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Review: Plextor M5 Pro (256GB)

by Parm Mann on 17 December 2012, 12:00 4.0

Tags: Plextor

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We've lost count of how many SSDs we've tested in recent years, but somehow or other, we've managed to overlook Plextor's efforts. It's time to right that self-confessed wrong, so we're putting one of the company's latest drives - the M5 Pro - under the spotlight in today's review.

We've been sent a 256GB sample to play with, and it's a drive that's interesting for two reasons in particular: 1) the M5 Pro is one of the world's first SSDs equipped with a third-generation, dual-core Marvell 88SS9187 controller, and 2) it's also the first consumer SSD armed with Toshiba's 19nm Toggle Mode MLC NAND.

Popping open the sleek, 7mm-thick casing reveals the underlying components neatly arranged on a full-size PCB. The new Marvell controller sits alongside a pair of Nanya 256MB DDR3 memory chips - combining to create a 512MB cache - and eight Toshiba NAND memory chips are lined up on both sides of the 2.5in board.

Cutting-edge components make for a tantalising SSD, and Plextor's aiming the M5 Pro at business users who seek 'enterprise-class components,' 'rigorous quality control' and 'superb performance.' In fact, the manufacturer is so confident that it candidly states that "M5 Pro is currently the most reliable solution for 2.5-inch solid-state drives."

Plextor M5 Pro Specifications

DRAM Cache
256MB DDR3
512MB DDR3
768MB DDR3
Sequential Read Speed
(SATA 6Gb/s)
Up to 540 MB/s
Up to 540 MB/s
Up to 540 MB/s
Sequential Write Speed
(SATA 6Gb/s)
Up to 330 MB/s
Up to 460 MB/s
Up to 470 MB/s
Random Read Speed 
Up to 92,000
Up to 100,000
Up to 100,000
Random Write Speed 
Up to 82,000
Up to 86,000
Up to 88,000
Power Consumption
Bundled Accessory
3.5” Bracket
Bundled Software
NTI Echo Backup Software
5 Years
Approx. UK Retail Price

Plextor's not shy about the M5 Pro's capabilities, and a quick look at the specification sheet shows why. Read and write speeds of up to 540MB/s and 460MB/s, respectively, for the 256GB model are up there with the best, and the drive's capable of hitting up to 100,000 input/output operations per second.

Performance does dip slightly for the cheaper 128GB variant - which has a smaller cache and fewer NAND memory chips interfacing with the dual-channel controller - but the M5 Pro is a serious bit of kit whichever way you look at it. Plextor bolsters the deal by attaching a five-year warranty as standard, and the bundle includes a 3.5in mounting bracket as well as an installation key for NTI's Echo drive-cloning software.

There are cheaper SSDs on the market that offer enough speed to satiate the needs of most consumers, but Plextor's aiming for businesses or extreme home users who are willing to pay the extra for a drive that touts an enviable mix of speed and reliability. Let's run the M5 Pro through the benchmarks to see if it delivers.