Solid State Drives Guide

Plextor M5 Pro (256GB) review

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

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Overall rating 7.5/10
Performance:
8
Features:
6.5
Value:
7
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


Test Setup

Test Setup

The drives tested on our storage testbed, has the following system specifications:

  • Intel Core i5-2400 (3.1GHz)
  • MSI Z68A-GD80 (Intel Z68 chipset)
  • 2 x 4GB DDR3-1600 memory
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS
  • Windows 7

The list of SSDs tested are as follows:

  • Plextor M5 Pro (256GB) (Firmware 1.01)
  • Plextor M2S (256GB) (Firmware 1.09)
  • OCZ Vertex 4 (256GB) (Firmware 1.5 Beta)
  • Transcend SATA III SSD720 (256GB) (Firmware: 5.0.2)
  • Kingmax SATA III SSD SMP35 Client (240GB) (Firmware: L0306)
  • Intel SSD 520 Series (240GB)
  • Crucial M4 SSD (240GB)
  • Kingston HyperX SSD (240GB)

The new Plextor M5 Pro will be pitted against the current bumper crop of ultra-quick SandForce drives and this includes the new Intel SSD 520 Series and the Transcend SATA III SSD720. Also, it will be interesting to see how the M5 Pro matches up against the OCZ Vertex 4, which we have speculated to be using the same Marvell 88SS9187 controller. We’ve also included a year-old Plextor M2S SSD. Although targeted at more mainstream users, this drive uses the older Marvel 88S9174 controller (like the Crucial M4), and would be a good reference against the M5 Pro.

Also, a note to add is that updating firmware on the Plextor drives is a troublesome process because it requires you to write the firmware to a writeable CD or DVD and then booting from it. Seeing that Transcend, OCZ and Kingmax all have much simpler updating procedures which require users to only download an update utility, we can’t see why Plextor couldn’t do the same.

The list of benchmarks used are as follows:

  • AS-SSD benchmark 1.6.4
  • HD Tune Pro 4.6
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1
  • PCMark 7
  • PCMark Vantage
  • Iometer (version 2006.07.27)