On the surface, the Plextor S3C doesn't look like a competitive consumer SSD. The price is higher than we like, but if we strip away that issue, it could be a strong entry-level product. SSD prices normally fall over time, but we went through a period where normal was not the soup of the day. We're still in a holding pattern with flash prices, but at least they've stabilized. Prices should decline when NAND supply begins to recover. When they do, the S3C could be in a strong position to battle the DRAMless invasion of low-performance products that are taking over the entry-level market.
The Plextor S3C's strongest feature isn't actually the drive, but the accessory package. It's been quite a few years since the extras that ship with SSDs were more than a footnote, but that's not the case with Plextor SATA products. We like the software so much we wish it worked with Plextor's NVMe products. Sadly, those are not supported.
PlexTurbo relieves many of the performance issues we found with the S3C, but you need an ample amount of DRAM for it to be effective. Plextor recommends 32GB, and that's around four times the amount we expect to see in a mainstream system. Like NAND, DRAM also has supply issues that have driven the prices higher than normal. We don't test with DRAM acceleration because it artificially increases the synthetic performance results beyond what we see during real-world use.
PlexVault simply builds a hidden layer in the file system that can be toggled on and off with a user-selectable hotkey. PlexCompressor is the standout feature that some users will find useful for a few reasons. This software will automatically compress files you haven't accessed recently, reducing the amount of space they consume on the drive. This frees up space, and as we've proven in the past, that eases the performance roll off due to data accumulation on the flash.
As a standalone SSD, the S3C doesn't bring much new to the SSD game even though it does bring two new components into the light. Plextor just priced this one outside of the target audience. The low endurance and performance say entry-level aftermarket SSD, but the price is too close to the products that deliver the performance users want.
MORE: Best SSDs
MORE: All Storage Content