Lexar has teamed up Silicon Motion’s SM2263XT controller with 64-layer 3D TLC NAND from Intel on the NM610. One thing that this drive is missing is a DRAM cache chip. This is because the drive makes use of Host Memory Buffer (HMB). With this configuration we were able to achieve speeds of 2007.3 MB/s read and 1474.9 MB/s write in CrystalDiskMark, which falls slightly short of the 2100 MB/s / 1600 MB/s advertised speeds. Given the performance we would definitely call this drive an entry-level Gen3 NVMe drive.
Talking about performance one thing that we did notice was that across our tests performance was sort of all over the place. One such test was ATTO Disk Benchmark were we saw performance sort of drop randomly throughout the test. We are not sure if this was just our sample or not.
Even being an entry-level drive it is going to be much faster (4x reads / 3x writes) than a normal 2.5-inch SATA solid state drive and remember it is not going to take up any room in your case as it is directly attached to your motherboard.
The drive does not come with any type of cooling, but we did not notice any thermal throttling in our tests. The drive is one-sided which makes it more compatible with certain systems, especially laptops and ultrabooks. Lexar also backs the drive up with a 3-year warranty.
When it comes to entry-level M.2 MVMe SSDs it really comes down to price beyond anything else. You know a drive like this is not going to hit the high-end speeds of top-tier NVMe drives, but this drive will still be much faster than a normal 2.5-inch SATA SSD. Right now the 500GB version of the NM610 is selling at our favorite online retailer for $115.08, which puts it at about $0.23 per GB. Samsung’s 970 EVO is only $99.99, Sabrent’s Rocket Q is $69.99, and even the Crucial P1 is $59.99. Pricing just seems off for this drive, especially when you get pick up a Sabrent Rocket NVMe PCI-Express 4.0 500GB drive for $119.98.
The Lexar NM610 is a great entry-level Gen3 M.2 SSD, it just really is not priced to compete with other Gen3 drives. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Lexar NM610 a 7 out of 10 score.
– Performed up to specifications
– Does not thermal throttle
– No DRAM cache
– Priced as much as a Gen4 drive
– Random performance drops in certain tests