Plextor’s recent history is an inspiring example of how a clever marketing and engineering strategy can help a firm which only has access to assembly manufacture to quickly rise to the top tier of makers of consumer-class solid state drives. Of course, Plextor is a well-known brand with a record that goes back 20 years. But originally it was a daughter firm of a manufacturer of servo drives and electric motors and was limited to producing optical drives and optical media, therefore Plextor’s earlier achievements have nothing to do with its SSD success. In fact, Plextor’s entering the SSD market in 2009 was a start from scratch.
And it turned out be an excellent start. The company didn’t waste its resources on aggressive marketing and didn’t wage price wars. It just began to churn out very good SSDs which were superior to the competition in performance as well as reliability. Plextor made this happen in several ways. First of all, the company made a wise choice of the hardware platform and controller supplier. Instead of the more affordable and widespread SandForce platform, it limited itself to premium Marvell controllers. Second, Plextor preferred high-reliability and fast types of flash memory for its SSDs. And third, the company spent some effort to optimize firmware, making its SSDs different from their competitors with the same or similar hardware components. As a result, Plextor SSDs were not cheap but earned an excellent reputation. And today Plextor enjoys the fruits of the farsighted strategy as its products are regarded by many as the best SSDs for personal computers.
Plextor has already released several generations of SSDs by now, the newest M5S and M5 Pro enjoying a lot of attention on the part of computer enthusiasts. The M5S is actually Plextor’s first attempt to combine the traditionally high quality with relatively low pricing whereas the M5 Pro introduces the highly promising controller Marvell 88SS9187. We’ll discuss both SSDs in this review and compare them with Plextor’s earlier M3 and M3 Pro products that have already gained high popularity among users. We can do this because we’ve collected four Plextor SSDs from these different series. All of them have the same storage capacity of 256 GB.