Lexar recently expanded on their gaming lineup and one of the new products that they have added into the mix is their new NM790 SSD. It is a PCIe 4 SSD with the standard 2280 M.2 form factor using four lanes. This isn’t Lexar’s first PCIe 4x4 SSD, in fact, they have 7 other models that fall into that category. But even though PCIe 5.0 drives are now also on the market the PCIE 4 drives are still the sweet spot. The NM790 is a DRAMless design that they are looking to put behind the NM800 Pro which has DRAM in their lineup. Today I’m going to see what it is all about then put it to the test, then when I’m done we can see how the NM790 is positioned in the market to find out if it’s a good option for your next build.

Product Name: Lexar NM790 2TB

Review Sample Provided by: Lexar

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Capacities

512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB

Form Factor

M.2 2280

Interface

PCIe Gen4x4

Dimensions (L x W x H)

80 x 22 x 2.45 mm (3.15” x 0.87” x 0.10”)

Weight

6g / 0.013 lbs

Speed

512GB—Sequential read up to 7200MB/s, sequential write up to 4400MB/s¹

1TB—Sequential read up to 7400MB/s, sequential write up to 6500MB/s¹

2TB—Sequential read up to 7400MB/s, sequential write up to 6500MB/s¹

4TB—Sequential read up to 7400MB/s, sequential write up to 6500MB/s¹

Operating Temperature

0°C to 70°C (32°F to 158°F)

Storage Temperature

-40°C to 85°C (-40°F to 185°F)

Shock-resistant

1500G, duration 0.5ms, Half Sine Wave

Vibration-resistant

10~2000Hz, 1.5mm, 20G, 1 Oct/min, 30min/axis (X,Y,Z)

TBW

512GB: 500TBW, 1TB: 1000TBW, 2TB: 1500TBW,4TB3000TBW

MTBF

1,500,000 Hours

Warranty

Five-year limited warranty

 


Photos and Features

The packaging for the Lexar NM790 is similar to past Lexar packaging. It has a black background with a large zoomed-in picture of the NM790 in the center. Up top, the hanger part of the box is silver which is a change from the NM800 Pro which was gold. The silver continues into the model name which is up top. That has the drive size(M.2 2280) and connection type (PCIe 4x4) with it so you know exactly what you are working with. The Lexar logo is up top as well. Then down at the bottom, they have the drive speed which for the NM790 is listed at up to 7400 MB/s read speed, and then in the bottom right corner there is a grey spot where they can put a sticker with the drive's capacity which for our sample is the 2TB model. The back of the box continues the black background but is packed full of small fine print text. Up top, they do highlight a few features, namely the drive speed and that it is twice the speed of PCIe Gen 3 drives. They also talk about less power consumption because it is DRAMless. The back has a window so you can see the drive inside to see the serial number and confirm the drive size. Then down at the bottom below all of the legal info is the UPC and a badge for the 5-year warranty.

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When you get inside of the NM790’s box you have a clear plastic clamshell which has the drive in the center. Lexar also includes a tiny M.2 screw. They are the only company I see do this but it is always a nice touch. They are easy to lose and often if this is a second drive you may have to go dig out your motherboard box to find a screw at all. Then for documentation, you get a folded-up SSD quick installation guide which also has warranty information. This documentation isn’t specific to the NM790 but if you need help it does have some information, your motherboard’s instructions would be a better place to look though. The NM790 has a 5-year warranty which is in line with what most Samsung drives and Western Digital drives like the SN770 have.

image 4

The drive itself doesn’t come with any heatsinks or anything that would prevent it from being used with any motherboard that has its own heatsink. The PCB is black which matched up well with the sticker that runs the length of the drive on top. The sticker is split between the top and bottom and matches other Lexar drives. It has the black on the bottom and has the model name and drive type information printed there in white. Then the Lexar logo is in silver to match what we saw on the packaging. The top half is silver as well with thin black lines at an angle and on the top right has the 790 designation popping out. You can’t go wrong with black and silver, it always looks great if the drive is visible so the NM790 is good there and Lexar’s half-and-half styling looks great and keeps their branding consistent between drives as well.

image 5

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The back of the NM790 doesn’t have anything on the PCB at all so the sticker back here is right on the PCB, not on top of the components like on the front. The sticker has the Lexar branding up top in a black stripe and the rest is all white. They have a few regulatory logos on there and then the drives part number and serial number are listed as well as a barcode and QR code for them.

image 7

Without a heatsink getting to the components on the NM790 wasn’t too hard. With it off I could see what all the drive has going on. We knew going in that this is a DRAMless design so it isn’t a surprise that we aren’t seeing that at all. There are four NAND pads but our 2TB sample is using just two of the pads. The NM790 is available in a range of sizes. You can get smaller drives like the 512GB and 1TB models as well as the larger capacities like the 2TB we have here and a 4TB as well. So they must be saving those two other spots just for the 4TB model. The NAND is Longsys which is the brand that owns Lexar. Each NAND has RY18TAA48821024 and H231003028301T on them and these are 232-layer TLC NAND. The controller is then near the M.2 connection and is a Maxio MAP1602 with MAP1602A-P20 etched on it.

