PLEASE NOTE: We had a major data loss on 01/07/2013, however, we were able to recover all but four reviews and one news article. This review was one of the lost four. Due to this, we had to re-run benchmarks are re-write the reviews, so, there will be some discrepancies between this new version and the lost version.

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COMPARISONS: We will be running our SSD COMPARISON ARTICLE after all SSDs have been reviewed individually. This comparison will compare all our SSD samples, so, this article will not contain any comparisons with other drives. We hope you return to read our full SSD comparison, to see which drive comes out on top!

Plextor’s M5 Pro Xtreme is a slightly upgraded version of the M5 Pro, the main difference being that the new SSD has Plextor’s version 1.02 firmware pre-installed. The new firmware can, however, be manually installed on the M5 Pro and offers large performance gains.

The M5 Pro Xtreme is basically the original M5, however, it includes Plextor’s Xtreme firmware (which offers performance boosts) with the drive and uses a different type of NAND. Owners of the original M5 Pro have no need to worry, they can update the firmware on their drive from the Plextor website to receive similar performance gains, however, it may perform slightly slower due to using an older type of NAND.

The Xtreme SSD utilises Toshiba’s 19nm 2bpc TOGGLE NAND (one of the premium types available) and a Marvel 88SS9187 controller. The 256GB variation of the drive is advertised at having up to 540MB/s sequential read speeds, and 450MB/s sequential write speeds (a bit slower than most SSDs on the market) with up to 100,000 random read IOPS and 86,000 random write IOPS. The drive also comes in a 7mm form factor, making it suitable for most ultrabooks. Included in the package is a 3.5″ bracket.

Plextor guarantees the drive with a five year warranty, so, you know this drive means business and must be well built. In addition to the 3.5″ bracket (as mentioned) there is also a nice software suite which assists with backups and migration. Unfortunately, the Xtreme version of the M5 Pro is quite difficult to find, however, we did manage to locate it on Overclockers UK selling for £185.99, and on Amazon.com for $229.99. This prices the drive at £0.72 per GB and $0.89, so, although there are cheaper alternatives, the M5 Pro Xtreme is reasonably priced considering the build quality and warranty offered by the company.

The Xtreme comes in a nice aluminium case, identical to the original M5 Pro. 512MB of DDR3 is onboard the 256GB variant, while the 128GB has 256MB of RAM and the 512GB variant carries 768MB of RAM. There are a total of 16 NAND chips on the drive, which weighs a total of 2.47oz or 70g and measures up at 2.75″ x 4″ x 0.276″ or 69.85mm times 100mm times 7mm.

Now it’s time for some benchmarks. Again, please note, all comparisons with other drives will be carried out at the end of the feature in our SSD comparison article.

ATTO Disk Benchmarking Tool
ATTO is one of the most trusted and reliable disk benchmarking utilities available. The figures given by ATTO are the most accurate way of identifying the drives maximum capability if it were pushed beyond real-use limits and brought to theoretical maximum performance. As you can see, the drive slightly exceeded its advertised read speed, and came close with the write speed, however, the write speed is lower than many new SSDs.

8192KB Read – 540.28MB/s
8192KB Write – 437.98MB/s

32KB Read – 408.82MB/s
32KB Write – 351.08MB/s

CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark is one of my personal favourites in regards to drive benchmarking, as it often gives a very accurate figure as to how your drive will perform if it is pushed to its limit, whereas you usually will not be able to reach the figures provided in ATTO manually. CrystalDiskMark tests sequential speed, as well as a number of random read/write tests for 512K and 4K. As you can see, the M5 Pro Xtreme performs well again, and it’s 512K random write is impressive.

Sequential Read – 522.8MB/s
Sequential Write – 432.7MB/s

512K Read – 401.9MB/s
512K Write – 408.9MB/s

4K Read – 37.6MB/s
4K Write – 106.4MB/s

4K QD32 Read – 348.7MB/s
4K QD32 Write – 327.6MB/s

SiSoftware Sandra
SiSoftware Sandra is another tool used by many benchmarkers to see if the drive is consistent across multiple tests in different benchmarking tools. Take a look at the M5 Pro Xtreme’s scores…

Sequential Read – 528.9MB/s
Sequential Write – 429.8MB/s

Although the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD comes extremely close to its rated speeds in all our tests, its maximum write speed is lower than most of the SSDs on the market, who break 500MB/s write speed. That said, if you want a solidly built, extremely consistent SSD (especially in random writes), the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme is a great choice, especially considering its longer warranty. Mainstream users may prefer an alternative, but the M5 Pro Xtreme is great for heavier users. We are awarding it out SILVER AWARD.