Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Instead of diving into the specifications we normally talk about, the ones you can easily see above, I want to go into more detail about the new third generation Marvell controller. The Marvell 88SS9187 controller used in the Plextor M5 Pro brings a number of new features to the Marvell brand. SATA 3.1 is fully supported and brings queued TRIM commands to the table, a feature that's been problematic for some controller manufacturers. The amount of time for TRIM to complete under Windows 8 was reduced from Windows 7. By queuing TRIM commands they can perform faster much like native command queuing does for random reads and writes.
Link power management is another new feature, but as you'll see in our article today, this is something Plextor needs to work on a bit more. The M5 Pro and M5 Pro Xtreme use quite a bit of power, more than OCZ's Vector and Samsung's 840 Pro, despite Plextor's claims of the lowest active and stand-by power consumption at this performance level.
The Marvell 88SS9187 is an 8-channel controller that now features AES-256 bit encryption. The onboard error correction is now 128-bit, an improvement on the previous 88SS9174 controller used in a number of SSDs.
We hit Newegg to check out the current prices and to see if the new Xtreme model hit US shores yet. It looks like Plextor is just about sold out of first generation M5 Pro drives; there are a few 256GB models left at $209.99. The 128GB and 512GB are sold out, at least for now. We also observed zero Xtreme models listed.
The M5 Pro 256GB, the same model we're using to evaluate the new firmware is quite a deal at $209.99. It's cheaper than OCZ's Vector 256GB ($237.99) and Samsung's 840 Pro 256GB ($229.99). All three drives share the same five year warranty so warranty isn't a factor when making your purchasing decision.