Plextor has announced the release of their M5 Pro Series of SSDs and the M5 Pro will be the very first based on Marvell’s new 88SS9187 Monet SSD Controller, the successor to Marvells 9174 controller widely used by companies including Intel and OCZ. Plextor’s new products will deliver sequential R/W speeds of up to 540 MB/s and 450MB/s respectively, not to mention random R/W performance of up to 94,000 and 86,000 IOPS.
Although we’ve seen the release of several new SSD processors in recent months, it isn’t everyday we see a new implementation by a heavy hitter such as Marvell. Indeed, this is a very exciting release for several reasons. First of all, as many of you are no doubt aware, Marvell is the main competition for LSI/Sandforce when it comes to third party controllers, and as such, will really help to turn up the heat in the industry, especially when it comes to pricing. Subsequently, I’m sure there are many consumers who will be elated by this sudden but not entirely unexpected state of affairs.
Another point I have to touch on is performance, which has gone up considerably when compared to the previous 9174 processor. With Monet achieving random performance parity, as well as moving into striking distance when it comes to sequential bandwidth, it seems we may have a real brawl on our hands. Oh, and don’t forget, Marvell’s controllers don’t make use of any kind of on the fly compression, so write bandwidth should be pretty consistent, regardless of the kind of data your working with, giving them yet another potential advantage over the competition. Speaking of hardware differences, AES encryption is another area in which Monet has an eminent advantage, especially since it came to light that there is errata which is preventing SF-2200 processors from handling real time encryption properly at the AES 256-bit level. Though a new stepping is due any day now, until we see shipping drives, Marvell based products can proudly proclaim their superiority when it comes to security.
One final thing I wish to mention are the drives’ being backed by the Plextor name, which has historically been synonymous with stability and reliability. It’s true, if you’ve been following this industry long enough to remember the first CD burners that hit the market, you might also recall that one of the best ways to prevent your coaster collection from getting out of control was to invest in a Plextor drive. As luck would have it, it appears that reputation for reliability has held up well over the years, with Plextor SSDs being widely regarded as some of the most reliable in the industry, as evidenced by their 5 year warranty. With the enhanced performance of Monet now in their corner, Plextor is in an excellent position to make significant headway in the SSD market, especially against some of its more established competitors. If they can manage to price the M5 Pro aggressively, Plextor may end up having a masterpiece on it’s hands.