Lexar introduced its range of M.2 SSDs early in 2019 and have recently refreshed the range so that (at the time of writing) it consists of just three models. The SATA based NM100 (512GB, 256GB and 128GB) and two NVMe drives, the NM700 (1TB, 512GB and 256GB capacities) aimed at professional users, and the entry-level mainstream NM610 which replaces the NM600.
The NM610 brings slightly bigger capacities to the range, with 250GB and 500GB models replacing the 240GB and 480GB capacities of the NM600 line-up, and it also brings with it a new 1TB flagship drive.
Just like the NM600, the NM610 uses a combination of 64-layer 3D TLC NAND and a Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller. The XT is the DRAM-less version of Silicon Motion’s 4-channel SM2263 controller which helps when trying to keep drive manufacturing costs down. To counteract the lack of DRAM cache support, the controller makes use of host memory buffer (HMB) technology which uses a small amount of system memory to cache the map table.
Lexar’s official Sequential speed ratings for the 500GB drive are up to 2,100MB/s for reads and up to 1,600MB/s for writes. When tested with the ATTO benchmark, the review drive couldn’t quite get to that maximum read figure, but at 2,070MB/s it wasn’t that far short. The tested Sequential write figure of 1,657MB/s, on the other hand, was a little better than the official maximum speed. With our own Sequential tests, we got closer to that official maximum read with a result of 2,091.11MB/s, with writes peaking at 1,710.56MB/s.
When it comes to 4K random performance the 500GB drive is rated as up to 188,000 IOPS for reads and 156,000 IOPS for writes. With our 4K testing, using four threads, we couldn’t get close to either of those figures, as we saw 132,413 IOPS for reads and just 53,610 IOPS for writes. We then did a quick test using 8 threads which saw the read figure climb past the official figure ending up at 243,856 IOPS at a QD of 32. It was a similar story for writes with the drive producing 230,445 IOPS at QD32.
Overall, just like its predecessor, the NM600, the NM610 is clearly not the fastest SSD going – we consistently saw it placed in the bottom section of our charts for some of our testing runs. That said, Lexar has given it a fighting chance with competitive pricing so it is worth considering if you are looking for an affordable NVMe SSD.
We found the 500GB Lexar NM610 for £71.49 (inc VAT) at ebuyer.com HERE.
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- Decent Sequential performance.
- Good performance stability for this class of drive.
- Disappointing 4K performance under our standard tests.
KitGuru says: Like the NM600, the NM610 doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of performance or endurance but Lexar has given it a fighting chance in a highly competitive market segment with some keen pricing.