Lexar NM610 M.2 Nvme SSD Review

Lexar NM610 M.2 Nvme SSD Review
Review
Website: Lexar

Price when reviewed

£56

$71
Check current price

Our Verdict

Looking for fast, affordable storage? Then the Lexar NM610 M.2 SSD could be the solution for you. M.2 Nvme storage has been around for years, but it's only now that the price of these high-speed drives has become affordable. That said you'll still need to buy an enclosure, I went for the excellent Netstor External Dual Nvme, pricey but it does feature Thunderbolt 3. Once installed and ready the NV610 proves it's worth supplying write speeds of over 1000MB/s; however, pair two drives in RAID 0 and then things get really impressive with speeds of 2000MB/s plus.

For

  • Fast
  • Affordable NVMe
  • Mac and PC Compatible

Against

  • 256, 500GB limited capacity for imaging
What is the Lexar NM610 M.2 Nvme SSD

M.2 Nvme is a type of computer storage that has been around for a few years but hasn’t until now been widely used due to cost.

Like tradition optical hard drives and newer SSD, M.2 Nvme drives can be used as your main hard drive, file storage or as your main working drive. Anyone who owns a MacPro 2013 will be more than aware of the benefits.

As the technology is different from traditional hard drives, most machines will require an adapter card if the NVMe is to be used within the machine, or an easier option is to use a special enclosure. The payoff for the expense are read and write speeds that far sparse tradition optical hard drives and SSD’s.

The increased transfer speeds offer multiple benefits from speeding up your computers operating system if used as your main hard drive, to enable faster video editing.

The potential performance boost offered by NVMe is huge especially if you edit video. The Lexar NM610 M.2 looks to offer these ultra-fast transfer speeds at a very reasonable price, but are they any good?

Specification

  • Capacity: 256GB, 500GB, 1TB
  • Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Interface: PCIe Geb3x4
  • Read Speed: 2100MB/s
  • Write Speed: 1600MB/s
Features

Available in 1TB, 500GB and 256GB versions the Lexar NM610 M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe SSD, to give it it’s full name, looks to offer great value for money.

The big features are the read speed of 2100MB/s and write of 1600MB/s, not the fastest for this type of drive but well up there when it comes to a balance of price and feature.

If NVMe already sounds like the way to go for you, be warned there are quite a few different types, the M.2 2280 form factor, of which this is, is fast becoming the standard.

It uses a high-speed PCIe Gen3x4 interface which enables up to 3.5x greater speed than a traditional SATA-based SSD. This puts the speed of these drives in context.

As there are no moving parts, the drive is shock and vibration resistant, this means that they make great solutions for portable drives.

It’s worth noting that this review covers the barebones drive and not the enclosure or adapter card you’ll need to interface the drive with your computer.

To do this interfacing I’m using the Netstor External Dual NVMe which is connected to a MacBook Pro 2018 through ThunderBolt 3.

Build and Handling

The Lexar NM610 M.2 2280 NVMe is designed as an internal hard drive that should be encased within a machine or enclosure.

As such all chips and circuits are on show, so it’s best to install following the guidelines for your equipment and make sure that the drive is protected from moisture and static during installation.

Installing the drive is as easy as any, and I could see no issues with the design or build quality.

Once installed and the heat contact is stuck in place,(Part of the enclosure not the drive) the drives are ready for initialisation. For this test, I have two 500GB units, which I’ll test individually and then in software RAID 0 set-up through Mac OS.

Inizalisation and then creating the RAID 0 is straight forward and once done the drive is instantly recognised on the MacBook Pro 2018.

Performance

To fully check the performance of the drive, I first checked the individual speed as a standalone storage device and then as part of a RAID 0 configuration.

The test was carried out using the Netstor External Dual NVMe enclosure connected to an i9 MacBook Pro 2018 with the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

The results were as follows:

Single drive formated as Mac OS Journaled:

Read Speed = 1478MB/s
Write Speed = 1135MB/s

This shows that the drive as it is can be used for most resolutions and formats of 4K video editing.

The next test couple two 500GB drives in a RAID 0 configuration optimised for speed and giving a total capacity of 1TB. The results were as follows:

Read Speed = 2403MB/s
Write Speed = 2011.3MB/s

The RAID 0 results are impressive and in the following real-world test connected to both the MacBook Pro and later the MacPro 2013 HD for 4K video editing the drives performed perfectly.

Verdict

The use of NVMe storage will revolutionise the way you edit footage. These drives are designed as working drives, ones that you use to store the video and photography projects you’re working on rather than archiving.

The fast read and write times ensure that data is accessed quickly and the speed difference between this NVMe and tradition drives is instantly apparent in use.

Using Final Cut Pro for instance there’s a considerable improvement in lag times when editing and rendering compared to when using a traditional SSD.

While the drives themselves are now relatively cheap, the cost of a decent enclosure is still relatively expensive. The Netstor used in this test is excellent but does come with a steep price tag considering it is an otherwise empty enclosure. However, the payoff for the increase in drive speed is well worth it.

Still, with the latest DSLR and Mirrorless cameras placing greater demands on storage, the Lexar NM610 M.2 is a great solution. The price is extremely competitive and tested over a month the two drives in a RAID 0 array stood up to intensive use as a working drive.

Our test featured the 500GB version which is ideal for use with stills, for videographers I’d layout the extra for the 1TB version. In both cases, if you can stretch to buying two and configuring in RAID 0 then you’ll get the greatest speed benefit.

There is little to fault with the Lexar NM610 M.2, it’s fast and well priced and for now, will suit almost all your working drive needs when it comes to speed.

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