Plextor M3 Pro 256GB

6/29/2012 9:38:31 AM

Plextor doesn't release too many SSDs, but its existing M3 drive clearly wasn't enough, as the firm has followed it up with the M3 Pro.

Under the hood, though, Plextor's Pro-level drive uses the same Marvell controller as the standard M3 and, crucially, the same controller as Corsair's Performance Series Pro.

Description: Plextor M3 Pro 256GB

Where the M3 Pro differs from the standard Plextor drive, though, is the type of memory used. It's the latest NAND available, using a more efficient 24nm process, and Plextor hopes this refinement will be enough to propel the M3 Pro to the top of our benchmark tables.

It's a quick drive, as that new NAND befits, but the M3 Pro can't quite match the Corsair's sheer speed. Its large file write result of 473.8MB/S lags behind the Corsair's 500.9MB/S, for instance, and its large file read pace of 313.4MB/s lags behind the Performance Series Pro's 320MB/S by a similar margin.

That more efficient NAND proved to be a better bet in our small file benchmarks. The M3 Pro ran through our small file write test at 196.9MB/S - the best score here, and an improvement over the Corsair's 186.4MB/S. Its small file read benchmark result of 30.7MB/S was, again, the best on test but only by a small margin, with the Corsair just 0.3MB/S slower.

The AS SSD benchmarks also delivered a mixed set of results. The Plextor ran through the sequential write test at a respectable 328.1 MB/s, but the Corsair beat it with a stunning 413.85MB/S result. The M3 Pro traded blows with the Corsair in the 4K write and 4K-64 write benchmarks too, with results of 52.71 MB/s and 239.82MB/S compared to the Corsair's 65.18MB/s and 152.64MB/S scores - slower in the former test, but better in the latter.

The Plextor gained some ground in AS SSD's file reading tests, but again there wasn't much in it. The M3 Pro's sequential read result of 492.25MB/S squeezed ahead of the Corsair's 471,96MB/s, and its 4K read score of 27.1 MB/s was only a little ahead of the Performance Series Pro's 24.76MB/s score. The final read test, 4K-64, saw the Plextor drive whizz through at 275.59MB/S - not far ahead of the 237.77MB/S pace of the Corsair.

There's not much in it in our benchmarks, then, and there's little difference between the two drives when it comes to value either. Both drives includes a 2.5" to 3.5" bracket in the box - the Kingston still wins when it comes to accessories - and at $1.92 per gigabyte, the Plextor offers similar value to the Corsair, which costs $1.84 per gigabyte.

The similar price means any buying decision must come down to performance and, while there's not much in it, the M3 Pro falls behind - but only just. The Plextor might be faster in some of our tests, but the Performances Series Pro is quicker in others too, and a little more consistent across the board.

Corsair may be the bigger name when it comes to SSDs, then, but Plextor's partnering of a familiar Marvell controller with more efficient 24nm memory modules has evidently paid off. The Performance Series Pro is our favourite, but the Plextor M3 Pro is a fine runner-up if the Corsair doesn't take your fancy.

Description: Plextor M3 Pro 256GB



$457, $1.92 per gigabyte




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