Plextor PX-M2S (256GB) review:

Plextor PX-M2S (256GB)

We tested the Plextor PX-256M2S in many applications and it did excellently in all of them. We used the Plextor as the main hard drive of the test machine, running Windows 7 64-bit, and performed a variety of tests. Apart from the throughput test, which focuses on drive performance alone, our other tests are designed to judge a computer's performance as a whole. For this reason, the hard drive only plays a small role in the final score, especially in tests designed to gauge the computer's non-storage-intensive performance, such as 3D rendering. Nonetheless, the test machine showed a visible difference thanks to the Plextor PX-256M2S. The drive consistently topped our charts in all tests.

We stacked the Plextor PX-256M2S against the Samsung 470; the Momentus XT, currently the fastest of the platter-based 2.5-inch hard drives; and three other Serial ATA 3Gbps hard drives: a 3.5-inch WD VelociRaptor (300GB, 10,000rpm), a 2.5-inch Fujitsu MHV2120BH (120GB, 5,400rpm), and a 3.5-inch WD Caviar SE16 (500GB, 7,200rpm). For each hard drive, the test system was reimaged with the same operating system, system settings, test software, and data.

In our boot time test, the Plextor was decidedly the fastest, booting in just 29 seconds, even a few seconds ahead of the Samsung 470, which used to be by far the fastest in terms of booting.

In the office performance test, in which we time how long the computer takes to finish a comprehensive set of concurrent tasks, including Word, Excel, and file transferring and compression, the Samsung took first place at just 981 seconds, beating the WD VelociRaptor, a top-tier 3.5-inch hard drive, by a whole 10 seconds. In this test the Samsung 470 took much longer time, at 1,022 seconds.

In a test that involves using iTunes to convert music from MP3 to AAC format, and in the multimedia multitasking test, which gauges the computer's performance as it converts a hi-definition movie from one format to another while iTunes does a heavy job of music conversion in the background, the Plextor PX-256M2S was again the fastest by a noticeable margin.

Even in the Cinebench benchmark, which focuses on 3D rendering, the Plextor helped the computer produce the highest score of the drives we tested.

And finally, in the throughput test, in which we time the speed with which drives copy a large amount of data from one place to another, the Plextor PX-256M2S came in by far the fastest at 93.4MBps, above the Samsung 470's 88.1MBps. Note that in this test the drive has to do both writing and reading at the same time. This means its one-way speed (either read or write) could potentially be doubled in real-life usage.

It's important to note that we tested the Plextor with a SATA 3Gbps controller, as our test machine doesn't support SATA 6Gbps well. This means when you have a system that fully supports SATA 6Gbps, expect the performance to be even better.

CNET Labs system performance scores (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Boot time  
Fujitsu MHV2120BH
WD Caviar SE16
WD VelociRaptor
Seagate Momentus XT
Samsung 470
Plextor PX-256M2S

Cinebench benchmark scores
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung 470
Fujitsu MHV2120BH

Data transfer scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung 470
Intel X-25M
Fujitsu MHV2120BH

Service and support
Plextor backs the PX-256M2S with a 3-year warranty, which is a decent length, similar to the Samsung 470's. When it comes to storage devices, the length of the warranty is the most important factor, and it would be even better if the company offered a 5-year warranty as Seagate does with the Momentus XT.


The Plextor PX-256M2S's hefty price kept us from giving it the Editors' Choice. However, if you have spent a large sum to get a high-end computer that natively supports SATA 6Gbps, we recommend that you spend another, smaller sum to replace its main internal hard drive with the Plextor to get the best possible performance out of your system.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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