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image 9

image 10

 


Test Rig and Procedures

Testing Hardware

Live Pricing

Case

Primochill Wetbench

HERE

Motherboard

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Extreme

HERE

CPUs

Intel i9-13900K w/ PL2 set to 253W

HERE

Ram

Crucial 2x32GB 64GB Kit

HERE

Power Supply

be quiet Dark Power Pro 1600W

HERE

Thermal Paste

Noctua NT-H2

HERE

SSD

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

HERE

OS

Windows 11 Pro

HERE

 

Test Procedures

CrystalDiskMark 8

Full CrystalDiskMark benchmark then also taking a look at the IOPS performance on both read and write RND4K Q32T1

AS SSD

File Copy benchmark using ISO, Program, and Game settings

Passmark Performance Test 10

Passmark storage benchmark is run using the provided score

Anvil's Storage Utilities

We run the whole SSD benchmark but only use the 4K QD16 IOPS for random read performance

Queue Depth Testing

This uses Anvil’s as well, but we run individual tests set to 4k file size at a queue depth from 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and for read speeds 128

ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark is run with a queue depth of 1 for both read and write file transfer speeds

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 storage benchmarks for the Full System Drive benchmark and the Data Drive Benchmark

Real World Test

File transfer tests are done in Windows 11 using the default transfer tool. Tests are done with a folder filled with Word Documents, a folder filled with JPG and RAW photos, and a folder filled with movies

 


Performance

Before getting into testing the Lexar NM790 I did check the drive out using CrystalDiskInfo just to confirm that it was connected using the correct interface. It was connected at PCIe 4.0 x4 so we are good there. I also like to do this to document the firmware revision we are running on for testing because those do change from time to time as well.

image 11

My first round of testing was to run the Lexar NM790 through Crystal Disk Mark 8. Sequential testing is usually a best-case scenario and is what companies use for their specifications and on the front of the box to advertise drive speeds which in the case of the Lexar NM790 the box has a general “up to 7400 MB/s read speed listed but the specifications break things down more with 7400 MBs read speed and 6500 MB/s write speed on the 1T, 2TB, and 4TB models but slower 7200 MB/s read speed and 4400 MB/s write speed for the 512GB model. The Lexar NM790 didn’t completely reach the 7400MB/s speeds in my read test but it wasn’t far off at 7188 MB/s read speed. Write speeds on the other hand surpassed the listed speed of 6500 MB/s with 6636 MB/s.

 

PCIe 3.0

PCIe 4.0

PCIe 5.0

 

Crystal Disk Mark 8 - Read

SEQ1M Q8T1

SEQ128K Q32T1

RND4K Q32T16

RND4K Q1T1

WD Blue SN550 1TB

2444.53

2077.36

1075.88

57.88

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

4939.59

2871.47

1034.52

74.53

Corsair MP400 1TB

3432.77

1889.56

713.28

61.42

Corsair Force MP600 2TB

4828

1543.31

901.83

41.49

Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus 1TB

6468.33

2712.53

455.24

54.68

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

6697.19

4358.63

1113.7

69.76

Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB

6592.75

3093.11

1085.23

55.14

Patriot P400 1TB

5036.9

3518.47

1059.71

88.06

WD Blue SN570 1TB

3569.34

2681.32

1046.46

65.75

WD Black SN770 1TB

5223.32

4958.17

1034.35

82.24

MSI Spatium M480 Play 2TB

6979.03

4267.59

1315.25

81.22

Viper Gaming VPR400

5163.46

3880.75

1030.81

85.35

Crucial P3 Plus 2TB

5041.44

2799.96

1107.97

56.56

Crucial P3 2TB

3511.18

2379.76

957.63

45.42

Fantom Drives Venom8 2TB

6989.96

4216.08

1086.16

79.59

Lexar Professional NM800 Pro 2TB

7155.05

3479.95

781.64

84.56

Crucial T700 2TB

12399.57

9265.64

826.54

98.49

Lexar NM710 1TB

5101.53

4683.79

839.35

72.24

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB W/Heatsink

6699.11

4267.73

826.71

68.33

Lexar NM790 2TB

7188.21

5214.37

820.62

81.36

 

