The Plextor M3 Pro

The packaging for the Plextor M3 Pro is similar to the M3, with the main difference being the glossy design instead of matte. Inside the box you'll find a 3.5" bracket, mounting screws, and a software disc with cloning, backup and performance analyzer utilities—along with the SSD of course. Unfortunately there is still no toolbox utility included, at least not in our review unit, but I have some good news. Plextor has released a tool called Plextool and it's available free of charge for all owners of Plextor SSDs. We'll have more information about Plextool on the next page.

The exterior design follows the same guidelines as the M3, but Plextor has opted for a light grey metal for M3 Pro whereas the M3 uses a much darker, nearly black metal. On the back side sticker you will find info regarding capacity, serial number, and (shipped) firmware of the drive.

Another big difference between the M3 and M3 Pro is the fact that M3 Pro has height of 7mm while the M3 measures in at more common 9.5mm. The thinner design makes the M3 Pro more suitable for ultrabooks for instance.

Opening the cover reveals a familiar interior—we have seen this with Plextor M3 and Corsair Performance Series Pro already. Only the thermal pads are thinner in order to make the M3 Pro 7mm thick.

The NAND is once again from Toshiba and there are a total of eight NAND packages on the PCB. These are 32GiB quad-die packages and are manufactured using Toshiba's 24nm process. As in all consumer grade SSDs, the NAND is 2-bit-per-cell MLC NAND. There are also two 256MiB DDR3-1333 chips from Nanya, which gives the drive a cache of 512MiB.

The controller doesn't surprise either as it's Marvell 88SS9174-BLD, which is what we found inside the M3 as well.

Test System

CPU

Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo and EIST enabled)

Motherboard

AsRock Z68 Pro3

Chipset

Intel Z68

Chipset Drivers

Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel RST 10.2

Memory G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 2 x 4GB (9-9-9-24)
Video Card XFX AMD Radeon HD 6850 XXX
(800MHz core clock; 4.2GHz GDDR5 effective)
Video Drivers AMD Catalyst 10.1
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64

 

Introduction Introducing Plextool, Plextor's SSD Toolbox
POST A COMMENT

55 Comments

View All Comments

  • Chaitanya - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    I associate names like plextor and lite-on with optical discs. now they are into solid state media as well. wondering whats next. Reply
  • DaFox - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    Plextor was amazing back when optical drives were relevant. Reply
  • iamkyle - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    You mean, before they stopped manufacturing their own drives Reply
  • lexluthermiester - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    Quote; "back when optical drives were relevant."

    Last time I checked, optical drives are still in very common use for a wide variety of purposes. How are they not still relevant?
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    There was a time when a new CD-ROM or DVD-ROM would have people scouring the web for reviews because the new drive would offer greater and greater speeds.

    Nowadays, people just buy whatever's cheapest or goes good with their case. They MAY look at compatibility with discs beforehand, but often don't if they're looking at a $20 DVD-/+RW. If they do, that's a few user reviews and then bam, bought. If it's crap, they throw it away and buy another.

    This is far from the ancient times when a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM would warrant a full-on review with technical read-outs, minor speed differences against other models, etc. There's no point now because they're so cheap and there are no new advances being done in the field because USB storage (flash and hard drives) became so damn cheap along with the proliferation of online with digital storage.

    There's a new hotness in town and we should all queue up the Toy Story sad music for ODD's. I imagine all my ODD's talking in the dusty, plastic bin of forgotten tech. They scramble out and reminisce about the times I used to have with them. The old Lite-On DVD-RW chatting with a Plextor CD-RW. A 2x DVD-ROM by Creative talking to a Pioneer DVD-slot. Every now and then, a Zip drive crying, "Hai guyz! Im hear two!"

    And them all looking at him, patting him on the head, and saying, "Adults are speaking." Then lil' Zip drive'll look down and mumble something about how he used to be awesome. Meanwhile, my Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster 16, Sound Blaster AWE, Audigy, Audigy 2ZS, Aureal, Diamond 3dFX Voodoo, Voodoo 2 SLI, Matrox G200, they all chat amongst themselves about the days back when PC's were actually hard to build, compatibility was a shot in the dark and a prayer bound by McGuyver's chewing gum, and when installing Windows involved starting it and wandering away for 10 minutes (or less).

    The best days are behind us, I think. Strange how the easier things get, the less awesome they feel.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    If these posts were rated, you sir, would receive a +1 from me. Trips down memory lane are always fun to do now and again. I remember amber buying my first Texel drive in the very early 90s because they were so Mich more reliable, and faster.

    Those were truly the halcyon days...
    Reply
  • speculatrix - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    +1

    So much of what used to be hard is now trivial, and the young generation really don't need to understand how computers work. Sure that's no bad thing for productivity, but means we're raising new generations who are unable to design the next generation of hardware.

    Here is Cambridge England I see the average age of engineers rising all the time. Companies struggle to find truly gifted embedded skills.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Ah, the good old days of setting individual jumpers for a CPU's FSB, multiplier and voltage... Needing a dedicated cable that goes from your optical disk drive to your sound card JUST so you can play Audio...
    Setting IRQ's in the bios/windows... Fun days for the tinkerer.
    Now everything is just plug and play pretty much.
    Reply
  • versesuvius - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Let's see an Apple (McIntosh) user go down the memory lane. I suppose theirs turns out to be 1 centimeter in length. Something like:

    "It was always like this. We paid triple the amount a Windows user did. Then again we were always better than them. Steve Jobs may be gone, but we are still better than them. We are just better. Long live Steve."

    Just joking, of course.
    Reply
  • tjoynt - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    +1 Internets to you Sir or Mam! Thank you for bringing me down memory lane and reminding me how difficult and exciting it used to be. :) Now that everything pretty much Just Works, much of the fun and mystery is gone.

    Sure I follow the next hotness too, but building a computer today is like building with legos: just follow the pictures and snap it together. No more IRQ conflicts or DMA errors. RAM incompatibility is still a source of "fun" but that has always been annoying rather than interesting.

    Sure, we can focus on actually Getting Things Done now, but so can everyone else. Being a hardware geek is not as special anymore. Of course the complexity and flakiness of software will keep us well-rounded geeks well entertained (and employed) for quite a while to come. :)
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now