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Lexar Professional NM700 M.2 SSD Review: Sluggish Performance From Dated Hardware

Lexar’s Professional NM700 is Lexar’s fastest SSD yet, but comes up short on performance

Lexar Professional NM700
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

While it can outpace SATA, Lexar’s Professional NM700 is a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD that delivers lower than average performance for slightly higher than average pricing.

For

  • Attractive design
  • Large dynamic SLC cache
  • 5-year warranty
  • Faster than SATA

Against

  • No AES 256-bit encryption
  • Slow write speed after write cache fills
  • Lack of software support in the USA
  • Hot under heavy load

Lexar’s Professional NM700 is the company’s flagship M.2 NVMe SSD built for prosumers and gamers. It’s a step up from the DRAMless NM610 we last reviewed from the company. This time around, leveraging Marvell’s Eldora Plus NVMe SSD controller and 3D TLC NAND flash from Samsung, the NM700 promises to deliver quick load times and fast transfer speeds, but it isn’t quite as responsive as our best picks.

Specifications

ProductNM700 256GBNM700 512GBNM700 1TB
Pricing$52.99$78.99$138.99
Capacity (User / Raw)256GB / 256GB512GB / 512GB1024GB / 1024GB
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
ControllerMarvell 88SS1092Marvell 88SS1092Marvell 88SS1092
DRAMLPDDR3LPDDR3LPDDR3
MemorySamsung 64L TLCSamsung 64L TLCSamsung 64L TLC
Sequential Read3,500 MBps3,500 MBps3,500 MBps
Sequential Write1,200 MBps2,000 MBps2,000 MBps
Random Read200,000 IOPS332,000 IOPS293,000 IOPS
Random Write242,000 IOPS275,000 IOPS272,000 IOPS
SecurityN/AN/AN/A
Endurance (TBW)150 TB300 TB600 TB
Part NumberLNM700-256RBNALNM700-512RBNALNM700-1TRBNA
Warranty5-Years5-Years5-Years

Lexar’s NM700 comes in capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB with street prices of $52.99, $78.99, and $138.99, respectively.

In terms of sequential performance, Lexar rates the SSDs to deliver up to 3.5/2.0 GBps read/write speeds at the 512GB and 1TB capacities, but just up to 3.5/1.2 GBps at the 256GB capacity. Random performance is rated for up to 332,000/275,000 random read/write IOPS at the 512GB capacity.

Mind you; these specifications represent performance when the workload is within the SLC cache – sustained performance outside of the cache will degrade significantly. Fortunately, Lexar’s NM700 features a large dynamic SLC cache that spans one-third of the device’s capacity.

Lexar overprovisions the NM700 by 7% out of the factory. The device leverages Marvell’s third-generation LDPC, hardware RAID, end-to-end data path protection, and adaptive read (retry) support to ensure data reliability throughout its life span. The company rates the NM700’s write endurance similarly to that of Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus, with a rating of 150TB of write data per 256GB of capacity within its 5-year warranty.

Software & Accessories

Lexar includes an M.2 screw with the SSD and supports software like DataShield, Optimize Tool, and SSD Dash to monitor your SSD. Unfortunately for USA purchasers, the company’s software is currently unavailable.

A Closer Look

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Lexar Professional NM700

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 3

Lexar Professional NM700

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Lexar Professional NM700

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Lexar’s NM700 comes in an M.2 2280 single-sided form factor at all capacities and looks excellent with its blacked-out aesthetic. The front sticker is slightly different from NM610 we reviewed before; all of the compliance information and SKU numbering are labeled on the PCB's backside. 

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Lexar Professional NM700

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Lexar Professional NM700

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Marvell's 88SS1092 Eldora Plus PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 eight-channel controller powers the drive. The controller is built on TSMC’s 28HPC+ process for improved efficiency over the 88SS1093 (Eldora). This isn’t cutting-edge as some of the newer controllers that have hit the market, though. The controller is roughly 3-4 years old and two to three generations behind the company’s newer NVMe SSD controllers.

The controller leverages three ARM Cortex R5 cores operating at up to 500MHz and features link power management, including support for the L1.2 idle power state. It also has a 32-bit DRAM interface that negotiates with the 8Gb NANYA LPDDR3 DRAM IC at speeds of up to 1,866 MHz.

Lexar Professional NM700

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Longsys, Lexar’s parent company, packages the NAND flash, so each package could contain any type of flash they get in supply. The company states that they mainly use Samsung flash in the NM700’s production. So, this means that it is most likely Samsung’s V4 V-NAND 64-Layer TLC dual-plane flash. This flash is two generations behind Samsung's current revisions and at least one generation behind the majority of the market.

The flash interfaces with the controller at speeds of up to 533MT/s, and each package likely contains eight dies, with 512Gb dies on our 1TB sample and 256Gb dies on the smaller models.

MORE: Best SSDs

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  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    The result is clear: Buy a SK Hynix Gold.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    I’ll keep my Crucial P5. Fantastic performance
    Reply
  • Scour
    I don´t understand why "Large dynamic SLC cache " is a positive aspect.

    This causes the extreme dropdowns after the end of the Cache because the SSD need to read all the written data in the cache and write it again to the 3bit of the TLC-NAND
    Reply
  • gg83
    Why make this drive? Unless you sell it in markets where you can't buy SK or crucial?
    Reply