There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding Plextor's M5 Pro / Xtreme products. The M5 Pro hit the market several months ago and was one of the first SSDs to use Toshiba's 19nm Toggle NAND. At the time we didn't realize Toshiba already had a newer design in the works. The first 19nm NAND has an 8K page size, the standard we've had for the last few years. The new 16KB page size is the future and will eventually allow for higher density NAND dies and packages.
The Plextor M5 Pro uses the 8K page size design and the new Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme uses the new 16KB page size. That's pretty simple, a change to the BOM and a new tag, but it isn't. Just prior to announcing the M5 Pro Xtreme, Plextor released Xtreme firmware for the original M5 Pro. The Xtreme firmware gives a solid boost across the full spectrum with the largest performance bump coming in the sequential read and write area. This is good news for those who've already purchased a Plextor M5 Pro because with the Xtreme firmware updates, version 1.02 and above, you gain some free performance.
When we reviewed the M5 Pro 256GB the first time with firmware 1.00 we felt as if Plextor held back with the release. In the review, we commented that the M3 Pro performed better in a few key areas. Plextor isn't just sitting back and letting Xtreme 1.02 become the end all be all for M5 Pro either. After finishing this article, Plextor released version 1.03. 1.03 doesn't introduce a radical shift in performance like 1.02 did, but it does increase the efficiency of TRIM so some of our benchmarks might see even higher results.
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