M.2 is destined to supplant mSATA in the near future. Right now, however, mSATA has something to offer that is not available from M.2 devices: bootable RAID 0. The M5M is most similar to Plextor's M5 Pro Xtreme, utilizing the same Marvell 88SS9187 controller, 19nm Toshiba flash, and firmware. Plextor's M5 Pro Xtreme is a decent performer in its standard 2.5-inch form, and today we're going to see what the mSATA version of Plextor's M5 series can deliver in RAID 0.
As you might imagine, mSATA SSDs typically do not have nearly the number of flash packages as their 2.5-inch counterparts. This reduction in the number of flash packages reduces the drive's parallelism (NAND channels), which in turn reduces a typical mSATA SSD's sequential and random write performance in comparison to its 2.5-inch counterparts. Random read performance (IOPS) takes a hit from a reduced number of NAND channels; however, sequential read performance is not affected.
As you can see in the above picture, there is nothing quite as slick as a couple of tiny, high-performance SSDs that mount directly to a motherboard with no power or data cables required. Plextor's M5M mSATA SSDs compete in the same consumer space as Samsung's EVO mSATA SSDs. Competing with EVO mSATA SSD's performance and price is a tall order, with the M5M's redeeming feature being its superior quality flash.
Plextor's M5 series is not a new SSD. Plextor recently launched their new M6 series SSDs, although from what I've seen, the M5 is every bit as fast as the M6. The way I see it, you are better off purchasing an M5 for a lower cost.
At TweakTown, we take no prisoners, and as such, we are tossing our M5M 256GB 2-drive mSATA array into the ring with the very best arrays we have. Let's see what happens.
PRICING: You can find Plextor's M5M (256GB) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Plextor M5M (256GB) retails for $179.86 at Amazon.