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Plextor’s newest solid state drive puts gamers in its crosshairs

Lite-On is not a name that’s well known in the western market, but as most enthusiasts can tell you, it does have a significant presence. Its solid state and optical drives end up in many OEM configurations, and they’re often a solid choice for geeks building a custom rig.

Now the company’s sub-brand, Plextor, is looking to make an impression with its M8Pe, a solid state drive built with gaming in mind. We first heard of it at CES 2016, but at Computex the company was ready to announce its specifications and provide a release window.

The M8Pe is an NVMe solid state drive that will be available as an add-in PCI card, or in smaller M.2 form factor. It will come in four sizes, with performance increases as storage goes up.

Capacity 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
DRAM Cache 512MB 512MB 512MB 1GB
Sequential Read (MB/s) Up to 1,600 Up to 2,000 Up to 2,300 Up to 2,500
Sequential Write (MB/s) Up to 500 Up to 900 Up to 1,300 Up to 1,400
Random Read (IOPS) Up to 120,000 Up to 210,000 Up to 260,000 Up to 280,000
Random Write (IOPS) Up to 130,000 Up to 230,000 Up to 250,000 Up to 240,000

As you can see, the performance of the drive is no joke. The largest, 1TB drive can hit over 2,500 MB/s and perform 280,000 input/output operations per second, figures that make it comparable to the best drives sold today. The speed is provided by 15nm MLC from Toshiba, combined with a Marvell 88SS1093 controller.

Plextor says the quoted numbers are just the beginning. In CrystalDiskMark — a benchmark Digital Trends uses to test SSDs — the drive can hit sequential read speeds of almost three gigabytes per second. The company believes that it will push that up by another 300MB/s with driver updates.

Obviously, the performance will be of interest to gamers, among others. But there are other drives that are quick. Plextor says it has another, less technical feature that will help the M8Pe stand out — the heatsink. Built from sandblasted aluminum and adorned with flashing red LEDs, the heatsink simultaneously keeps the drive cool and spices up the look.

That may seem mundane, but most NVMe solid state drives are sold naked (which is to say the PCB and chips are exposed), or in boring silver or black enclosures. The M8Pe’s heatsink will better fit the aesthetic of a high-end gaming rig.

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Plextor is still being cagey about the price. Suffice to say, the M8Pe won’t be inexpensive. We doubt it’ll be long before that information is released, however, because the company expects the drive to be shipping by the end of June.