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Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Responsive and Efficient DRAMless Storage

Lexar’s NM610 dishes out multi-GBps performance on the low

Lexar NM610
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

With the newest addition to the NM series hitting the market, Lexar’s NM610 isn’t too much different from the NM600 it replaces. The product line gains a 1TB capacity and performs well with less factory overprovisioning than the models before it. It never was one to be a record-breaker, but rather it is a budget-oriented SATA killer. And, when it comes to doing that, it does a great job.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Lexar’s NM610 offers up over 2.1/1.7 GBps read/write performance thanks to its PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, dominating SATA SSDs for only a few dollars more in most cases. It is even cheaper than Samsung’s 860 EVO at publishing time. In testing, Silicon Motion's SM2263XT controller has proven itself to be a responsive NVMe SSD platform, even though it lacks DRAM cache.  The Lexar NM610 can’t keep deliver sustained write performance that's nearly as good as that from the more-expensive Samsung 970 EVO Plus and WD Black SN750. But that isn’t much of an issue for the majority of the day to day tasks we perform. 

The Lexar NM610 is optimized for the most common tasks. Loading up your favorite game or application is nearly-instantaneous in many cases. But this is also true of other entry-level SSDs. 

Amongst DRAMless SSDs, the WD’s Blue SN550 offers the best performance and warranty coverage. Intel’s SSD 665p, on the other hand, utilizes the DRAM-based Silicon Motion SM2263EN NVMe controller with QLC NAND flash and can keep up with or even surpass the NM610. While the Intel 665p’s performance is highly optimized for consumer use, its write performance degrades to very low speeds after the write cache fills. 

At press time, the Lexar 1TB was out stock but listed for a best price of $115 while the WD Blue SN550 was just $10 more and the Intel SSD 665p was $24 more. Those looking for the best performance in a budget NVMe SSD would  fare better with the SN550, but if you're looking for value -- particularly if it's on a sale -- the Lexar NM610 is a strong choice.

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  • hennes
    "it comes in an M.2 2280 singled sided form factor"

    This is woth listing ad a advantage inon the FOR side.

    "Black PCB" "sticker" "software package"

    Meh! Not worth listing. I never met someone who said "come, I am booting my laptop. Look I unscrewed it and the SSD PCB has this colour". (Nor anyone who would be interested in seeing that).
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    hennes said:
    Meh! Not worth listing. I never met someone who said "come, I am booting my laptop. Look I unscrewed it and the SSD PCB has this colour". (Nor anyone who would be interested in seeing that).
    Complaining about the PCB color or sticker is a bit silly when most showy motherboards have SSD covers/heatsinks hiding the thing anyway. For the lower-end buyer cutting costs with a RAM-less NVMe, appearance isn't as important and most of the SSD will be obstructed from view by the CPU or GPU heatsink anyway.

    I cannot be bothered either way since my PC is just a box stuffed at the back of my desk that I only see once every 2-3 months when it is filter-cleaning time.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    hennes said:
    "it comes in an M.2 2280 singled sided form factor"

    This is woth listing ad a advantage inon the FOR side.

    "Black PCB" "sticker" "software package"

    Meh! Not worth listing. I never met someone who said "come, I am booting my laptop. Look I unscrewed it and the SSD PCB has this colour". (Nor anyone who would be interested in seeing that).
    I disagree. These aren't only for laptops. Many desktop motherboards don't have heatsink covers and low budget gamers still want a nice aesthetic and show off their build to their friends and online.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    Here are the scatter plot chart comparing performance versus prices taken from PCpartpicker



    It clearly is not worth buying, since it has worse price and performance than the WD Black SNX50 (the best buys) and The Patriot, Muskin and Intel.

    It has similar performance than the Adata, but is more costly.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    chalabam said:
    Here are the scatter plot chart comparing performance versus prices taken from PCpartpicker

    It clearly is not worth buying, since it has worse price and performance than the WD Black SNX50 (the best buys) and The Patriot, Muskin and Intel.

    It has similar performance than the Adata, but is more costly.
    Yeah, Lexar keeps changing the price. When I wrote the article it was $116 for the 1TB model at Newegg.
    Reply
  • gg83
    What is with all these third party ssd manufacturers flooding the market with overpriced drives? Black Friday or whatever will see some kick ass deals i bet.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Seems a little silly to still include a HDD in performance-per-dollar in charts, everyone should know by now that anything but the crappiest SSDs in existence will run circles around even the best HDDs available. The main attraction for HDDs is $/GB, where you have to decide between GMR if performance is still of some importance or SMR for absolute lowest cost per GB.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    seanwebster said:
    Yeah, Lexar keeps changing the price. When I wrote the article it was $116 for the 1TB model at Newegg.
    Even at that price is roughly the same price as the WD SN550 and the Patriot P300, which are much faster.

    It should be much cheaper to make sense.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    InvalidError said:
    Seems a little silly to still include a HDD in performance-per-dollar in charts, everyone should know by now that anything but the crappiest SSDs in existence will run circles around even the best HDDs available. The main attraction for HDDs is $/GB, where you have to decide between GMR if performance is still of some importance or SMR for absolute lowest cost per GB.
    Is not silly.

    It is useful to know were do the products stand relative to each other, and what is the trade off between capacity and performance.

    It is also fun, for gore.
    Reply