Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB PX-256M5Pro SATA3 2.5" SSD Review

The introduction ...

Today we have a Xtreme fast SSD for review at ocinside.de, the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB.
The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD is based on the Marvell 88SS9187-BLD2 controller like the previously tested Crucial M500 480 GB SSD and reached an amazing high performance with the new Plextor firmware 1.03.
So let us continue with the SSD comparison and the review of the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB 2.5" SSD by the manufacturer Plextor.

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB SATA3 2.5" SSD PX-256M5Pro has at present a price of approx. 199 Euro (04/2013).

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD series contains the following models:
- Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 128GB PX-128M5Pro
- Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB PX-256M5Pro
- Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 512GB PX-512M5Pro
Whereby the writing performance of this Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD series alters depending on the capacity.
A higher capacity of this Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD has a higher write performance.
The read performance is specified for all three SSDs with 540 MB/s, the write performance is according to Plextor for the M5 Pro 128 GB SSD 330 MB/s, the M5 Pro 256 GB SSD has 460 MB/s and the M5 Pro 512 GB SSD is specified with 470 MB/s.

Here you can order the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD.

 

 

The supply of the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB SATA3 SSD ...

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD is supplied in this cardboard box which is already promising good values:

 

 

That is contained in the delivery ...

A first look into the small box shows that Plextor puts much emphasis on a high-quality content.
The Plextor PX-256M5P M5 Pro Xtreme 2.5" SSD is delivered together with a 3.5" mounting frame, screws, installation guide and the warranty conditions.
Also included is a serial number for "NTI SSD Solution Suite For Plextor".
The NTI SSD Solution Suite includes the "Backup Now EZ" backup software and the "Echo Cloning" software, which is very useful especially for the upgrade from a HDD to SSD.
Here you can see the contents of the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD:

 

The following image shows the top of the 2.5" Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD:

 

On the flipside you can see the label of the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD with some technical data and the pre-installed firmware version.
You can also see the SATA3 connectorss for data and power on the left side.
These connectors are identical to conventional SATA3 hard disks and these SATA3 SSDs can also operate with a slower speed at an SATA2 interface:

 

Here you can see eight out of a total of sixteen 19nm NAND modules of the SATA3 SSD with a total of 256 GB capacity, the 512MB cache module and the new Marwell 88SS9187-BLD2 controller IC.
The SSD also provides a built-in 256-bit AES encryption:

 

On the back of the circuit board, you can see the remaining eight NAND modules:

 

Another feature is the low construction height that is only 7 mm when compared to some other SSDs:

 

Here you can see again the Plextor SSD on the supplied 3,5-inch mounting frame:

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Plextor
Article number PX-256M5Pro
Capacity 256GB
Interface SATA3 6GB/s
Cache 512MB
Controller Marvell
Flash Type MLC - Multi-Level-Cell
Size 2.5" (100 x 69.85 x 7mm)
Weight approx. 70 gramm
Speed Read up to 540 MB/s / Write up to 460 MB/s
Seek Time < 0.1ms
Power Consumption 0.25 Watt
MTBF 2.4 million hours MTBF
Other SMART support global wear leveling, garbage collection, instant restore technology, TRIM, bad block management algorithm, NCQ, 256-bit AES encryption encryption, backup software

 

Here is a screenshot of Snipping the CrystalDiskInfo 4.3.0 SSD and HDD information software, where it is noticeable, that Plextor does not spend this SSD a temperature sensor:

 

 

SSD firmware update ...

Before starting the tests, we've updated the Plextor SSD to the latest firmware version.
The SSD was delivered with firmware 1.02 and at the review date, Plextor offered the firmware version 1.03.
Of course a test with the previous version was made as well, but it was not as fast and not so safe like the current one.
The update of the Plextor firmware is relatively simple:
Download the latest firmware from Plextor, burn the px-256m5pro_1.03.iso ISO file to a CD or transfer it with a suitable software to a USB stick, boot with this CD-ROM or USB thumb drive and confirm the SSD firmware update.

