Plextor M5 Pro SSD (256GB) - Marvelous Marvell?

A New Marvell Controller

A New Marvell Controller

For most users, you might be more familiar with the brand Plextor as an optical drive manufacturer. However, recognizing that the days of the optical drive are numbered, Plextor diversified their product offerings to include SSDs, releasing their first SSD product in 2010.

Today, Plextor is recognized as one of the top SSD makers, at least in foreign circles. Specifically, Plextor is admired for its reliability and performance, and its insistence on using Marvell-based controllers as opposed to the more popular SandForce ones.

The new M5 Pro follows in this tradition and is powered by the latest Marvell 88SS9187 controller. This is Marvell’s third-generation controller is the successor to the older 88SS9174 which was used in SSDs such as the Intel SSD 510 Series and Crucial M4. Incidentally, the M5 Pro is the first drive in our lab to officially use the new Marvell controller. We say officially because we indicated that the recently reviewed OCZ Vertex 4 could very well be using this very controller too, however OCZ has neither confirmed or denied this speculation.

The M5 Pro is the successor the M3 Pro and is Plextor’s current top-of-the-line SSD model. Targeted at enthusiasts who demand the very best, the M5 Pro also uses Toshiba’s new 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND memory chips and the latest SATA 6Gbps interface. Plextor will offer the M5 Pro in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities.

Here’s a look at the Plextor M5 Pro drive:-

The new Plextor M5 Pro is a simple-looking SSD with a brushed aluminum cover. Like most SSDs, it comes in a 7mm form factor so it'll fit into notebooks with ease.

SATA 6Gbps interface for the quickest possible transfers.

In terms of accessories, the Plextor M5 Pro comes with only an installation bracket. No SATA data or power cables.

The Good
Very good Iometer performance
Overall performance shows lots of promise
The Bad
Erratic performance on Futuremark benchmarks and HD Tune
Firmware is troublesome to update
Firmware needs optimizing
Very pricey

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