Plextor M5 Pro 256GB review
256GB sata solid-state disk
Plextor's new high-end M5 Pro uses the latest 19nm NAND memory technology, giving it a welcome speed boost. At £202, it may seem more expensive than some SSDs with a similar capacity, but it’s actually not a bad price for an SSD with 19nm NAND memory. Even so, the Plextor M5 Pro costs 79p per gigabyte, which is significantly more than the 59p per gigabyte cost of the OCZ Vertex 4, a drive that provides a good balance of price and performance.
Many modern SSDs use SandForce controllers, but Plextor has used a Marvell chip in the M5 Pro. It’s the first time a commercial SSD has used Marvell’s 88SS9187-BLD2 controller, but it’s not as simple as soldering the chip to the board and shipping an SSD: Marvell doesn’t supply firmware with its chips, so Plextor has designed its own.
The 19nm memory inside the Plextor is Toggle Mode NAND, which is the fastest Flash memory, and the SanDisk-produced memory here uses custom algorithms that are designed to improve reliability.
The Plextor M5 Pro is a decent SSD and was quick in our benchmarks
The Plextor M5 Pro delivered a good set of benchmark results. In our large-file write and read tests the Plextor scored 497MB/s and 431MB/s, which is quicker than the 423MB/s and 327MB/s scored by the OCZ Vertex 4, but not quite as quick as the Toshiba THNSNF, which scored 515MB/s and 425MB/s respectively.
The Plextor fell between the two drives in the small-file benchmarks, too. The M5 Pro wrote and read the files at 143MB/s and 81MB/s, which is better than the 84MB/s and 56MB/s results of the Vertex 4, but still isn’t as quick as the Toshiba THNSNF which scored 150MB/s and 90MB/s respectively.
It’s certainly one of the quickest SSDs we’ve tested, but the Plextor M5 Pro gives you more than speed. Its five-year warranty is long, and sure to give you peace of mind. You also get a 3.5in bracket, so you can fit it in any case with a spare hard drive slot. It’s 7mm thick, so it’ll fit in the smallest laptops too.
The Plextor is an extremely quick SSD, but the Toshiba THNSNF is faster still, and the 512GB and 256GB variants of the Toshiba THNSNF are the models we’d currently choose for ultimate performance. If you want speed and value, the OCZ Vertex 4 is quick and much better value at 59p per gigabyte.
The combination of 19nm NAND and a Marvell controller with custom firmware pays dividends, and the Plextror M5 Pro is a great SSD, but we prefer the slightly cheaper OCZ Vertex 4.