Reviews |Lexar NM800 M.2 2280

Lexar NM800 M.2 2280 Review

Lexar NM800 M.2 2280 review
Review

Price when reviewed

£159

$189
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Our Verdict

Lexar’s latest M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4x4 NVMe SSD pushes the boundaries of technology, with transfer speeds that exceed our test equipment.

M.2 SSDs are an ideal solution for anyone needing ultrafast transfer speeds. The Lexar NM800 maxed out the speeds of our external drives on PC, reaching the high 2000MB/s but being limited by the enclosures. The real speeds could only be tested within a new PCIe equipped PC.

When using Mac systems and external enclosures the stick failed to read correctly, this was due to the abilities of the MacBook Pro 2021 rather than NM800.

Ultimately, if you have the latest PC that has the technology to cope with the PCIe 4 M.2 2280 SSD, this drive is an incredible internal working drive; otherwise, the NM620 will be a better option.

For

  • Ultrafast transfer speeds
  • LDPC error checking
  • Good choice for internal storage

Against

  • Surpasses most external drives transfer speeds
  • Not suitable for Mac systems

What is the Lexar NM800 M.2 2280?

The NM800 M.2 2280 is an NVMe SSD hard drive designed to cope with the transfer speeds required by 8K video and above.

Boasting read speeds of 7400MB/s and write speeds of 5400MB/s; few other drives can match this performance.

The SSD is available in two capacities, 512GB and the 1TB version we’re looking at in this test. This new SSD utilises PCIe Gen4x4 NVMe 1.4 but is backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0 on PC systems.

As with the NM620, the NM800 uses Low-Density Parity Check (LDPC) technology. LDPC ensures that data transfers are as reliable as possible by fixing data errors before slowing down the system.

Lexar NM800 M.2 2280 review

Unusually this SSD features speeds that surpass many external enclosures for example those offered by Thunderbolt 3.0. To benefit from the full quality and speed of this storage, you need to be using a PCIe 4.0 equipped PC.

Performance

At the start of the test finding a machine that would be suitably fast enough to push the limits of this SSD proved challenging.

Using the usual external hard drives connected to Thunderbolt 3.0 on the Mac proved pointless with random disconnections and the computer having difficulty reading or writing to the SSD.

However, switching to a PC system equipped with Thunderbolt 4 was the turn of the external drive enclosure to limit the card’s performance.

While speeds reached 2500MB/s, this was close to the enclosures limit and not the drives.

Lexar NM800 M.2 2280 review

Finally, the Lexar NM800 was popped inside a video PC to test out the drive’s actual performance; again, this was equipped with the older PCIe 3.0 connection, so it was not a complete reflection of the full transfer speeds of the SSD.

Using the AJA System test the drive was provided the following results:

Read: 2664MB/s
Write: 2839MB/s

Suffice to say that the Lexar NM800 is fast enough for most video editing needs at this moment in time. While the 1TB capacity will limit anyone shooting 8K video, it will be ideal for most short 4K productions.

Final thoughts

The Lexar NM800 proved challenging to review. The performance was abundant in the right machine, but compatibility isn’t as straightforward as other NVMe cards.

Using the drive with a Mac in an enclosure proved pointless; the Mac system refused to acknowledge the card properly or connect. Something with the two technologies clashes.

Therefore this SSD should only be used with PC systems, and then you have another issue. While Thunderbolt 4 ports will enable transfer speeds of up to 5000MB/s, finding an external hard drive that provides this type of performance is impossible at present.

Lexar NM800 M.2 2280 review

The only real option is to pop it into an up to date modern PC. At which point, this drive reaches transfer rates close to 3000MB/s but still doesn’t come anywhere close to reaching it’s full potential.

If you’re a Mac user, forget it; this drive isn’t for you. If you’re using this as an internal drive, PC users, it’s ideal, fast, reliable, and well priced and future proofed as long as your machine is equipped with an M.2 slot.

The NM800 feels like a card launched before its time; it offers transfer speeds at the top of most hardware capabilities. But then the latest machines are offering support for the next generation of cards that will make this one look like an old optical drive soon enough, I’m sure.

For the moment, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced NVMe SSD for your PC, then the NM800 is an ideal choice.

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