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Nathan Edwards Apr 19, 2011

Plextor M2 Series 128GB

At A Glance

FUNKMASTER FLEX

Better than their last drive; includes Acronis imaging software

PLUNKMASTER PLEX

Middling performance cant match other drives w/ same controller.

Second verse, better than the first!

We’ll say this for the Plextor M2 Series SSD: It’s a huge step up from Plextor’s last SSD. The M1S Series SSD we tested in our June 2010 roundup used Marvell’s “Da-Vinci” 88SS8014-BHP2 controller, which suffered from instability and slow writes. We gave that drive a 5 verdict. To our great relief, the M2 series SSD instead uses Marvell’s newer 6Gb/s SATA controller, the 88SS9174-BLD2—marking the third appearance of a Marvell 9174 controller in this roundup.

With the M2 series, Plextor pairs the Marvell 9174 controller with 128MB of DDR3 DRAM cache, and the result is an undeniable improvement over its previous-gen drive. As reported by Crystal-DiskMark and AS SSD, sustained reads hover near 400MB/s, with sustained writes around half that. That’s around double the read speed of the OCZ Vertex 2, but 25MB/s slower than the Vertex 2’s write speed. 4KB random reads and writes also suffered in comparison to the Vertex 2.

Plextor’s M2 series manages to up the company’s SSD track record from abysmal to middlin’.

The Plextor M2 is much better than Plextor’s last SSD, and in many benchmarks it’s superior to last generation’s top drives—mostly in read speeds. But its write speeds and random-access times lag behind the other 6Gb/s SATA drives in our roundup, and even high-performing drives from last year. The M2, like Plextor’s last drive, comes with a copy of Acronis True Image Home to ease your transition from a smaller or slower drive, which is nice.

If you’re shopping for your first SSD, Plextor’s M2 makes a decent offering. But it’s not the best of what’s available in the 6Gb/s SATA SSD market—or even the best Marvell-controlled drive.

$300, www.plextor.com

Benchmarks

Plextor M2
Capacity
128GB
ControllerMarvell 9174
CrystalDiskMark

Sustained Read (MB/s)
415.2
Sustained Write (MB/s) 197.5
4KB Read, 32QD (MB/s) 75.58
4KB Write, 32QD (MB/s) 47.72
AS SSD

Seq. Read (MB/s)
387.33
Seq. Write (MB/s)
186.67
4KB Read (IOPS)
3,729
4KB Write (IOPS)
9,961
Read Access (ms)
0.232
Write Access (ms)
0.093
ATTO

64KB File Read (MB/s)391.3
64KB File Write (MB/s)216.9
IOMETER
4KB Random Write13,169.8
Max Access Time (ms)576
Premiere Pro Encode Write (sec)438
PCMark Vantage x64 HDD37,792

Our current test bed is a 3.1GHz Core i3-2100 processor on an Asus P8 P67 Pro (B3 chipset) running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. All tests used onboard 6Gb/s SATA ports with latest Intel drivers, except 3Gb/s SATA tests, which used onboard 3Gb/s Intel SATA ports.

THE VERDICT

Plextor M2 Series 128GB

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