Plextor M5M 128GB review: the mSATA version of the M5 Pro

The Plextor M5M 128GB compared to two other mSATA SSDs.



Plextor recently came out with the M5M SSDs, which are mSATA versions of the popular M5 Pro SSDs. It's Plextor's first entry into a small but growing niche segment. It's a bit surprising actually that so few manufacturers have released mSATA SSDs, since the small SSDs are a great way of speeding up your laptop. 

Most laptops that came out last year feature an mSATA connector in addition to the standard 2.5-inch hard disk compartment. That way you can have a start-up SSD for your most important software, and a larger conventional hard disk for storage. In some ultra-thin Ultrabooks it's even the only available storage, so if you want to upgrade then an mSATA model is your only option.

MSI GE60 0NC-072NL
One 2.5-inch drive and one mSATA port are common in current laptops

Like their M5 Pro counterpart, the Plextor M5M SSDs are based on the latest generation Marvell controller, the Marvell 88SS9187, and it also features 19nm ToggleFlash memory from Toshiba.

The M5M comes in three sizes: 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. We tested the 128 GB model, available for an average of £105.That makes it more expensive than most 2.5-inch SSDs, but that's expected considering it's a niche segment still.

Plextor M5M 128GB

According to Plextor, the 128 GB model has read speeds of up to 540 MB/s and write speeds up to 320 MB/s. The write speed is 20 MB/s less than what's specified for the M5 Pro 128 GB. It's not strange that the M5M is slower than the M5 Pro, since the smaller mSATA module only fits four flash chips compared to the eight on the M5 Pro. The controller therefore can't access as much flash memory at the same time.

Plextor M5M 128GB

The model we tested has a 256 MB buffer. The M5M 256 GB is supposed to have a write speed of 430 MB/s, while the 64 GB model is limited to 160 MB/s according to Plextor. Here are the exact specifications:

Product nameM5M 128GBM5M 256GBM5M 64GB
Product codePX-128M5MPX-256M5MPX-64M5M
DetailsProduct infoProduct infoProduct info
Quoted capacity128 GB256 GB64 GB
Cache256 MB512 MB128 MB
InterfaceSerial ATA 600Serial ATA 600Serial ATA 600
SSD controllerMarvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187
Measured capacity119 GB
Native Command Queuing
TRIM support
Flash memory typeMulti-level cellMulti-level cellMulti-level cell
Flash chip brandToshibaToshibaToshiba
Transistor size flash chips19 nm19 nm19 nm
Warranty3 year(s)3 year(s)3 year(s)
Read (sequentially)540 MB/s540 MB/s540 MB/s
Write (sequentially)320 MB/s430 MB/s160 MB/s
Read (4k random)80000 IOps79000 IOps73000 IOps
Write (4k random)76000 IOps77000 IOps42000 IOps
Physical properties
Form factormSATAmSATAmSATA
Height3.6 mm3.6 mm3.6 mm
Encryption / security
Encryption256 bit AES256 bit AES256 bit AES

Product discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

Plextor M5M 128GB

SSD, 128 GB, Serial ATA 600, Marvell 88SS9187, 540 MB/s, 320 MB/s, mSATA

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