Plextor M5M 128GB PX-128M5M mSATA SSD Review

The introduction ...

Who like to upgrade an Ultrabook or Tablet with a fast SSD or install a motherboard with an mSATA port, will be happy about this review.
Because this time OCinside.de is testing the tiny Plextor M5M mSATA SSD board with 128 GB capacity, which is also available with 64 GB or 256 GB.
The Plextor PX-128M5M SSD is based on the Marvell 88SS9187 controller and achieved in practice tests with the latest firmware 1.04 great results, which are compared in this review with dozens of SSDs and HDDs.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the Plextor M5M 128GB mSATA SSD by the manufacturer Plextor.

The Plextor PX-128M5M 128GB M5M Full-size mSATA SSD has at present a price of approx. 80 Euro (06/2014).

The Plextor M5M SSD series contains the following models:
- Plextor M5M 64GB PX-64M5M
- Plextor M5M 128GB PX-128M5M
- Plextor M5M 256GB PX-256M5M
Whereby the writing performance of this Plextor M5M 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 mSATA SSDs with 540 MB/s, the write performance is according to Plextor for the M5M 64GB SSD 160 MB/s, the M5M 128GB SSD has 320 MB/s and the M5M 256GB SSD is specified with 430 MB/s.

Here you can order the Plextor M5M SSD.

 

 

The supply of the Plextor M5M 128GB SATA3 SSD ...

In this cardboard box came the tiny Plextor M5M mSATA SSD PCB.
The plastic packaging can be opened easily by pressing the back part backwards.
This is an exemplary blister packaging, which can be closed again even without any problems:

 

 

That is contained in the delivery ...

The Plextor PX-128M5M mSATA SSD was delivered without additional accessories.

On the front of the contained Plextor M5M 128GB SSD you can see the label of the Plextor M5M SSD with a few technical data and the preinstalled firmware version that we have of course updated before our tests:

 

On the back you can see the 256MB cache module and two of the four NAND modules of the SATA3 SSD with a total capacity of 128 GB.
The Marwell 88SS9187-BLD2 controller IC and the other two NAND modules are located under the sticker.
Btw. the mSATA SSD offers a built-in 256-bit AES encryption:

 

To compare the values of the mSATA SSD with the previously tested SSD benchmark values, we have installed the mSATA SSD to a commercially available SATA to mSATA adapter.
The Delock 61881 converter SATA 22-PIN to mSATA full size costs approx. 15 EUR and can be ordered for example here.

 

Here you can see the additionally acquired adapter board, which connects the data lines of the SATA interface with the mSATA board and has a voltage regulator to offer the required voltage of 3.3V:

 

This is how the assembled optional mSATA to SATA3 board looks:

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Plextor
Article number PX-128M5M
Capacity 128 GB (NAND)
Interface mSATA3 6GB/s
Cache 256 MB
Controller Marvell
Flash Type MLC - Multi-Level-Cell
Size JEDEC MO-300 mSATA (50,8 x 29,8 x 3,6 mm)
Weight approx. 9 gramm
Speed Read up to 540 MB/s / Write up to 320 MB/s
Seek Time < 0.1ms
Power Consumption 0.2 Watt
MTBF 2.4 million hours MTBF
Other SMART support, TRIM, NCQ, NCQ, 256-bit AES encryption encryption

 

Here is a screenshot of Snipping the CrystalDiskInfo 4.3.0 SSD and HDD information software, where it is noticeable, that Plextor unfortunately 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 has released the firmware version 1.04.
The update of the Plextor firmware is relatively simple:
Download the latest firmware from Plextor, burn the px-128m5m_1.04.iso ISO file on 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 2013 - 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 281 points, however you should operate necessarily a fast SSD with a SATA3 controller in AHCI mode, because the IDE score is more than a half 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 629 points more than twice as high.
In the AHCI mode the Plextor M5M 128GB reached extremely high 465.39 MB/s read and 297.77 MB/s write performance.
The Crucial m4 128 GB reached in comparison 493.64 MB/s read and only 200.95 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 Windows 7 or Windows 8 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 (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 M5M 128GB mSATA SSD, whereby the SSD benchmark chart is updated continuously with new SSDs.
The top of the AS SSD total score is now led by thePlextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256 GB SSD, which is located in the overall score just ahead of the Crucial M500 with the identical controller.

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 M5M 128GB SSD already reached good read speed values (green) from about 16 KB transfer size and the highest transfer values of up to 539267 KB/s from approx. 1024KB transfer size.
The write speed (red) achieved high values with a transfer size of approx. 32 KB and the highest transfer values up to 320356 KB/s with a transfer size of about 256KB.

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 M5M is in the upper area.

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, whereby the sequential read measurement reached 169.2 MB/s sequential write measurement reached 174.0 MB/s.

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 M5M 128GB SSD read performance is even before the Crucial M500 480GB SSD and writing values are still in good upper mid-range.

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 M5M 128GB SSD in AHCI mode during read and write operations a constant transfer 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 M5M 128GB mSATA SSD at SATA3 AHCI, Plextor M5M 128GB mSATA SSD at SATA3 IDE, 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, 2x Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB 2.5" SSD at SATA3 RAID0, Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB 2.5" 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 good read speed of Plextor M5M 128GB SSD, which is located in the middle of the previously tested 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 M5M 128 GB SSD achived in SiSoftware Sandra extremely low 42us and the drive index of 528.2 MB/s is even at the top range.

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 M5M 128GB SSD in SiSoftware Sandra was also at extremely low 33us and the drive index was despite the lower capacity of 128 GB still about 305.75 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 M5M 128 GB mSATA SSD PX-128M5M achieved at smallest space a very high read performance and good write performance with extremely low access times.

The Plextor PX-128M5M 128GB MLC Solid State Drive with the Marvell 88SS9187 controller is 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 tiny Plextor M5M 128 GB mSATA SSD reached with the current Plextor FW1.04 firmware remarkably good transfer rates at an affordable price, making it a very good choice for a Ultrabook, mini notebook, Tablet, and HTPC with mSATA port or can operate on motherboards with mSATA connector, for example by Intel Smart Response Technology as an intelligent cache for frequently used applications or files (see Intel motherboard reviews in the hardware test area).

 

Discuss in our forum and exchange experiences ...

Here you can buy the Plextor SSD ...

Read on in the hardware test area with several hardware reviews ...

Up

All pictures and article copyright 2014 www.ocinside.de