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the benchmark results.
SATA3 drives are currently tested with an ASRock 890GX Extreme3 motherboard.
At present, Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.

The SSD drive speed was examined and compared with the following benchmark software:

AS SSD Benchmark 1.4.3704.27281 - Download
ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46 - Download
CrystalDiskMark 3.00 - Download
HD Tach 3.040 - Download
SiSoftware Sandra 2011 - Download

 

AS SSD benchmark result ...

The SSD benchmark values offers a very good reference point of the maximal possible reading and writing performance, the speed with smaller files and the respective access time.

Although you should already operate as a SSD in AHCI mode, we have compared the benchmarks additionally also in IDE mode to determine how fast the SSD is for example in XP with a controller in IDE mode.
The total score achieved in IDE mode still good 310 points, however you should operate necessarily a fast SSD with a SATA3 controller in AHCI mode, because the IDE score is more than 50% below the AHCI score.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3 IDE):

 

In AHCI mode also another result beneath the read and write performance was much higher than in the IDE mode and that is the important "4K-64Thrd" value.
4K means that small 4K blocks are read and/or written and with the 4K 64Thrd this is distributed on 64 Threads at the same time.
Thus the benchmark program simulate for example a typical program start.
Since the weighting of this value is very high in the AS-SSD benchmark tool, the overall score in AHCI mode is with 708 points more than twice as high.

In the AHCI mode the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB reached extremely high 511.21 MB/s read and 436.73 MB/s write performance.
The Crucial M500 480 GB reached in comparison a lower 488.59 MB/s read and a lower 412.41 MB/s write performance.

Hint:
Who think now about changing its SATA port in the BIOS from native IDE and/or legacy IDE to AHCI, should change first for example (if possible) only one part of the SATA port, where the drive with the operating system is not installed.
Because if one like to save the new Windows installation, one must install the hard disk controller driver before changing SATA mode from IDE to AHCI - alternatively there are also Registry entries for it.
If you like to upgrade from HDD to SSD, you should not copy the content 1:1 only with a tool like Norton Ghost or Acronis Backup.
It is better to install a fresh Windows7 or adjust at least the SSD Alignment.
We help you with questions to this topic or all other PC related questions at any time 24/7 in our PC Forum.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3 AHCI):

 

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD iops results to measure the input/output speed (SATA3 in AHCI mode):

 

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD copy benchmark values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

The comparison of the AS SSD benchmark results is extended with each new HDD/SSD test.
Here you can see already some SSDs in comparison to the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB 2.5" SSD, whereby the SSD benchmark chart is updated continuously with new SSDs.
The top of the AS SSD total score is now led by the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD, which is located in the overall score just ahead of the Crucial M500 with the identical controller and exceeds two Crucial m4 128 GB SSD in RAID0.

Here is a comparison of the AS SSD benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

ATTO Disk benchmark result ...

The ATTO disk benchmark values gives a very good overview about the write and read rate on different file sizes.
These values are maximum ratings, which are different to the previously continuous transfer rate benchmarks, since this benchmark may even reach a higher overall performance with slower SSDs.

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD already reached good read speed values (green) from about 16 KB transfer size and the highest transfer values of up to 536870 KB/s from approx. 128 KB transfer size.
The write speed (red) achieved high values with a transfer size of approx. 32 KB and the highest transfer values up to 448460 KB/s with a transfer size of about 256 KB.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

The ATTO disk benchmark values are compared with a small transfer size of 32KB and a large transfer size of 8192KB.
The bar chart already includes a comparison to some SSDs and HDDs, where the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme cannot reach the top.

Here is a comparison of the ATTO disk benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

CrystalDiskMark result

With CrystalDiskMark one receives a balanced measurement of the performance with different transfer sizes.

