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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.