This is an announcement we have been waiting for. In our Plextor M3 Pro and M5S reviews, we mentioned that the limits of Marvell's 88SS9174 controller have more or less been reached and it's time to switch to  more powerful silicon, and that's exactly what Plextor has done now. Plextor's M5 Pro is the first SSD to publicly use Marvell's new 88SS9187 controller (OCZ's Vertex 4 and Agility 4 use Marvell silicon, but the specific silicon hasn't been confirmed). Marvell released the controller back in March, but as always, it takes time for manufacturers to design a product based around a new controller. Validation alone can take over a year if done thoroughly.

Not only is Plextor using a brand new controller, the M5 Pro is also the first consumer SSD to use Toshiba's 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND. 

Plextor M5 Pro Specifications
Capacity 128GB 256GB 512GB
Controller Marvell 88SS9187
NAND Toshiba 19nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND
Sequential Read 540MB/s 540MB/s 540MB/s
Sequential Write 340MB/s 450MB/s 450MB/s
4K Random Read 91K IOPS 94K IOPS 94K IOPS
4K Random Write 82K IOPS 86K IOPS 86K IOPS
Cache (DDR3) 256MB 512MB 768MB
Warranty 5 years
Availability Mid-August 2012

Sequential speeds have not changed much since the M3 Pro but random read/write speeds have gone up significantly. Random speeds are up by as much as 52K IOPS but most increases settle between 10K-20K IOPS. Since the M5 Pro is Plextor's high-end model, it also supports full 256-bit AES encryption, something that will definitely be appreciated by professional and enterpise users. 

Pricing is to be announced but I would expect the M5 Pro to be priced similarly to what the M3 Pro is currently selling for. Exact availability is still unknown but Plextor is saying mid-August 2012 in the press release, so we should see this drive retailing in a few weeks. Our review sample is already on its way here so stay tuned for our review.

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  • gevorg - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    Nice to see a 5 year warranty, but I will still wait at least 6 months before considering any newly released SSD.

    Shouldn't the prices be lower than M3 Pro, since there was a 24nm=>19nm process shrink?
  • Chaser - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    Thanks for sharing with all of us your purchase consideration policies.

    Anyway, sounds like a great drive. It's good to see Plextor jump into the SSD market so aggressively. A very trusted name for sure.
  • gevorg - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    Thanks for being a guinea pig for us!
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    A new process node doesn't automatically mean cheaper prices. While you get more GBs out of each wafer, the cost of all the R&D for the new process node is huge. Moreover, 24nm process is now a mature process and available in high supply, whereas the yields of 19nm process are poorer and supply is limited.

    As I've said before, it seems that SSD/NAND prices drop linearly, i.e. a new process node doesn't introduce a significant price cut.
  • chrnochime - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    It's a new process and yield is much lower than 24nm. Did you expect them to sell it to you at a huge loss? And it's a new controller, why would a new controller that hasn't been sold in volume be cheaper anyway?
  • dave_rosenthal - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    - The Vertex 4 with new firmware has been the best consumer drive on the market for database-type sustained mixed random I/O workloads.
    - The M3 Pro was much better than its peers at this same type of workload.

    If this uses the new controller that the Vertex 4 uses but continues Plextor's success at optimizing for industrial use cases this could be the drive of choice for serious database use.
  • RaistlinZ - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    I look forward to how this performs. Might finally be time to upgrade my Vertex 2.
  • Beenthere - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    Hardware makers know most enthusiasts who spring for a high-priced SSD or other hardware product is unlikely to keep it for five years if technology makes it pretty much obsolete or less cool than the trick-of-the week - for some filks. Thus you can't use a 5 year warranty to conclude that one SSD is any more reliable than another. The extended warranty is usually just a marketing game to justify the price increase. A hundred year warranty doesn't prevent the loss of valuable data however...

    As noted I'd wait 6-12 months on any new SSD to see how it works out for reliability and compatibility unless you kile being a guinea pig. By then it should have had 3-10 firmware updates, a few recalls, a lot of RMAs and almost be ready for Prime Time. It's amazing that hardware makers just crank half-baked goods out the door weekly with little concern for proper validation.

    As Anand has said himself: "SSDs are immature tech". Each new iteration contributes to the learning curve for the manufacturer but does not necessarily increase reliability nor compatibility which can only come from proper validation testing.
  • B3an - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    @Kristian, being as you have a review sample on the way do you have a rough idea when you'll have the review up? I'd like to install Win 8 on some new SSD's around mid August...
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - link

    Should be up this weekend unless something unexpected comes up.

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