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Plextor M3 Pro 256 GB SSD Review

By on April 3, 2012
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A brilliant combination of speed and reliability.

Good: Fast performance, synchronous memory, custom firmware that improves Marvell controller performance, Acronis disk cloning utility bundled, full aluminum body acts as heatsink.
Bad: Tricky to update firmware.
Price: AED 1,600
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Features

Plextor is more commonly known for their excellent optical drives, especially in this region where any performance enthusiast knows that Plextor drives are the ones to get for reliable burning. So when I was approached to review their new M3 Pro SSD, I was pleasantly surprised (even though I shouldn’t have been) to see that it comes with some really exciting features.

Firstly, the Plextor M3 Pro is unlike most other SSDs reviewed in the past, in that it uses a Marvell Controller. Secondly, unlike Intel’s NAND Flash that’s used in most drives, we’re seeing Toshiba’s Toggle Mode Flash chips. Last, but not least, is Plextor’s own firmware which provides a host of performance improvements including their True Speed technology.

Build

While SSDs are enjoyed by PC enthusiasts who love fast performance, it’s also favored by laptop enthusiasts who want lower power consumption in addition to just raw performance increase. Plextor has not only these two markets covered, but have also designed the M3 Pro to be completely future proof. With a height of just 7mm, the M3 Pro is one of the first SSDs on the market that can fit right into an ultrabook. Furthermore, the M3 Pro uses an incredibly low 0.1w when idling, and 5w when active. Our comparative Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD uses 0.46w when idle and 2.05w when active.

So basically when idling, the Plextor M3 Pro draws almost 98% lesser power than one of the fastest SSDs on the market; 76% when active. You do the math on how much battery life this can save on your laptop.

Inside the brushed aluminum SSD we find the Marvell 88SS9174 controller, two 256MB SDRAM chips for cache and, of course, eight synchronous 32GB Toshiba Toggle Mode NAND flash in 24nm size. Each of the chips is attached to the external aluminum casing via a thermal pad for efficient heat dissipation.

 

The last bit I want to talk about the Plextor M3 Pro is that it comes bundled with a 3.5mm bracket (plus screws), a molex to SATA power cable as well as a copy of Acronis True Image for backing up the data from your old hard drive.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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