It seems that our relationship with Plextor has had a shot of Adrenaline since our meet at CES Las Vegas 2013 and ‘first up’ analysis of the new Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD is the result. We did have a bit of a heads up when Plextor asked us to review the M5 Pro in this meeting, but definitely never expected the M5 Pro to beat us back to home base, and not two weeks before this Xtreme we just finished testing!
The Pro and the Extreme should be virtually identical, considering both contain the same controller, the same cache, same firmware and even 19nm NAND flash memory. The difference is that the Xtreme contains 16 modules of NAND flash memory vice the 8 of our M5 Pro review, the Xtreme also promising IOPS of 100,000. But wait…. didn’t we get that from the M5 Pro as well?
The bonus for Pro owners, of course, is that you can download the 1.02 firmware from Plextor to increase performance of your M5 Pro. As well, we were surprised to even find the Xtreme priced under the M5 Pro at Amazon, both set at under $1/GB.
The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme is a SATA 3/6Gbps SSD and fully backward compatible to SATA 2. It is available in capacities of 128, 256 and 512GB. The M5 Pro and the Xtreme have very similar product numbers with the Xtreme having the full word ‘PRO’ at the end of the model number (ie. PX-256M5PRO vice PX-256-M5P). Looking at the Plextor website, the specifications aren’t differentiated between the two and are listed at 540MB/s read for all capacities with write performance being 330MB/s (128GB), 460MB/s (256GB) and 470MB/s (512GB), respectively with up to 100,000 IOPS.
The exterior casing of the M5 Pro Xtreme SSD is of a silver metal with a base plate secured by four small screws on the sides. One of these screws is covered by security tape, any damage to this tape effectively voiding the warranty.
M5 PRO XTREME COMPONENTS
Inside there is a printed circuit board (PCB) which contains a controller, 16 modules of memory and two modules of DRAM cache memory. The controller is a Marvell 88SS9187 eight channel controller which some have termed with the designation of ‘Monet’ and 16 modules of Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode NAND flash memory are also present, each representing a 16GB capacity.
There are also two Nanya 256MB DRAM cache memory modules just above the controller on the front and the total available storage capacity of the Xtreme, once formatted, is 238GB.