Plextor M5M mSATA SSD (128GB) - Small Wonder


Steroid for Ultrabooks

Unveiled just last month at CES 2013, Japanese firm Plextor has wasted no time in getting their M5M mSATA SSD out into the hands of the public.

The Plextor M5M mSATA SSD uses the mSATA drive form factor and it is incredibly compact, measuring just about 5.1cm long and 3cm wide. Incredibly, the drive weighs just 9 grams! Of course, it's just a PCB designed for the mSATA form factor with flash chips, so its physical traits sound just about right.

The drive was designed for enthusiasts who are looking for a bit more oomph in their Ultrabooks. In terms of components, the M5M is identical to Plextor’s current flagship - the Plextor M5 Pro Extreme - which we reviewed in September last year. The M5M uses the same Marvell 88SS9187 controller and also 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND from Toshiba. The firmware is also Plextor’s own. These top notch components should make for a fast drive.

The Plextor M5M aims to provide the same kind of performance that the flagship M5 Pro provides but in a smaller form factor.

Additionally, the drive also features Plextor’s True Speed and True Protect technologies. True Speed ensures maximum and sustained performance and works to prevent speed drops which may affect performance. This suite of technology comprises the use of Marvell’s SS881987 controller, top quality NAND and Plextor’s exclusive firmware. True Protect uses 128-bit error protection code to ensure data is stored properly and the drive also has full 256-bit AES drive encryption.

Despite the much smaller form factor and denser memory chips, the dip in claimed performance isn’t that drastic. Sequential speeds are still comparable, but random access performance takes a more significant dip. The 128GB M5M’s sequential read and write speeds of 540MB/s and 320MB/s are not that far off from the 128GB M5 Pro’s 540MB/s and 460MB/s. Random read and write performance was pretty comparable too - 80,000 IOPS / 76,000 IOPS vs 100,000 IOPS / 86,000 IOPS. The table below offers a clearer summary of the drive’s claimed performance.

Drive Sequential Read / Write Speeds Random Read / Write Speeds
Plextor M5M (mSATA SSD)

Read: 540MB/s
Write: 320MB/s

Read: Up to 80,000 IOPS
Write: Up to 76,000 IOPS

Plextor M5 Pro (SSD)

Read: 540MB/s
Write: 460MB/s

Read: Up to 100,000 IOPS
Write: Up to 86,000 IOPS

Here's a closer look at the drive.

For those who've not seen or dealt with mSATA devices, here's the Plextor M5M juxtaposed with a typical 2.5-inch form factor SSD. Look at how much smaller it is.

The drive uses four 19nm Toshiba Toggle-Mode NAND of 32GB density.

The Good
Good performance on AS SSD and Iometer
High-end Marvell controller and NAND memory chips
Well priced
The Bad
Erratic performance on HD Tune, PCMark 7 and PCMark Vantage

Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.