Plextor is perhaps best known for their optical drives began producing way back in 1989. Fast forward to 2009 and perhaps they saw the writing on the wall with the introduction of the MacBook Air sans optical drive and branched out a bit by rolling out their first SSD drive. Since then, they’ve offered several models for both enterprise and consumer application. More recently, they gotten in on the ground floor of the mSATA SSD train which brings us to the matter at hand with our first look at their M5M series mSATA drive and more specifically, the 128GB version. While not groundbreaking from a hardware configuration standpoint, we’ve found that it packs a pretty good punch and matches up well with the competition. Just how well we’ll discuss during the course of the article.
Plextor offers capacities of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB which can be had for $74.99, $114.99, and $199.99 respectively. Performance numbers range from 160MB/s to 430MB/s in writes depending on the drive capacity and 540MB/s in reads across the board. All of the drives offer a three year warranty and a 2,400,000 hour MTBF. Let’s have a closer look at the components since we don’t have to actually open anything up to take a gander.
|DRAM Cache:||128MB DDR3||256MB DDR3||512MB DDR3|
|Read/Write Speed (Under Windows NTFS)|
|Seq Reads (SATA 6Gb/s):||Up to 540 MB/s||Up to 540 MB/s||Up to 540 MB/s|
|SeqWrites (SATA 6Gb/s):||Up to 160 MB/s||Up to 320 MB/s||Up to 430 MB/s|
|Rndm Reads (IOPS 4KB):||Up to 73,000||Up to 80,000||Up to 79,000|
|Rndm Writes (IOPS 4KB):||Up to 42,000||Up to 76,000||Up to 77,000|
|Environment and Reliability|
|Temperature:||0°C ~ 70°C (Operating)|
|Shock:||1500G, At 1 msec half-sine|
|Vibration:||7 ~ 800Hz, 2.17Grms (Operation)|
|Warranty:||3 years Plextor’s Warranty Service|
|OS Supported:||Microsoft Windows Family / Linux / Mac OS|
|Agency Approval:||BSMI, UL, TUV, C-Tick, CE, KCC, VCCI, FCC, RoHS, CB|
|Command Set Support:||TRIM, S.M.A.R.T., NCQ, ATA/ATAPI-8|
|DATA Encryption:||AES 256|
|Interface:||SATA 6Gb/s, compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s|
|Form Factor and Connectors|
|Form Factor:||JEDEC MO-300 mSATA SSD form factor|
|Power Connector:||3.3V mSATA connector for DC 3.3V input|
|Data Connector:||mSATA connector|
|Dimension and Weight|
|Dimension (W/L/H):||50.8mm x 29.8mm x 3.6mm|
First up is the 256MB Micron DDR3 cache that’s used by the controller to buffer data as needed which is common on most all drives except for those with a SandForce controller.
Storage components come complements of Toshiba with 19nm MLC NAND with part number TH58TEG8DDJBA8C. There are four total on the board with each being 32GB in density for 128GB total.
The M5M series is controlled by the most recent iteration of the Marvell controller carrying part number 88SS9187. This is the very same we’ve seen in a few drives already and it’s clearly the best performing controller Marvell has put out to date. Plextor employs custom firmware to get the performance they want and the more standard features are still there like TRIM support, 256-AES encryption and wear-leveling algorithms. One additional Plextor feature is their True Protect technology used to bolster data integrity by confirming with certainty that each piece of data is correctly stored using the newest 128-bit error correction code.