Hey everybody, Lexar is back!
At the end of June 2017, Micron announced the closure of Lexar, a long established memory card brand used to sell Micron-based memory products. At the time, no one realized that Lexar was for sale. On August 31, I broke the story that Longsys, a China-based manufacturer of flash products, purchased Lexar from Micron. Finally, in August 2018, a year later, Lexar announced full production of the Lexar product line including classic designs of removable memory.
The early press releases make it sound like the Lexar brand would simply stay in existing markets, most of which revolve around removable storage. Longsys, on the other hand, is one of the largest flash-device manufacturers in China. We've secretly known for a long time that Lexar's bubble was growing and that the company would release more consumer-focused products in the future, like internal solid state drives.
Right out of the gate the company has a number of SATA and M.2 products including the NVMe-spec NM600. The NM600 is the current flagship of the SSD product line for early 2019. The drive features a mainstream design with a Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2263XT DRAMless controller paired with Micron's exceptional 64L 3-bit per cell memory.
Lexar announced the NM600 series in two capacities at CES, 2018. The drives sport a cost-effective design with decent mainstream performance.
The series uses a Silicon Motion SM2263XT DRAMless 4-channel controller with host memory buffer (HMB) technology that uses a small amount of your system's DRAM to cache the map table through the PCIe 3.0 x4 interface.
The sequential read performance reaches up to 2,100 MB/s for the 480GB model, and that drops to 2,000 MB/s for the 240GB drive. Sequential writes scale to 1,600 MB/s, and 1,200 MB/s with a fair loss for the smaller drive in the series. The random read performance peaks at 188,000 IOPS (480GB), and 110,000 IOPS (240GB).
Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance
The series will not break the bank with pricing starting on Amazon at just $104.99 for the NM600 240GB. The 480GB model is a better value at $159.99. The series includes a 3-year warranty and delivers 120 TBW for the 240GB and 240 TBW for the 480GB drives.
A Closer Look
This is the first SSD released under the Lexar name. Under Micron's leadership, we found the Lexar brand confined to the portable storage market and some associated accessories like professional card readers.
That gave the new owners of Lexar a fresh slate to design products with a larger pallet. That doesn't mean the design is fresh either. The Lexar consumer SSD line uses a basic black and silver color scheme. We would have loved to see some of the classic, colorful Lexar color combinations with the initial release but mainly for nostalgia.