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Plextor's 256 GB M5S: A Little Pricey, But A Definite Contender

Plextor M5S 256 GB Review: Marvell Inside, With A Twist
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Plextor's M5S, which employs a Marvell controller and in-house optimized firmware, represents a real improvement to the M3S, and we can't help but think that this cost-optimized SSD could have been the fastest in our comparison were it equipped with Toggle-mode NAND. Despite its slower synchronous ONFi-compatible interface, the M5S performs exceptionally well, particularly during the low queue depth read tests, which are very relevant to most desktop users.

It also had little trouble besting Crucial's m4 in most cases. Although the Plextor M5S benefits from a larger cache than the Crucial m4, our benchmarks demonstrate that the Plextor firmware is more refined and able to deliver better results from the same Marvell processor.


The SSD market is very competitive, though, and ultimately, the way Plextor prices its M5S is going to determine whether it's successful. Right now, the 256 GB M5S is selling on Newegg for $250. That's just under $1/GB, which we really like. However, a 256 GB m4 can be had for $210, and a 256 GB Samsung 830 even manages to dip under $200 (an astounding $.77/GB). Both of those drives deliver compelling performance as well, so we think Plextor needs to bring its price down in response.

Of course, performance and pricing aren't the only variable influencing your purchasing decision. How about reliability? Support?

Plextor's name is synonymous with quality and innovation thanks to years of selling some of the most desirable optical drives. No doubt, it'll need to prove that it carries over the same approach to its solid-state storage offerings. Indeed, we've been battering this drive for more than three weeks now, and it hasn't given us a single issue. Samsung and Crucial both offer similar three-year warranties as Plextor, so they're on fairly even ground as far as confidence goes.

We know, however, that Plextor has put a lot of effort into differentiating the firmware controlling its Marvell processor, and the company promises it'll continue innovating in this space. For the time being, at the right price, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend Plextor's M5S to anyone looking for a fast SSD able to deliver blazingly fast desktop performance.

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  • 0 Hide
    lutel , September 5, 2012 6:51 AM
    Why in your reviews you dont mention anything about FDE and its support in modern mainboards based on chipsets for Ivy Bridge? It is much more crucial feature to some people than small differences in performance.
  • -1 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , September 5, 2012 1:52 PM
    I'd be more worried about matching Mushkin's price / performance ... and same 3 year warranty.

    Samsung 230 - $227 ($0.89 / GB)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147164

    Mushkin Chronos Deluxe - $180 ($0.75 / GB)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226225


  • 0 Hide
    mayne92 , September 5, 2012 1:53 PM
    Great review Richard! Complemented my morning brew.
  • 0 Hide
    bigcyco1 , September 5, 2012 2:19 PM
    Great review thanks!
  • 4 Hide
    NuclearShadow , September 5, 2012 6:35 PM
    Good I hope the market continues to get flooded with SSD's the recent price drops are no doubt hugely influenced by competition.

    JackNaylorPEI'd be more worried about matching Mushkin's price / performance ... and same 3 year warranty.Samsung 230 - $227 ($0.89 / GB)http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820147164Mushkin Chronos Deluxe - $180 ($0.75 / GB)http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820226225


    Hate to break it to you buddy but the Mushkin link leads to a 128GB for $179.99 That is well above $1 per GB.
  • 0 Hide
    Combat Wombat , September 5, 2012 10:06 PM
    I wonder if the Plextor cloning software is as good as their Hdd's?
  • -1 Hide
    blazorthon , September 6, 2012 2:41 AM
    NuclearShadowGood I hope the market continues to get flooded with SSD's the recent price drops are no doubt hugely influenced by competition. Hate to break it to you buddy but the Mushkin link leads to a 128GB for $179.99 That is well above $1 per GB.


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226237

    He gave the wrong link and mistook the Delux for the non-Delux. The above link is the non-Delux 256GB for $179.99. The Delux is another $10 at $190:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226226

    Still, I'd go with the Vertex 4 256GB at $190 instead of any of these at their prices.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227792&Tpk=Vertex%204%20256GB
  • 0 Hide
    uriah , September 8, 2012 12:11 AM
    A small inexpensive (25 cent) capacitor could provide enough power to complete writing what remained in the dram if it is a major problem.
  • 0 Hide
    Menigmand , September 11, 2012 10:51 AM
    "xfer".. transfer? Who came up with that
  • 0 Hide
    hypermole , September 12, 2012 6:52 PM
    It would be nice to know if this new ssd is worth more overall than the M3 Pro and why? Warranty?
  • 0 Hide
    richard hart , September 12, 2012 7:17 PM
    Specs and warranty comparisons are on the front page. If I had a choice between the M5S or the M3 Pro (and money was no object) I would go for the M3 Pro. The M5 Pro would be my ultimate choice and it’s what I am using now. For me it’s the best drive out there at the monument. (The M5 Pro review will be out soon).

    Cheers, Richard
    Tom's Hardware

  • 0 Hide
    flyflinger , September 16, 2012 12:29 PM
    I remember back when I used to work at a disk drive company (a brand that's technically no longer around), we would "optimize" the FW to recognize when benchmarks were being run and subtly manipulate the drive's prefetch, caching behavior, etc. to make the drive look blazingly fast. Gotta wonder if something like that is going on here.