The Plextor M3 looks exactly the same as the previous model the M2. The new drive also supports SATA 3 but it's now a lot more affordable, costing just around $1.40 per gigabyte, compared with the $1.80 of the previous model.
The only explanation for this is that it's also now slightly slower than the M2 in my testing, though still very fast, performing on par with many other recent SATA 3-based SSDs. That said, it offers a great boost to any computer that moving to a SSD from a regular hard drive.
If you have a computer that's using a hard drive as the boot drive, the Plextor M3 makes a good replacement.
Design and features
|Drive type||Internal drive|
|Connector options||SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA|
|Available capacities||128GB, 256GB,|
|Product dimensions||9.5-mm thick, 2.5-inch standard|
|Capacity of test unit||256GB|
|OSes supported||Windows, Mac, Linux|
Like the M2 and some other SSDS, such as the SanDisk Ultra, the new Plextor M3 comes in an aluminum case, giving it an expensive look and a sturdy feel.
Unlike the recently reviewed Intel 520 series that's just 7mm thick and can fit in ultrabooks, the M3 is 9.5mm thick. This means it can only fit in standard laptops. The drive also comes with a drive bay adapter so it can replace a standard 3.5-inch desktop hard drive.
In my trials, the Plextor M3 worked with all of the SATA standards, including SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2 (3Gbps), and SATA (1.5Gbps). You will want to use it with a computer that supports at least SATA 2, which most computers do, or SATA 3 if you want to get the most out of its performance, however.
The Plextor M3 is powered by a Marvell 88SS9174 controller, which supports the TRIM command, features Global Wear Leveling, and has a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 1.5 million hours. The drive doesn't have overprovisioning, in which part of its storage space is dedicated to the controller. This explains why it offers a full 256GB (or 128GB) instead of 240GB like drives that have overprovisioning.
Cost per gigabyte
Following the SanDisk Extreme, the Plextor M3 also comes with friendly price tags of around $350 for the 256GB capacity and $185 for the 128GB capacity. This translates into around $1.40 per gigabyte, making them among the most affordable SATA 3-based SSDs on the market. This looks like a new trend in the pricing of SSDs, and hopefully their price will continue to go down. Compared with regular hard drives, though, they're still a lot more expensive.