Introduction

Plextor's strength lies in performance and quality. As we saw with the M3 Pro, they have a firmware team capable of delivering top-of-the-class performance: The M3 Pro was easily the fastest Marvell 88SS9174 based SSD and overall it was one of the fastest SATA 6Gbps SSDs we have ever tested. When looking at NewEgg reviews, Plextor's SSDs have only few one or two-egg reviews, which speaks for many satisfied customers. With the performance and quality combo, Plextor's SSDs are not as price competitive as some other SSDs are, although Plextor is aiming for wider audience with the M5S

Due to our positive experience with Plextor's SSDs, I've been super excited about the M3 Pro's successor: the M5 Pro. Plextor is the first SSD manufacturer to use Marvell's new 88SS9187 controller, which is paired with Toshiba's brand new 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND. I can't lie, I've been looking forward to reviewing the M5 Pro for quite a while. Ever since the M3 Pro review, I've been waiting for something faster. The M5S was merely an incremental update with different NAND and new firmware; it didn't bring any major performance improvements. The M5 Pro should eliminate the possible bottlenecks created by Marvell's 9174 but as there are currently no other Marvell 9187 based SSDs (OCZ Vertex 4 and Agility 4 may be, but there hasn't been any confirmation on the exact silicon), it's rather hard to know what to expect. Given the performance of the M3 Pro, the bar has been set high and if the M5 Pro is faster than M3 Pro,  we may be looking at the fastest SATA 6Gbps SSD on the market. Lets start off with the specifications:

 
Plextor M5 Pro Specifications
Model PX-128M5P PX-256M5P PX-512M5P
Controller Marvell 88SS9187
NAND Toshiba 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND
Raw NAND Capacity 128GiB 256GiB 512GiB
User Capacity 119.2GiB 238.5GiB 476.9GiB
Number of NAND Packages 8 8 8
Number of Die per Package 2 4 8
Sequential Read 540MB/s 540MB/s 540MB/s
Sequential Write 340MB/s 450MB/s 450MB/s
4K Random Read 91K IOPS 94K IOPS 94K IOPS
4K Random Write 82K IOPS 86K IOPS 86K IOPS
Cache (DDR3) 256MB 512MB 768MB
Warranty 5 years

Plextor doesn't offer a 64GB M5 Pro at all. There was no 64GB M3 Pro either, so this is hardly a surprise. 60/64GB SSDs are more about price because the limited NAND bandwidth is already a bottleneck and users buying such small SSDs are already making a compromise. With 128GB SSDs selling for less than $100, I see no point in buying a 60/64GB SSD anyway - you get twice the capacity and much better performance for only $10-$40 more. On the other hand, there is no 512GB SKU in the M5S lineup, so you need to jump for the M5 Pro if you need more than 256GB.

NewEgg Price Comparison (8/31/2012)
  64GB 128GB 256GB 512GB
Plextor M5 Pro N/A $190 (MSRP) $320 (MSRP) $650 (MSRP)
Plextor M5S $70 $85 $200 N/A
Plextor M3 Pro N/A $160 $270 $650
Plextor M3 N/A $130 $250 $400
Crucial m4 $73 $110 $210 $400
Intel 520 Series $100 $132 $230 $500
Samsung 830 Series $85 $119 $230 $570
OCZ Vertex 3 $70 $85 $180 $500
OCZ Vertex 4 $65 $110 $190 $530

US availability has been delayed until mid-September, so all we have for now are the manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRPs). Usually MSRPs are noticeably higher than what street prices end up being but the M5 Pro is definitely not cheap. My guess is that the M5 Pro will take the price points of M3 Pro once it becomes available as that is what happened with the M5S and M3. However, the M3 Pro is not very affordable when compared to other SSDs, so you'll have to pay a premium if you want Plextor's Pro SSD. 

Inside the M5 Pro and Test Setup
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  • TemjinGold - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Was looking forward to this drive beating the Vertex 4 but not only does it not do that, it also costs a ridiculous amount... Reply
  • scottwilkins - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I'd call it a win if Plextor does better with less DOA units and better customer support. Every OCZ I've bought has required a firmware update, which are hard to do at best to start with. And I've just had too many OCZ failed drives. Sometimes second place is better, and in this case it might very well be so. Reply
  • LB-ID - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Amen to that, brother. OCZ drives are released in an alpha/beta state, and their support is simply atrocious. I'd far rather pay a little more and deal with a reputable company than go through the nightmare that is 'working' with OCZ. Reply
  • heffeque - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Plextor, unlike OCZ, does have a 5 year warranty... Reply
  • extide - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    actually, all Vertex 4's have 5 year warranty too Reply
  • TemjinGold - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I would agree if they were close to the same price. Plextor is better but not for nearly 2x the price. Reply
  • hansmuff - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Kind of depends on how much your time is worth. If you have a lot of downtime due to the SSD crapping out, the Plextor might be well worth it. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    That's another reason why nVidia wins over amd gpu's. Reply
  • iamezza - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    piss off troll Reply
  • stalker27 - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    :) ... he probably didn't get that "piss off troll" translates to "over the past years several large EU retailers have released reliability reports and AMD, in the graphics department, did some of the most reliable cards, Nv... not so much. Cudos to AMD's partners! RIP BFG! Reply

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