Black Magic Design make a number of industry leading video capture cards, including those which can capture HD material at very high data rates. As a result having a disk with a fast write speed is essential. To aid users in configuring their system for optimal captures Black Magic includes a utility with their hardware which records the real world disk speed and gives the maximum possible framerate for that speed.
In this test, raw read and write performance is all that matters and the benchmark tests the maximum speed a drive can reach while handling compressible data. Read and write speeds are on par with the manufacturer’s specifications, as usual, with the Plextor M5S being capable of reading up to 55 and writing up to 21 1080 12 bit RGB frames per second respectively.
IOMeter is another open source synthetic benchmarking tool which is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems, originally developed by Intel Corporation who ultimately discontinued their work on the software which today is a free and open source application.
Plextor’s firmware optimizations can be clearly seen here, as the “budget” M5S delivers not only very good 4K aligned performance but exceptional random performance as well. Random performance is what really matters in the real world and the capability of the M5S to handle small 4K data packages can be clearly seen through these figures.
SiSoft Sandra is a very popular software suite which can also be used as a synthetic all-around benchmarking tool. We are using two of the suite’s tests in our article, the File Systems benchmark and the Physical Disks Benchmark.
Only the drives capable of handling incompressible data and small strings of data well enough can reach anywhere near their advertised read speed in this test. The Plextor M5S did not disappoint us, reaching a maximum read speed of 490.1MB/s in the File Systems test and 486.5MB/s in the Physical Disks test.
We perform our power consumption test by installing two digital USB multimeters working as ammeters on the +5V and +12V power lines connected to the drives, checking their current drain at idle and while stressed.
Marvell-based drives usually consume a little more energy than drives using other controllers. The on-board DRAM cache also has a negative impact, even if only minor. The Plextor M5S however is a little bit of power hog, as the 128GB drive requires more power under load than any of the other drives in this review, including the 256GB Marvell-based SSDs. This difference however is too little to have any notable impact on the battery life of any device.