Plextor's new flagship M5 Pro Xtreme hits our lab in the 256GB capacity size. Can Plextor break into the top performance tier with this product or will Xtreme just be another mainstream drive with aspirations of the crown?
Recently we posted a retake review of the Plextor M5 Pro using the new Xtreme 1.02 firmware. Around the same time the new firmware update was released, Plextor also released an official branded 'Xtreme' SSD. The new Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme drives ship with new Xtreme firmware preinstalled, uses new Toshiba Toggle 19nm 2bpc NAND and has a more aggressive garbage collection scheme.
The physical change in the form of new NAND is quite a bit different from the older 19nm Toggle. The chips are now TSOP instead of BGA, but the largest change is the page size. 2bpc uses 16KB page sizes, which doubles the page size of the first generation 19nm Toggle.
The preinstalled firmware, version 1.02, delivers a performance boost over the M5 Pro's 1.0 release firmware. The M5 Pro original does accept the new 1.02 and newest 1.03 release, the same as the new Xtreme branded drive. We're not sure if the new firmware programs the old Pro with the new garbage collection scheme that starts the garbage collection at 10% and makes it more aggressive as the drive continues to use up free blocks.
The old 1.0 firmware didn't start GC until 4% so this is a nice change for consumer users because it helps keep the drive fresh and running at higher speeds. The trade off is higher write amplification.
Firmware details aside, let's dive in and take a look at the new M5 Pro Xtreme SSD.
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