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.
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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