The HHHL (Half-Height/Half-Length) version of the M8Pe comes packaged in an attractive black and red box. The front advertises key features like the drive's 512GB capacity, support for NVMe and Plextor's TrueSpeed and TrueProtect technologies. The back of the box provides a bit more information regarding the M8Pe's features, specifications and box contents.
Inside the box, you'll find the M8Pe, a low profile, half height bracket for use in servers and small form factor PCs, an invitation to Plextor's VIP club, and a fold out guide containing warranty information as well as some brief installation instructions.
When it comes to the M8Pe's construction, Plextor hasn't cut any corners. The top of the PCIe card is covered entirely by a massive aluminum heatsink which has a nice matte black finish. The M8Pe also has a sporty red stripe down the middle as well as a silver triangle with the Plextor logo that lights up when the drive is powered on.
If you want to void your warranty, the heatsink can be removed by taking out a few of the screws on the back of the card. With it removed, you can see the thermal pads that Plextor has sandwiched in between the drive and heatsink.
With the heatsink out of the way, you can see the LED's on the PCIe card. In addition to the triangle shaped array that lights up when the drive is powered on, there is a strip along the top that flashes to show drive activity. The card also has an additional SATA power connector in case your motherboard's PCIe slot is unable to supply adequate power to the SSD. From my experiences, I found the extra connector to be unnecessary.
As I mentioned earlier, the M8Pe uses Marvell's 88SS1093 controller. This 8 channel, PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD controller is equipped with three ARM Cortex R5 cores and features support for 15nm TLC/MLC/SLC and 3D NAND. The 88SS1093 also integrates Marvell’s third generation NANDEdge error-correcting, low-density parity check (LDPC) technology for higher reliability and endurance.
For the 512GB version of the M8Pe, Plextor used Toshiba's 15nm Toggle Mode MLC NAND flash. Looking at the pictures above, you can see that there are two 256GB NAND flash packages on the top of the PCB. The drive also has a single Samsung 512MB LPDDR3 DRAM memory chip that is used for caching.