 

PCIe 3.0

PCIe 4.0

PCIe 5.0

 

Crystal Disk Mark 8 - Write

SEQ1M Q8T1

SEQ128K Q32T1

RND4K Q32T16

RND4K Q1T1

WD Blue SN550 1TB

2007.63

2006.4

776.4

290.25

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

3633.71

2568.7

920.84

385.73

Corsair MP400 1TB

2021.09

2017.63

1196.42

262.36

Corsair Force MP600 2TB

992.38

982.78

996.22

276.26

Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus 1TB

5241.89

5225.25

921.51

402.26

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

5025.83

4880.38

884.12

240.78

Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB

6899.76

5831.06

1083.12

367.6

Patriot P400 1TB

4830.94

4813.27

846.34

307.12

WD Blue SN570 1TB

3147.13

2893.72

909.47

234.17

WD Black SN770 1TB

4983.07

4980.59

1149.36

295.13

MSI Spatium M480 Play 2TB

6870.73

5863.14

1062.32

357.02

Viper Gaming VPR400

4780.82

4775.74

838

285.02

Crucial P3 Plus 2TB

4388.26

4387.54

989.42

2967.35

Crucial P3 2TB

3244.52

2712.72

630.77

261.09

Fantom Drives Venom8 2TB

4132.6

5850.19

844.52

315.7

Lexar Professional NM800 Pro 2TB

6629.2

5645.52

589.6

274.14

Crucial T700 2TB

11692.96

9500.07

710.93

363.19

Lexar NM710 1TB

4447.81

2640.5

686.8

283.91

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB W/Heatsink

5041.15

4906.1

747.39

204.11

Lexar NM790 2TB

6636.51

5415.95

685.5

291.28

 

While testing in CrystalDiskMark 8 I did also check out the drive’s IOPS performance with the random 4k queue depth of 32 and 1 thread results. I stacked the read and write performance together here because I do believe that the overall drive performance is important, not just one result or the other. The Lexar NM790 came in down near the bottom of our chart here with the rear IOPS being in the middle of the pack but the write IOPS being lower than most.

graph1

In AS SSD, I skipped over the standard test because it is very similar to the CrystalDiskMark tests I prefer to check out one of its sub-tests, the copy benchmark. This moves three files, one that is an ISO, one that is a program, and then a game, and times how long each takes. With these being timed, lower is better here. I have all three results stacked to see which drives are best overall. The Lexar NM790 did extremely well here with just the PCIe 5.0 drive being faster. It was faster than any of the other PCIe 4.0 drives tested in all three results.

graph2

Next up with PassMark Performance Test 10, I ran their combined synthetic benchmark to get a look at their DiskMark rating. The Lexar NM790 is up at the top of this chart as well with just the FURY Renegade and the M480 Play scoring better.

graph3

I then changed my focus back over to IOPS performance and ran the NM710 in Anvil’s Storage Benchmark focusing on the 4k queue depth of 16 results from the main test. The Lexar NM790 did well with the read IOPS in Anvil’s but once again the write IOPS was holding it back. But this time around it is closer to the middle of the pack when the two results are combined.

graph4

Sticking with Anvil’s Storage Utilities I did a few more tests. Here I wanted to check out how the drive would react to different queue depths so with the file size set to 4K I ran tests ramping up double each time starting at 1 and up to 128 for reads and 64 for writes. This lets us see if the controller gets overloaded. For the read, queue depth tests the Lexar NM790 is in the middle of the pack up through a queue depth of 8. From there it does ramp up staying right in the middle with a few of the faster drives but when it hit a queue depth of 64 it dropped off and went down in performance for the final 128 queue depth test. The write queue depth test on the other hand the Lexar NM790 starts off performing lower than nearly everything else and stays there until a queue depth of 8. It ramps up from there some but the performance gain drops off for the final test and it finishes in the idle of the pack.

