X

Plextor M5 Pro review: Plextor M5 Pro

Plextor introduced the first solid-state drive that uses Marvell's 88SS9187 Monet controller, the M5 Pro today, that proved to be one of the fastest on the market.

Dong_Ngo.jpg
Dong Ngo
Dong_Ngo.jpg

Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

See full bio
4 min read

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

I've been reviewing solid-state drives (SSDs) from Plextor in order, starting with the M2, then the M3, but now I just broke that pattern by jumping straight to the M5 Pro, which was announced today, skipping the M5s.

Plextor M5 Pro solid-state drive (128GB)
8.1

Plextor M5 Pro

The Good

The <b>Plextor M5 Pro</b> solid-state drive (SSD) offers fast performance and comes with useful accessories and software.

The Bad

The drive doesn't include a USB-SATA adapter, and its pricing is not known at the time of the review.

The Bottom Line

Fast and compatible with all systems, the Plextor M5 Pro would be a great solid-state drive for anyone who can afford it.

The reason for this? Apart from doing it just because I could, the M5 Pro is intended to be Plextor's new top-tier drive and also the first from the company that supports the new 7mm design. I've got my priorities straight; in my testing, the drive indeed deserved this special attention.

The M5 Pro looks a lot better than Plextor's previous drives, which already look very good, and also offers fast performance. It also comes with a drive bay converter and more software than you need. Unfortunately, since I actually tested it prior to its release date, the information on its pricing wasn't available. That said, if the drive costs around $1.50 per gigabyte or less, it will make an excellent investment.

If not, you should also check out the Intel 520 series, the RunCore Pro V as alternatives, and I will possibly lower its rating.

Design and features

Drive type 7mm thick, 2.5-inch standard Internal drive
Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Product dimensions 7mm thick, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 256GB
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

The Plextor M5 Pro is the fourth SSD I've reviewed that comes in the new 7mm thickness. This means that, similar to the Intel 520, the RunCore Pro V, or the Monster Digital Le Mans, it can fit in ultrabooks as well as regular laptop computers that use regular 2.5-inch hard drives. The new SSD also includes a 3.5-inch drive converter for you to use it with a desktop machine, the way you install a regular desktop hard drive.

Inside the compact package, you'll also find an NTi SSD Utility Suite that includes drive clone software and backup software. This helps you quickly update your existing computer from a hard drive (or an old SSD) to the Plextor M5 Pro. Unlike the Monster Digital, the M5 Pro doesn't include a USB - SATA adapter, so you'll have to get one by yourself in caseyou want to upgrade your laptop. For desktops, you can install the drive as a secondary drive for the cloning process.

In my trials, the Plextor M5 Pro worked with all of the SATA standards, including SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2 (3Gbps), and SATA (1.5Gbps). You will want to use it a computer that supports SATA 3, however, if you want to get the most out of its performance.

While the look and function of the Plextor M5 Pro are very similar to its peer, on the inside, the drive is quite different. It's the first drive I've seen that uses Marvell's 88SS9187 Monet controller, which supposedly provides enterprise-grade double data protection. It's hard to test this out, however, since it can only proved by using the drive over time but the drive is slated to offer more than 2.4 million hours of meantime between failure, about double that of others.

To prove its confidence in the new drive's longevity and reliability, Plextor gives it the top five-year warranty.  When it comes to storage devices, the warranty time is the most important and Plextor deliver in the case of the M5 Pro.

Performance
I am not sure about the Plextor M5 Pro's lifespan, which'd take more time than I can afford to test, but I was in impressed by the its performance. With just 11 seconds boot time and 6-second shutdown time, the drive will definitely bring a new life to a computer that's been running a hard drive as its main drive.

All applications also took much shorter time in my trials to load and the test computer resumed from sleep mode instantly. The drive also did very well in in sequential write and read performance test, where I measured how fast it can transfer a large amount of data.

When used as a secondary drive, where the Plextor could show its top performance since it only performed the writing, drive scored some 250MBps. When used as a host drive of a computer and did both writing and reading at the same time, it registered 156MBps. Both of these numbers were among the top three of all SSDs I've seen.

Boot and shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Shutdown  
Boot Time  

Sandisk Extreme
6 
11 

Plextor M5 Pro
6.21 
11.1 

OCZ Octane
6.3 
12 

Patriot Pyro
6 
12.5 

Plextor M3
7 
13 

Samsung 830 Series
6 
13.3 

SanDisk Ultra
7.2 
13.5 

Crucial M4
6.8 
13.7 

OCZ Vertex 3
5.8 
14.1 

OCZ Agility 3
6.7 
14.7 

WD Velociraptor 600GB
7.9 
45.4 

WD Velociraptor 300GB
12.2 
56.2 

Data transfer scores (in MB per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
As Secondary Drive  
As OS Drive  

Samsung 830 Series
261.63 
172.88 

OCZ Vertex 3
260.71 
150.01 

Plextor M5 Pro
251.19 
155.65 

OCZ Vertex 4 (512GB)
246.55 
168.36 

RunCore Pro V 7mm
236.71 
155.89 

Crucial M4
235.51 
117.99 

Sandisk Extreme
234.15 
117.66 

Intel 520 series
230.01 
154.01 

Plextor M3
221.98 
110.4 

OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 

OCZ Vertex 4 (256GB)
190.34 
148.33 

Patriot Pyro
190.01 
76.44 

RunCore Pro V Max
186.78 
92.55 

OCZ Octane
183.41 
135.43 

Monster Digital Le Mans
177.56 
121.11 

WD Velociraptor 600GB
126.33 
58.05 

Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 

WD Velociraptor 300GB
112.59 
47.12 

Sandisk Ultra
96.4 
65.6 

Conclusion
With such great performance, the Plextor M5 Pro will likely make a great SSD for anybody. The drive is slated to be available later this month; let's hope its pricing will make it easy for consumers to enjoy it.

Plextor M5 Pro solid-state drive (128GB)
8.1

Plextor M5 Pro

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8Support 9