Lexar NM610 M.2 2280 NVMe Solid-State Drive
Entry-level M.2. Class SSD with Enthusiast class performance
Lexar refreshed its NVMe SSD lineup with the NM610 series M2 drives. A value SSD proposition on the 8cm M2 form factor. The Lexar NM610 can read up to 2100 MB/s and write up to 1600MB/s. It does so with a trick though, as it uses a small slice of your System RAM memory as buffer.
In our testing, often this SSD surpassed these speeds. Lexar is offering the NM610 series that leverages PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe 1.3 technology. For the NM610 SSD, Lexar uses 64-Layer 3D NAND, which is written as TLC (Triple level cell). For our tested 1TB variant, the manufacturer specifies a lifespan of 500 TBW (total bytes written). An SM2263XT from SMI is used as the controller. This chipset has four NAND channels and is based on a design without a dedicated DRAM cache. So that measn this SSD runs a HMB cache (host memory buffer) using the computer's DRAM. Refreshing the EOL NM600 model this NM610 is the new replacement. The main difference between these two is affects capacity. NM600 went as 240GB/480GB, whereas NM610 is 250GB/500GB as well as a 1TB model:
The MSRP for NM610 are the following:
- 250GB: $49.99
- 500GB: $99.99
- 1TB: $149.99
The specs overall are more than enough for your average end-user, but will this unit deliver what it claims? M2 is the interesting form factor, these small storage units are evolving from being "just as fast" as a regular SSD towards double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, septuple and perhaps in the future even octuple that performance. It comes in a different package, M.2. Using the PCIe lanes interface it is so much more capable as it can deal with way more bandwidth using PCI-Express lanes. As such, M.2 solutions are intended for high-end and enthusiast-class motherboards and laptops. These M.2 units use the NVMe 1.3 protocol and that means storage technology at millennium falcon hyper-fast speeds while remaining competitive in pricing.
- Max Sequential Read - Up to 2100 MBps
- Max Sequential Write - Up to 1600 MBps
- 4KB Random Read - Up to 188,000 IOPS
- 4KB Random Write - Up to 156,000 IOPS
- Endurance (TBW) up to 500 TBW (1 TB model)
While the stability and safety of your data have become a number one priority for the manufacturers, the technology keeps advancing at as fast a pace as it does, the performance numbers a good SSD offers these days are simply breathtaking. You get between 450 MB/s to 500 MB/sec on SATA3 which is the norm for a single controller based SSD. Now in the year 2018 by combining advanced NAND Flash controller with PCIe Gen 3(8Gb/s) x 4, NvMe 1.3 interface and 3D NAND Flash, PCIe M.2 delivers sequential read speed up to 3200MB/s and sequential write speed up to 1500MB/s. A couple of years ago a 64 GB SSD was hot stuff, then slowly we moved to 120 GB, last year 240 GB for an SSD in a PC was the norm, this upcoming year we'll transition slowly to roughly 500 GB per SSD as the norm with sub 200 USD prices. With the market being so huge, fierce and competitive, it brought us to where we are today... nice volume SSDs at acceptable prices with very fast performance. We'll inspect the product PCB and components later on in the review in detail based on vertically stacked NAND (also referred to as 3D NAND) and are now available multiple capacities.
The SSD is a Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe 1.3) M.2 form factor SSD, it has been fitted with new Vertically stacked NAND (64-layer BiCS) TLC. The performance numbers a good SATA3 SSD offers these days are simply excellent, but with the more niche NVMe SSDs you can triple maybe even quadruple performance, which offers serious numbers. The unit follows a smaller M.2 2280 form factor (8cm) so it will fit on most ATX motherboards capable of M.2 just fine. IOPS numbers are reaching the 188K for read and 156K for writes marker (depends on volume size / smaller is slower). At just one-tenth the weight of a traditional 2.5-inch SSD, the M.2 SSDs are ideal for users looking to upgrade their desktop or ultra-thin PCs with high-capacity, high-performance storage. You do need a modern motherboard with capable NVMe supported M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4 connected) interface though, please do check out your motherboard manufacturer for that.