You may not have noticed but there's been a changing of the guard when it comes to SSDs based on Marvell controllers. The first Marvell SATA 6G drive to enter the market was the Crucial C300. The C300 battled it out with the first generation SandForce controller which at the time were limited to SATA 3G speeds of 285MB/s read. The C300 took advantage of SATA 6G and mustered an impressive 375MB/s read speed in our tests of the 256GB model. At that time Crucial was the only SSD manufacture using a Marvell controller. Last year Crucial released their second product based on a Marvell controller, the Crucial m4. The exclusivity was lost though as more companies started churning out products based on the Marvell design, mainly Intel, Corsair and Plextor.
The competition wasn't favorable for Crucial and the Marvell SSD market was pretty evenly divided amongst the newly formed Team Marvell group. For the most part each of these Marvell products resembled the other and there wasn't a real standout. Intel jumped ship completely and is now playing for Team SandForce, partly because they couldn't compete with their IMFT flash and the Marvell controller. Crucial is in that same boat as of now but with 20nm IMFT flash far on the horizon they are a ship without a paddle. Then there is the unbound.
Plextor, without restrictions on flash type was able to move away from the aging 25nm IMFT flash and set their sails towards a performance treasure chest, 24nm Toshiba Toggle Mode Flash.
There's performance on this island, we just have to find it
Initially Plextor launched M3, the first retail SSD to use Toshiba's 24nm Toggle Mode flash. The performance was very good, but Plextor kept digging for more. The Marvell controller has a history of lacking write performance during the initial stages of drive development.
In some cases this is intentional so companies can manufacture two products that are divided by performance, a mainstream and an enthusiast SKU. The Plextor M3 Series was the mainstream, now we have the Pro model and it's built for you.
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