Capacity of the Plextor M2 Series for the user ends up being 119 GB reported through Windows which is 7% less than what is physically on board, mostly due to the fun gibabyte vs gigabyte unit difference that likes to complicate matters of storage.
Looking at the read and write specifications of 420 MB/s and 210 MB/s respectively, it’s obvious that the overall performance is less than that of the the Vertex 3 drives with the new SandForce controllers. However, the maximum specifications can be a little misleading since the SandForce controllers employ data compression to boost performance which leads to inconsistencies in performance depending on the data being transferred.
Where does this leave us? It’s actually hard to say. While the newest generation SandForce drives are clearly faster at peak performance, when faced with incompressible data the performance the margin of difference in performance is narrowed significantly although the Plextor still lags behind. In real world use this difference may not even be noticeable and we couldn’t tell any discernible difference when using Windows through various activities. The real difference may ultimately lie in the long term performance and lifespan as the algorithms for wear-leveling will be different so longevity as will differences in write amplification. Plextor does back their drives with a three year warranty, which is pretty standard these days.
For $279.99, the price per usable gigabyte for the Plextor ends up around $2.35 which is slightly higher than that of the 128GB Vertex 3 although it does come with the Acronis True Image software. With the lower rated specifications, consumers may overlook the Plextor in favor of some of the newest SandForce based drives simply based on that alone. This may have some merit but the numbers don’t tell the whole story and it remains to be seen how they will fare in the long run. Other SSD companies like Corsair offer a drive series called, the Performance 3 series, that use this same Marvell controller. That drive retails for $319.99 and we expect to have a review up on it very soon. The reason we bring this SSD up is that is uses the same controller and costs $40 more, which makes the Plextor M2 SSD look like a pretty good deal. If forced to choose, I’d pick the SandForce controlled drive over the Marvell controlled drive as the performance overall is better and SandForce has done a nice job with their DuraClass technologies. The Marvell controller is highly regarded however; after all, it’s the same one Intel is using in their new 510 Series drive and Corsair with their Performance 3 series drive so that should carry some weight with consumers.
Legit Bottom Line: While the Plextor M2 Series puts up some nice performance numbers and offers the SATA 6Gbps interface, consumers will likely gravitate towards the newest SandForce controlled drives simply due to their sheer speed advantage.