512GB Class Performance Testing
We tried to build a list of mainstream NVMe consumer SSDs to compare to the new 480GB Lexar NM600. This exposed more problems than it fixed in terms of performance and current pricing. To be fair, the NM600 is new to the market, so the series hasn't had time to lose that new SSD MSRP yet.
At the time of writing, the 480GB Lexar NM600 is the most expensive drive on the charts today. It costs nearly twice as much as the HP EX900 released one year ago with nearly identical hardware and similar specifications.
That's not the most troubling part of this comparison, though. The ADATA SX8200, HP EX920, and Mushkin Pilot, although in end-of-life stage or nearing it, are still available and selling at closeout prices. The biggest competitor though is the Samsung 970 EVO Plus, the company's newest release with improved specification and a low $127.99 price point (at the time of writing).
Sequential Read Performance
As you can see performance is all over the place in the entry-level NVMe / mainstream SSD market space. There are new drives, old drives, and some technologies that never really took off due to shrinking flash prices and not enough of a cost difference between controllers slated for different markets.
The Lexar NM600 sits right in the middle of the performance pack in the sequential read test. The drive doesn't scale much as we ramp up the workload through increased queue depth.
Sequential Write Performance
We found the 480GB NM600 at the top of the traditional entry-level NVMe products in the sequential write test using burst data. This isn't the first time Samsung has disrupted this market with a low-cost EVO product, though. Again we see very little scale as we ramp up the workload with queue depth on the drive.
Sustained Sequential Write Performance
Lexar has increased the SLC write performance with improved firmware since we tested the HP EX900 last year. We see a 200 MB/s difference between the drives.
Random Read Performance
Lexar chose to use the Micron 64L TLC flash that we love. The NM600 delivers 12,500 IOPS of random read performance at QD1. That's a slight increase over the Crucial MX500 SATA SSDs but well off the pace of three lower-cost models in our charts today.
Random Write Performance
The new firmware on the NM600 handles random write bursts much better than the older SX900. Lexar managed to get the performance in this area in the same range s the other drives. The slope is nearly identical to the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.
70% Read Sequential Performance
Moving over to mixed workloads with a 70% read, the sequential test shows a slow increase as we increase the queue depth. The NM600 starts in the middle of the range, but lacks the explosive performance seen with the low-cost 970 EVO Plus.
70% Read Random Performance
With random data in a mixed environment, the NM600 does scale the performance. This is a welcome change from the HP EX900 with the older firmware. The problem is the rate and location of the increase. We don't see a lot of movement until queue depth 8, and by then, the workload is outside of what most consumers achieve with most applications.