Having labored with Marvell for a few years, Plextor is tied intently to Marvell’s controller ecosystem since its proprietary firmware applied sciences depend on capabilities of the mentioned controllers. Lately Plextor has been struggling to supply aggressive efficiency within the high-end phase of the market primarily as a result of Marvell’s Marvell 88SS1093 "Eldora" controller is a number of years previous. In a bid to regain a few of the floor it misplaced to rivals, Plextor is planning to supply a quite unbeatable resolution: a drive working 4 M9Pe M.2 SSD modules in RAID zero mode.

Plextor demonstrated the prototype Four-way SSD backplane based mostly on Marvell’s 88NR2241 PCIe swap at Computex. The swap has a PCIe three.zero x8 interface on one aspect and 4 PCIe three.zero x4 interfaces on one other, thus supporting as much as 4 PCIe three.zero x4/NVMe drives with out the need to bifurcate PCIe lanes by the CPU/PCH. Evidently, limiting the bus width to x8 confines most theoretical efficiency of 4 PCIe three.zero x4 SSDs, but it surely additionally maximizes compatibility with mainstream platforms which have a restricted variety of PCIe lanes and constrained bifurcation capabilities.

Talking of efficiency, Plextor’s numbers point out that the quad M9Pe 1 TB SSD array can supply as much as 6500 MB/s sequential write velocity in addition to 5000 MB/s sequential learn velocity, which is nicely above the degrees supplied by shopper drives accessible immediately. In the meantime, along with RAID zero (stripe), the backplane will even assist RAID 1 (mirror) mode for reliability. Clearly, 4 1 TB drives don’t come low cost, so Plextor’s ‘Excessive’ resolution is clearly not aimed on the mass market.

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Plextor’s backplane remains to be a piece in progress and the corporate doesn’t anticipate to launch it earlier than the top of 2018, or maybe even early 2019. As you possibly can see from the images, the backplane is quite cumbersome, so Plextor’s job is to make it extra compact and in addition to chill down SSDs with sizzling controllers. Excellent news is that after the backplane is totally developed, it may be used for nearly any SSD and Plextor will have the ability to supply ultra-speedy solid-state storage options with its upcoming drives sooner or later (say, drives based mostly on Marvell’s newest NVMe controllers).

Plextor’s backplane will definitely not be the one product of this sort. Quite a few producers, together with ASUS, ASRock, HP, and others, supply related options, however with out PCIe switches. Such backplanes have to make use of CPU/PCH PCIe lanes bifurcation, which limits compatibility with enterprise/mainstream platforms which have a restricted variety of PCIe lanes and confined bifurcation capabilities in some instances.

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