Plextor M5M mSATA SSD (128GB) - Small Wonder

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 drives tested:

  • Plextor M5M mSATA (128GB)
  • Intel SSD 520 Series mSATA (180GB)
  • Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme (256GB) (Firmware: 1.02)
  • Intel SSD 520 Series (240GB)
  • SanDisk Extreme (240GB)

Since we haven’t reviewed an mSATA SSD for quite some time, we’ll be pitting the new Plextor M5M against the Intel SSD 520 Series mSATA SSD which we’ve extracted from the Intel NUC Mini-PC, which we’ve reviewed earlier.

Though not a fair comparison, given the different capacities, the Intel SSD 520 Series mSATA SSD will provide a good gauge of the Plextor drive's performance.

The Intel SSD 520 mSATA SSD is a comparable SSD that uses the popular SandForce SF-2281 controller and 25nm MLC NAND chips from IMFT. Our drive is the 180GB variant and so uses three NAND chips of 64GB density. Although its differing capacitiy means it won’t be fair to compare one against the other, however, it will give a good idea of where the Plextor M5M stands in terms of overall performance.

We will also be paying close attention to how the Plextor M5M performs against the flagship M5 Pro. Since our review of the M5 Pro, the drive has received numerous firmware upgrades, and the latest firmware update "transforms" the drive into the M5 Pro Xtreme, which is capable of a claimed random read speed of 100,000 IOPS.

The list of benchmarks used are as follows:

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

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