Lexar Professional NM700 M.2 SSD Review: Sluggish Performance From Dated Hardware – Tom's Hardware

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

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.
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.
Lexar Professional NM700
Lexar Professional NM700
Lexar Professional NM700
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. 
Lexar Professional NM700
Lexar Professional NM700
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
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: How We Test HDDs And SSDs
MORE: All SSD Content
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