As seen in the previous 4K-64Threads results, above all the read and write 4K QD32 values are very fast and the sequential write measurement reached an extremely high value of 427.2 MB/s which is directly behind the 427.2 MB/s of the Crucial M500 480MB SSD.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the CrystalDiskMark values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

The following diagram shows the CrystalDiskMark results once again compared with other SSDs and platter drives, which are extended step by step.
In the CrystalDiskMark comparison one can see significant differences between the to-date tested Solid State Drives and Hard Disk Drives.

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD is not at the top of all read performance results but the write performance is almost neck and neck with the extremely high values of the Crucial M500 480GB SSD.

Here is a comparison of the CrystalDiskMark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

HD Tach result

With HD Tach one can measure the gradient of the performance, but the SSD transfer is not comparable with a conventional HDD.
New logical NAND cell access of the SSD controller results like some other equal designed SSDs in strong varying values with the latest HD Tach Version 3.0.4.0 version, which is written for hard disk drives.
HD Tach measured with the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD in AHCI mode during write operations a few peaks and a constant read rate with an extremely low random access of approx. 0.1ms.
To compare these results you can move the mouse over the following drives to see their respective benchmark results:
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, ADATA S511 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, ADATA S511 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, 2x Crucial m4 128GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 RAID, Crucial m4 128GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 128GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 000F at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 0309 at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 0002 at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB SSD FW 0309 at SATA3 IDE, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 0002 at SATA3, Crucial M500 480GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial C300 64GB 1,8" SSD at SATA3, Crucial RealSSD 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3, Crucial RealSSD 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA2, Hitachi 7K1000.C 1TB HDD, MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSD SATA3 IDE, MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSD SATA3 IDE, MX-DS Turbo 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, OCZ Agility 128GB SSD, Samsung Series470 128GB SSD AHCI, Samsung Series470 128GB SSD Legacy IDE, Seagate Constellation.2 1TB 2,5" HDD at SATA3, Toshiba MK8007GAH 1.8" hard disk drive.

Here is a Snipping screenhot of the HD Tach benchmark values:

 

The comparison of HD tach benchmark results shows the enormously high read speed of Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD, even beyond the Crucial M500 480 GB SSD which is in HD Tach currently only beaten by the RAID0 with 2x Crucial m4 128 GB SSDs.

Here is an impressive comparison of the HD Tach benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

SiSoftware Sandra benchmark result

Of course, SiSoftware Sandra benchmark should not be missing in this test series.
SiSoftware offers with their SiSoft Sandra program a very comprehensive tool, which contains a lot of tools to get very reliable test results of all hardware components.

The average access time of Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB SSD achived in SiSoftware Sandra extremely low 28us and the drive index of 530.54 MB/s is beaten only by the SSD RAID0 array.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark read values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

In the write performance measurement, the average access time of the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD in SiSoftware Sandra was also at extremely low 29us and the drive index was about 437.59 MB/s.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark write values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

Here is a comparison of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

 

Result and general impression ...

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 2.5" 256 GB SATA3 SSD PX 256M5Pro reached extremely high transfer rates at extremely low access times and offers together with the mounting frame and the backup software a Xtreme good overall picture.

The Plextor PX-256M5Pro 256 GB MLC Solid State Drive with Marvell 88SS9187 Controller and 19nm NAND was tested both in the current AHCI mode, and in legacy IDE mode, whereby the AHCI mode showed clear advantages as seen in all of our previously SSD tests and therefore should be clearly preferred.

All-in-all the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD climbs with the newest Plextor 1.03 firmware at the top of all previously tested SSDs and thanks to the good basic equipment with the cloning- and backup software and the 3.5" mounting frame it is especially Xtrem well suitable for upgrading existing Mac or PC systems.

With these great results, the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme PX-256M5Pro 256 GB has honestly earned our Redaktion ocinside.de Overclocking Dream Award 04/2013.

 

 

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