Storage specialists Plextor have some big plans for CES 2016 (running from January 6th-9th), and perhaps little would be more significant than their first true NVMe SSD - the M8Pe. A follow-up to the M6e of 2014 vintage, it's a replacement for the M7e that never quite made it out of R&D.
Although they've been a little late to the NVMe train Plextor were actually one of the first innovators for M.2 SSD storage. First Generation M.2 was capable of relatively high bandwidth PCI-E signalling, but most storage drive manufacturers re-used mSATA controllers from distinctly less impressive mSATA SSDs, effectively capping out the bandwidth at far lower levels than even early M.2 was capable of. The Plextor M6e however utilises a Marvell® 88SS9183 dual-core server-grade controller and true PCI-E interface, allowing the drive to easily surpass SATA III in synthetic benchmarks.
Since the heady days of May 2014 the world has moved on, and NVMe is now all the rage. The current leader in the consumer market is the Samsung 950 Pro, which makes use of up to four PCE-E 3.0 lanes through an M.2 Gen2 connector for sequential read and write rates of up to 2,500 / 1,500 Mbps respectively.
The M8Pe is set to go head-to-head with Samsung's flagship SSD, specifically targeting the challenging 'gamer' demographic who may be after something even more advanced than the usual high-end system configuration. Early specs boast 4KB random reads up to 270K IOPS and 4KB write up to 150K IOPS, both fairly critical high-watermark values for a responsive drive; raw bandwidth numbers should be revealed along with the drive next month. Naturally the drive will also support up to four PCI-E 3.0 lanes and the NVMe protocol to make high performance a reality.
More information on the M8Pe, as well as the upcoming M7V, should be available at CES.