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Plextor S2C review: This cheap SSD will make old PCs feel like new


The Plextor S2C wasn't made to impress. It's a 6Gbps SATA standard solid-state drive (SSD) that aims to do its job on the cheap. And its job is straightforward: replace the traditional hard drive on a computer.


Plextor S2C

The Good

The Plextor S2C is significantly faster than any regular hard drive, and it has a low price.

The Bad

Compared with other SSDs, the drive is slow when performing heavy tasks.

The Bottom Line

The Plextor S2C is an inexpensive replacement SSD drive for an aging computer, but is slow compared to top SSDs.

The S2C SSD (left) and a traditional hard drive it aims to replace.

Dong Ngo/CNET

While the S2C's speed can't compare to most SSD drives I've reviewed, it's still so much faster than any regular hard drive that it's worth getting -- especially given its relatively bargain-level price. The 512GB version has a MSRP of just under $134 in the US, or about 25 cents per gigabyte. The price roughly converts to £110 and AU$175. And like all SSDs, you can expect the street price to be even lower.

So how well does it perform and how exactly does it stack up against other SSDs? In copy tests the S2C had one of the fastest real-world read speeds I've ever seen, delivering 433 megabytes per second. However, its write speed was terrible, topping out at just 148 megabits per second. That's the lowest write speed of any SSD I've tested.

What it costs

US priceUK conversionAustralia conversion
512GB $133.99£110AU$175
256GB $75.99£60AU$100
128GB $45.99£40AU$60

Keep in mind however, since read speed dictates how fast a computer boots up and how quickly applications launch, it generally contributes more to a computer's performance than the write speed. For this reason, in PC Mark 8 tests, which gauge the overall performance of a computer, the S2C ended up right in the middle of the entry-level SSD pack in terms of performance. However, when performing daily tasks like word processing, surfing the web and so on, I didn't see any difference between the S2C and other SSDs. You need heavy tasks such as gaming, video editing and so on to notice the difference between SSDs.

CNET Labs SSD copy tests

Toshiba OCZ VX500 235.47 447.34 435.61WD Blue SSD 167.91 363.45 433.65Plextor S2C 99.93 148.03 433.14Samsung SSD 850 Evo 182.78 214.45 205.63Samsung SSD 750 Evo 180 246.45 203.67Toshiba Q300 165.67 355.6 202.7Crucial MX300 178.34 245.67 199.32
  • As OS Drive (Read and Write)
  • As Secondary Drive (Write only)
  • As Secondary Drive (Read Only)
Notes: Measured in megabytes per second. Longer bars mean better performance.

An SSD's endurance is measured by the amount of data you can write to it before it becomes unreliable. In the case of the S2C, you can write up to 75TB of data to the 128GB version, and up to 150TB to the 256GB and 512GB versions. Considering home users on average write just about 10GB to the drive per day, even if they do that everyday, it would take some 20 years to wear out a 128GB SC2 drive, or 40 years for the higher-capacity versions.

PC Mark Storage benchmark

Toshiba OCZ VX500 4990 267.84Samsung SSD 750 Evo 4986 284.78Samsung SSD 850 Evo 4983 276.16Plextor S2C 4942 223.89Crucial MX300 4914 198.33Toshiba Q300 4894 186.68WD Blue SSD 4728 109
  • Storage Score
  • Storage bandwith (MBps)
Notes: Higher numbers mean better performance

Note that there's also an M.2 version of the S2C, called the S2G. M.2 is a new interface standard available in the latest notebook as well as high-end desktop motherboards, and it has a much higher ceiling speed than the SATA standard. However, since the S2G version has exactly the same type of flash memory, controller and other features as the S2C version, it's highly likely that it will deliver exactly the same performance, though I've yet to actually test the S2G.

Should I get it?

Other than the affordable price, the Plextor S2C doesn't have much going for it. But when migrating from traditional hard drives to an SSD, cost can be an important (if not the most important) factor. This is because in terms of performance, SSDs (even the slow ones) are so much faster than regular hard drives that the differences between them and other SSDs are hardly noticeable to first-time users.

That said, if you're looking to upgrade your aging computer's hard drive, the S2C will definitely bring about great performance improvements. But if you've experienced SSD performance before and want something even better, slightly more expensive drives like the Crucial MX300, the Samsung 850 Evo or the Plextor M7V, are better alternatives.


Plextor S2C

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7