Intel Z97 Review - M.2 vs SATA

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅22-05-14

Product On Review: M6e 256GB SSD
Manufacturer: Plextor
UK Street Price: £199.99 (inc. V.A.T)

Despite its release with much fanfare earlier this month Intel's 9-series motherboard platform, of which Z97 is the major chipset, has brought few genuinely new features relevant to the mainstream market. In fact perhaps the only significant exception is the implementation of the SATA Express bus interface through the use of two new storage connectors – M.2 and SATA Express – either of which unlocks the possibility of faster storage than the now ageing SATA. Whilst they won't each appear on every Z97 motherboard, together they push forward standards which have plateaued slightly since SATA 3 was implemented.

Even now, with Z87 phased out and Z97 being the dominant motherboard chipset on new PCs, SATA-Express as a connector is at present not particularly well supported by the market; the first major drive releases are expected to be announced at Computex this June. By contrast M.2 storage devices have been established for some little time thanks to embedded systems and selected Z87 motherboard models, but there is still some time to go before it has the reach of even mSATA. Eventually M.2 is expected to largely replace mSATA, but understandably is only now finding its feet.

In this review we're taking our first detailed look at a M.2 drive thanks to Plextor's 256GB M6e SSD and the new ASUS Maximus VII Ranger, based on Intel's Z97 chipset. We'll seek to compare it to the existing SATA III interface, and discuss some of its pros and cons.

About Plextor

PLEXTOR is a world-leading developer of award-winning solid state drives, and other high-performance digital storage devices for professionals, consumers, and enterprises. The PLEXTOR brand of storage and multimedia products is owned by Shinano Kenshi of Japan.


PLEXTOR SSDs—Modern Storage Comes of Age

PLEXTOR answered the customers’ needs for the replacement of aging hard-drive technology with higher speed storage with the debut of its first SSD in 2009. In response to demand for our acclaimed SSDs, PLEXTOR is undertaking an aggressive expansion program and operating in more markets worldwide. This brings us closer to the users, which allows us to better meet their requirements. For example, we were one of the first to develop drives supporting SATA 6.0Gb/s, providing the performance needed for data- intensive applications.

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