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Plextor M5 Pro 256GB PX-256M5P Solid State Drive Review - Final Thoughts

Plextor uses the new Marvell 9287 controller, new Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode Flash and gives us a new understanding of what it means to be fast.

| SSDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 2:19 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Plextor

Final Thoughts

 

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When Plextor launched the M3 and M3 Pro they were very excited about their reliability data. Now some of that data is coming out, but this time with the M5 Pro. Plextor claims they took 400 M5 Pro SSDs and stressed the drives for 500 hours. According to Plextor they not only completed the test without a failure, they didn't even have an error. With test sessions like that it's no wonder Plextor has retained the five year warranty on their flagship product.

 

The new Plextor M5 Pro is packed with new technology and we were pleasantly surprised in the performance offered. After testing 19nm at Computex 2012 we really didn't know what to expect with the final product builds. Also, after testing the OCZ Vertex 4 and dealing with its low QD1 sequential read speed, we didn't think the new Marvell 88SS9287 was going to be a winner in the enthusiast market. In our testing we can say that Plextor was able to push past those issues, but the new architecture has a few surprises ahead too. As I write this the M5 Pro has been in my possession for around 12 hours and I feel there are still secrets to unravel. Over the next couple of days we'll dig a bit deeper into what might be a TRIM issue. We'll also explore how aggressive Plextor went with the background garbage collection.

 

One area that we didn't touch on today is possibly one of the Plextor M5 Pro's greatest attributes. Plextor is touting the M5 Pro's very low power consumption, but at the time of this article, we simply were not ready to start publishing power data from our own test methodology. In the next 30 days we'll have a full report with the power draw from a high number of industry leading SSDs. With the M5 Pro's 19nm Toggle Flash, we feel this might be a real contender for the least power consuming crown.

 

At this time we feel the Plextor M5 Pro is a very capable SSD and given Plextor's claim of untouchable reliability, there isn't anything that says you shouldn't buy this drive. That said, there are also a few variables that we can't fill in right now and those blanks can be the difference between recommending the drive and telling you to wait for a firmware update. The first missing link is the TRIM issue we think we found. With background garbage collection, missing TRIM is not as big of a deal as it is with a drive without background GC. The drive will clean itself on its own over time when the system is idle. Since we haven't had the time to test idle time GC we can't way how well it's working right now.

 

Then there is the price. At Computex we were told that the M5 would take the price of the M3 and the M5 Pro would take the price of the M3 Pro. This morning I found the M3 Pro 256GB for right around $260. That's just over $1 per GB which is fine, but there are several really good SSDs on the market for less than $1 per GB. The difference between those and the M5 Pro is 19nm Toshiba Toggle Mode flash. At 19nm, Toshiba can fit more chips per wafer so the potential is there for the M5 Pro to come in at an even lower price than the M3 Pro. Then again, Toshiba just announced they were reducing flash output by 30%, so that might not be the case this time.

 

Let's re-visit the Plextor M5 Pro when we choose the best SSD for your notebook/ultrabook in a couple of weeks. There are just too many unanswered questions we have to influence your decision one way or the other at this time. We'll keep you posted as best as possible.

 

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