Several months ago we have conducted test on Plextor M3 series, maybe many people consider its writing capability has a large gap with that of M2P, actually M3 series are used to replace M2S series, while the real successor of M2P series should be M3P series.
Specs of Plextor M3 Pro Series
Plextor M3P series are decreased from the common 9mm to existing 7mm in height, which is especially designed for thin notebooks.
M3P series deliver sequential read speed of 535MB/s, as for sequential write speed, 512GB and 256GB both feature 450MB/s, while 128GB is slower at 350MB/s. In addition, the cache size of 128GB model is 256MB, and 256GB and 512GB feature 512MB.
Appearance Comparison between M3P and M3 Series
It’s easy to distinguish M3P series from M3 series, M3P series feature silver color cover, while the latter comes with grey-black.
Plextor PX-128M3P Previewed
PX-128M2P left factory at February 2012, the firmware number is still 1.00.
Plextor PX-128M3P Taken Apart
After taken apart, we found that Plextor PX-128M3P has the same PCB as M3 series, and both SSDs feature Toshiba flash memory.
Plextor PX-128M3P PCB
The PCB of Plextor PX-128M3P is the same as M3 and M2P series, the difference lies in the firmware.
(Left) Plextor PX-128M3P features a Nanya DRAM to work as external cache, the chip number is NT5CB128M16BP-CG, and each DDR3-1333 DRAM has capacity of 256MB.
(Middle) The SSD packs Marvell 88SS9147-BLD2 main controller, while the commonly-used controller is 88SS9147-BKK2. There is no essential difference with the two, Crucial M4 series SSDs use the two controllers.
(Right) The same with M3 series, Plextor PX-128M3P uses 24nm Toggle DDR MLC with capacity of 16GB for each, flash memory chip number is TH58TEG7D2HBA4C.
Benchmark Platform & Settings
The test bed included Intel Z68 motherboard featuring native SATA 6Gbps interface, Core-i5 2500K CPU, the test was based on Windows 7 x64 SP1 OS, we installed the latest Intel Inf 22.214.171.1249 and Intel Rapid Storage Technology 10.8.0.1003. In addition, the tested SSD featured separate blank division
space, and the platform energy-saving function was off.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
In ATTO test, Plextor PX-128M3P delivered read and write speed of 525MB/s and 341MB/s, respectively, which had some gap with the official data. But this 128GB SSD indeed featured a good reads/writes performance.
AS SSD Benchmark Test
Plextor PX-128M3P (left) and PX-128M3 (right)
In AS SSD Benchmark Test, Plextor PX-128M3P and PX-128M3 didn’t have much difference in reads/writes, while M3P had a better performance in sustained and QD reads.
As for writes, both SSDs featured a large gap in sequential speed. M3P delivered 333MB/s while 197MB/s with M3. In 4K random writes, M3 was slightly better than M3P, but along with the higher QD, the case will be different.
In this test, Plextor PX-128M3P delivered read speed of 524MB/s, slightly faster than 489MB/s of M3. And the SSD featured sequential write speed of 349MB/s, much faster than 209MB/s of M3.
They had close performance in 4K random test, while M3 featured a better performance in random writes than M3P.
PCMark 7 Test
In PCMark 7 test, M3P scored 5382, which was close to that of M2P and ORICO HM1-128S3.
IOMeter Sequential Read/Write Test
In IOMeter test, PX-128M3P delivered much stronger sequential read speed than PX-128M3 and PX-128M2P as well as ORICO HM1-128S3, while slightly lower than M4 128GB. As for its write performance, PX-128M3P took the lead at 347MB/s among the five SSDs.
IOMeter 4K Random Read/Write Test
In 4K QD1 random read/write test, the same with M3, M3P featured read performance of 34MB/s. In terms of random writes, M3P delivered speed of 97MB/s, slightly lower than M3, but obviously better than 88MB/s of ORICO HM1.
IOMeter 4K Random QD Read/Write Test
In this test, PX-128M3P could get the most IOPS of 73108 (read) and 66048 (write) at QD32. In addition, we especially added the random QD3 test, in ordinary application QD setting wouldn’t exceed 3, and in such setting, the SSD featured 47799 IOPS and 23626 IOPS in reads/writes, respectively, while the actual speed was 92/186 MB/s.
FastCopy Test One
In FastCopy big file test, we used a 2,198MB high-definition video file. Firstly we used RamDisk to put 4GB memory set as a partition, then copied the tested file on the partition, next used FastCopy to move the file into SSD, that was the write test. After that, we again used FastCopy to move the file back to memory for read test. The using of RamDisk was to get rid of bottleneck in reads/writes.
FastCopy Test Two
As for scattered file Fastcopy test, we used the System32 file under Windows catalogue as test data, which contained up to 10,980 files totaling capacity of 2,250MB.
FastCopy Test Three
In compound data packet Fastcopy test, we used the game of Far Cry 2, the data pack included 67 big and small files with capacities of 3,252MB.
GC and Trim Test One
In this test we would used IOMeter to conduct 4K QD write process towards non-partition part in SSD for an hour, after that we used HDTune to test the write performance at intervals, and the SSD had a good GC efficiency.
GC and Trim Test Two
In the condition of less available NAND space, M3P had a quite high GC efficiency, but in a certain area, the efficiency decreased, which was different from M2P, as the latter could clean the whole disk quickly.
Placed after one day, about 50% space of M3P was cleaned, later we again had a partition to conduct Trim in the whole disk, and then SSD recovered its performance to the test-previous level.
In brief, M3P could be considered as the outcome of M3 with accelerated firmware, they are consistent in hardware configuration. Plextor’s SSDs are famous thanks to the durable speed in spite of long-term use. It’s noteworthy that M3P undoubtedly is excellent in the products of the same kind, which is even on par with 256GB SSD.
Currently Plextor PX-128M3P is priced at RMB1,499, while PX-128M3 is set at RMB 1,299. Actually M3 has already come with decent write performance, and therefore some users may not experience the obvious change in writes, for ordinary users M3 could satisfy their need, but M3P will be a better choice for enthusiastic players who are in pursuit of extreme performance.