Plextor M5M (256GB) mSATA Reviewby Kristian Vättö on April 17, 2013 10:20 AM EST
In essence, the M5M is M5 Pro but in mSATA form factor. Performance wise the two are closely related, even though the M5 Pro has twice the raw NAND bandwidth. In most scenarios, however, we are not bound by the bandwidth between the NAND and the controller (it's usually either the SATA bus, controller or the NAND's program/read latencies that's limiting performance). Intel's SSD 525 comes out slightly faster than the M5M in our tests, but the M5M is still certainly one of the fastest mSATA drives available in the retail. Especially if you're dealing with lots of incompressible data, the M5M is a better option because you'll get consistent performance regardless of the data type. I'm very curious how a Samsung SSD 840 Pro based mSATA SSD would perform, though.
|Price Comparison (4/17/2013)|
|Plextor M5 Pro||N/A||$120||$230|
|Intel SSD 525||$110||$170||$290|
|MyDigitalSSD BP4 mSATA||$60||$110||$180|
|Crucial M4 mSATA||$85||$130||$210|
|ADATA XPG SX300||$80||$130||$260|
Pricing is very competitive, especially when taking the performance into account. MyDigitalSSD's BP4 is slightly cheaper at 240/256GB but the M5M is faster and I would pay the extra $20 for it. At 120/128GB the M5M is actually one of the cheapest (mSATA) SSDs around so it's really a viable option for those who are in the market for an mSATA SSD. Of course, prices fluctuate so my advice is to compare the prices at the time of buying and base the decision on those; the table above may already be out of date tomorrow.
The slowdown issue is definitely drawback but I wouldn't give it too much value as it's unlikely to affect the majority of buyers. Plextor's SSDs in general have been one of the most reliable from what I have seen (I've been using the M3 as my boot drive for nearly a year now) and the M5M should not be any different. Plextor is working hard on identifying the bug and getting it fixed and I'll update this when I got something to share.
We are now seeing more competition in the retail mSATA SSD market than we have seen before. The market definitely needs attention from OEMs such as Intel and Plextor to be competitive against the 2.5" market. Ultimately I believe many OEMs are now getting ready for M.2 (formerly NGFF) SSDs and mSATA is just a logical step in between.