The GB Plextor PX-256M2S solid-state drive (SSD) shares the same design and 256GB capacity cap as the Samsung 470. However, it supports the SATA 6Gbps standard and showed noticeable better performance in our testing, enough to justify its $600 price tag.
If you have a high-end laptop, especially one that has a 6Gbps SATA storage controller, the Plextor PX-256M2S will make an excellent replacement for the computer's internal hard drive. If you want to spend about $100 less, the Samsung 470 will also make a decent choice.
Those who are more financially constrained might want to skip these SSDs entirely and go with the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive, which offers somewhat similar performance, has a top capacity of 500GB, and costs only around $100.
Design and features
|Drive type||2.5-inch SSD|
|Connector options||SATA 3Gbps, SATA 6Gbps|
|Product dimensions||9.5 mm, 2.5-inch standard|
|Capacity of test unit||256GB|
|OSes supported||Windows, Mac, Linux|
Like the Samsung 470, the Plextor PX-256M2S has the same shape, dimensions, and port design as any standard 9.5-millimeter, 2.5-inch internal hard drive. This means it will work in any application where hard drives are used.
The Plextor PX-256M2S, like all SSDs, uses flash memory chips as its storage (as opposed to platters in traditional hard drives), and therefore has no moving parts. This means it uses much less energy and is more resistant to shock and vibration. It's also much lighter than a hard drive of the same size.
Unlike the Samsung 470, which supports the popular SATA 3Gbps standard (SATA2), the Plextor PX-256M2S supports the SATA 6Gbps standard. All generations of SATA share the same port design, however, and the Plextor also works with any SATA2 controller. Currently, only a few high-end laptop and desktop computers support the SATA 6Gbps standard natively. With others you might be able to upgrade to it via a PCIe (PCI Express) add-in card. In that case, make sure that your computer's PCIe slot has 6Gbps or higher bandwidth.
We tried the Plextor PX-256M2S with a few laptops and desktops where other SATA hard dives were used, via SATA2, and it worked well in every case. The operating systems had no problem recognizing the drive and we could install Windows, Linux, and MacOS on it without having to use third-party drivers.
If you want to use the drive with an add-in SATA 6Gbps controller, however, third-party driver software is likely be required.
Cost per gigabyte
The Plextor PX-256M2S is significantly more expensive than traditional hard drives, including the hybrid Momentus XT. At around $600 for just 256GB, the Plextor costs about $2.34 per gigabyte. The Momentus, which is expensive even among traditional and hybrid hard drives, costs less than 10 cents per gigabyte, more than 23 times cheaper.
Even when compared with another SSD, the Plextor is more expensive. The Samsung 470, for example, currently costs around $1.95 per gigabyte.
Note, however, that this comparison of cost per gigabyte between these two types of internal storage options doesn't tell the whole story, as SSDs offer more benefits than traditional platter-based hard drives. Also, among SSDs, the Plextor PX-256M2S is the first we've seen that supports SATA 6Gbps.