will be developed in parallel. What has changed in the new devices are relatively old (not bad studied )?

SSD-drives Plextor M6 Pro, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Toshiba HG6

Firstly, the controller – instead of Toshiba TC58NC5HA9CST used newer Toshiba T635879BXBG. But newer – does not mean a more powerful: the controller became a four-channel, which clearly alludes to the orientation of the series in the budget segment and low-capacity model (it is in them “multi-channel” is often meaningless – because of the use of a small number of modern high-density chips to achieve a high degree of parallelism is still not out). It should be noted, however, that both controllers “are descended” from production Marvell, but significantly reworked, and firmware from Toshiba (we used version for testing JUGA0101) always original. Original and also the approach to the use of controller cache: judging by the empty space on the board, and the old and new models, such controllers are supported, but the manufacturer is not in use – despite the fact that many competitors have such gigabytes put, Toshiba prefers a more conservative and cheapest approach. Well, flash memory, of course, has a new – A19 Toggle Mode with crystals of 128 Gbps. Which, however for the time being consistently demonstrated in tests is lower than was typical of the “old” 19 nm memory, not to mention the very old chips on the “thick” process technology with the same interface. So it remains only to hope that the new controller is just made to take into account all changes in the flash memory and obtain maximum performance.

Access time

The access time is small in all subjects, although reads clearly visible loss Toshiba HG6, but the recording situation more diverse. But, again, when the bill goes to the hundredths of milliseconds, a little faster or a little slower longer has any value.

Successive operations

As you would expect, all drives “decent capacity” actually run into limitations interface (at least in the larger block), and behind them a Plextor M6 Pro 128 GB. And for read operations is almost imperceptible, but when recording a limited filling channels already affected.

Random access

Even when reading at random addresses near already left the modern top-end devices to restrictions SATA600.

With the introduction of the new flash this pattern starts to behave worse and worse, so refrain from detailed comments to the results of other programs. But clearly visible high result SanDisk Extreme Pro, due to just work nCache.

As has been previously known compression used by controllers not “indulge”, so that these results we present only for another confirmation of this fact.

AS SSD does not see much difference between the drives when reading data, but divides them into two groups when recording. In general, very much depends on the access patterns, and “squeeze” with the speed characteristics are almost never achievable with “mass” programs, rather than specialized test tools – too fast have become all SSDs.

Application performance

PCMark 7 is traditionally considered all SSD (at least one class) about the same – that’s between them and the difference is huge hard drives, but not within the segment.

However, according to the playback speed highway running applications spread to more than 10% turned out, but only because traditionally not very high in the results of this test drives SanDisk, we tend to think of them feature firmware, and not something else.

Especially as NASPT difference between the devices is almost does not see. Is that a pattern ContentCreation slowly runs on M6 Pro 128GB, but because his internal structure, and expected as a result of recording a random access.

Working with large files

Incidentally the same applies to the simultaneous reading record, but here at least the gap from the other devices are not as noticeable. But the SanDisk Extreme Pro Extreme II compared with the results improved. Especially for sequential access, provided that this kind of record we tested devices.Reading traditionally can not comment on the record is once again seeing poor performance SSD Toshiba multithreaded – alas, but this lack of previous generations of devices of this manufacturer is still here.

The overall average score


The following table lists the average retail price of tested today SSD-stores in Moscow, current at the time you read this article:

Plextor M6 Pro

128 GB

Plextor M6 Pro

256 GB

SanDisk Extreme Pro

480 GB

Toshiba HG6

512 GB

$ 98 ( 24 ) $ 169 ( 25 ) $ 296 ( 7 ) $ 341 ( 6 )
T-11004567 T-11004568 T-10967396 N / A

In total

So, it is easy to see that all three presented in the review manufacturer actually just updated one flash memory 19 nm to another 🙂 In terms of user characteristics are not changed virtually nothing – except that SanDisk has grown lifetime warranty, but do not forget, it is not limited to only the years, but the volume of recorded data. Thus, the market for solid state drives with SATA-interface situation has stabilized, and expected changes in the near future is not necessary. Is that prices are falling all the time, which can not fail to please potential buyers – still high cost of SSD are still many stops. But this process is more noticeable on the example of budget series drives, which we will deal in one of the next articles. As for the top lines, in this case can only repeat their performance a few years ago has reached such values ​​that neither significantly exceed this level, or to detect the difference between the models with “normal domestic use” is impossible. What we congratulate you.

SSD-drives Plextor M6 Pro, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Toshiba HG6 updated: February 7, 2015 author: John Malkovich