graph5

graph6

For ATTO Benchmark I set it to a queue depth of just 1 but ramped up the file size slowly to see how it would affect performance. For the read test in ATTO, the Lexar NM790 performs similarly to what we saw in the Anvil test with it running in the middle of the pack and then ramping up at 65KB and larger file sizes. It was doing really well but at the 8MB test, it drops from the being right with the fast PCIe 4.0 drives down into the middle of the chart from there on. This is where the DRAMless design falls behind, you can see a few other drives perform similarly in that same area. The write performance was nearly the same, middle of the pack until it started to ramp up at 32KB and above. The Lexar NM790 runs with the fast drives until the 12MB test where it drops from almost 6000 MB/s down to 4000 MB/s and stays there the rest of the way.

graph7

graph8

Next up I wanted to look at more real-world performance and for this, I started with PCMark 10 which has an overall full system benchmark for storage, and then one focused on data storage drives. In the full system drive benchmark, the Lexar NM790 was above the median performance in the full system results but came in lower in the data drive benchmark. For the full system drive test, the Lexar NM790 was right with the Crucial P5 Plus and the Patriot P400 drives as well as Lexar’s own NM800 Pro as well.

graph9

For more real-world resting, I did our file transfer tests. You don’t get any more real-world than this. For each drive, I copied the folder filled with files to the drive tested documenting what its transfer rate is near the end of the transfer. I used three file types, movies which are large single files, a folder filled with RAW and JPG photos, and then a folder filled with Word documents. Starting with the movie files the Lexar NM790 did 2560 MB/s, 1570 MB/s for pictures, and 17.5 MB/s for documents. This up the Lexar NM790 was up near the top in all of those tests with just Lexar’s NM710 performing a little better.

Windows 11 File Transfers

Movies

Pictures

Documents

WD Blue SN550 1TB

852

937

2.42

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

2720

1140

5.75

Corsair MP400 1TB

2140

996

2.57

Corsair Force MP600 2TB

1250

816

2.83

Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus 1TB

2120

254

1.63

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

2060

1030

5.2

Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB

2330

857

2.58

Patriot P400 1TB

2070

981

2.86

WD Blue SN570 1TB

602

992

5.14

WD Black SN770 1TB

2260

605

2.52

MSI Spatium M480 Play 2TB

1930

905

5.62

Viper Gaming VPR400

2360

1300

2.61

Crucial P3 Plus 2TB

2240

1080

6.92

Crucial P3 2TB

1990

1100

6.46

Fantom Drives Venom8 2TB

1750

1190

4.45

Lexar Professional NM800 Pro 2TB

2230

879

4.39

Crucial T700 2TB

2540

1520

4.57

Lexar NM710 1TB

2610

1630

18.4

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB W/Heatsink

2580

1570

17.4

Lexar NM790 2TB

2560

1570

17.5

 

Before finishing up my testing I did run AIDA64’s drive benchmark with the linear read test for a half hour to heat things up and got a look at the Lexar NM790 through the thermal camera. The temperatures have a wide range across the drive which isn’t too big of a surprise with it not having a heatsink at all. The 55.6c hotspot is where the controller is at. That is where all of the heat is generated and we can see that then radiate the rest of the way across the drive as it cools down towards the middle and end.

image 1

 


Overall and Final Verdict

With the NM790 Lexar is refreshing their non-pro lineup with a new top tier PCIe 4 drive. While PCIe 5 drives are starting to hit the market, PCIe 4 is still the bread and butter with Intel and AMD both having full support for them for a few years now. For the NM790 Lexar has kept their simple two-tone styling that makes it easy to spot a Lexar SSD while also helping make it clear where the drives stand in their lineup as well. The silver and black two-tone look also look great on the Lexar NM790. The Lexar NM790 has a wide range of capacities starting at 512GB up to 4TB which covers anything you might need which is nice to see.

For performance, the Lexar NM790 did well in our tests falling right in with the other higher-end PCIe 4.0 drive tests. There were a few exceptions to that, namely in any of the IOPS tests where its write IOPS performance held it back. It also dropped off later in our ATTO tests, most likely because of it being a DRAMless design. But it really stood out in the AS SSD copy benchmark as well as in our own real-world file transfer tests. The Lexar NM790 is a great drive if you are moving files around on it but a drive like Lexar’s NM800 Pro which has onboard DRAM will be the better option in situations where you aren’t writing to the drive as much.

Being DRAMless does help keep costs down and the Lexar NM790 2TB drive that I have tested today costs $109.99 right now. For comparison, drives with similar performance from lesser-known brands start at $90 but drives like the Crucial P5 Plus are $117 and they go up in price from there on Newegg right now.  The Lexar NM790 was previously $99.99 which I would love to see it back down at that price. At $109.99 it is getting close to Lexar’s own NM800 Pro which is $122.99 on Amazon right now.

fv6recommended

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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