The latest solid-state disk from Plextor
Plextor is best known for its DVD and Blu-ray drives, but the company also makes a range of other storage devices including solid-state disks (SSDs). These alternatives to standard hard disks don't have as much storage, but they're a lot faster and less prone to damage too since they don't have any moving parts.
Plextor's new M3 series of SSDs connect to your computer using a SATA connection with a theoretical top speed of 6Gbit/s. It is available in 128GB and 256GB capacities, with a promised 512GB model due out soon.
We reviewed the 128GB model which has a quoted read speed of 510MB/s and a write speed of 210MB/s. The 256GB model differs with a slightly faster write speed, while the upcoming 512GB model is supposed to be significantly faster than both of them in every respect.
Managing the data flow inside the M3 is a Marvell 9174 controller chip which is also found in many SSDs from other manufacturers. Plextor uses custom firmware in the controller along with their True Speed technology which supposedly prevents the SSD's performance from slowing down over time, although we can't vouch for this.
We tested the SSD's performance using the ATTO benchmark and observed read performance of 519MB/s and write performance of 205MB/s which almost exactly matches Plextor's claims. Futuremark's PCMark 7 storage benchmark gave a score of 5274 which is good.
Using the SSD as you might do in the real world, it took just 13 seconds to boot into Windows after the PC's BIOS had finished loading, while installing a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 Professional took just five minutes. The drive took just four and a half minutes to copy a 30GB folder of mixed file sizes and types.
There aren't a great deal of extras supplied with the M3, just an adapter for fitting the SSD inside a desktop PC, but it does come with a lengthy five year warranty. The M3 is good value, but unless you can find it discounted on special offer, there are even better SSDs available.
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A quick SSD at a reasonable price, although even faster models are available from other companies
Fast performance, five year warranty
Not as fast as some of its competitors
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