Lexar’s NM790 PCIe 4.0 SSD is our ‘best cheap PCIe 4.0 SSD for gaming’ pick, offering extremely rapid speeds. It maxes out at 7400MB/s reads and 6500MB/s writes, near the boundary of the PCIe 4.0 standard, and random read/write figures are impressive too despite lacking a DRAM cache, using HMB instead. So I thought it worth mentioning that you can now pick up this 2TB high-end drive for £85, following a price drop from £93 at Amazon UK.
So those read/write figures – the top PCIe 4.0 drives like the Samsung 990 Pro and WD SN850x are able to top 1M IOPS, and the NM790 comes darn close with a 1M IOPS read rating and a 0.9M IOPS write rating – impressive stuff, even if it’s a shade below the very top options.
Here’s what hardware maven James had to say about the 790 after testing it:
[The NM790 is] extremely impressive in CrystalDiskMark’s 4K random tests, averaging 3499MB/s reads and a 3117MB/s writes. The Crucial P3 Plus, the previous holder of this cheap PCI 4.0 spot, ‘only’ managed 1690MB/s reads and 3118MB/s writes… The NM790 also put the P3 Plus to the sword in AS SSD’s copy benchmarks and our load speed test. It was more than twice as fast at copying game files, scoring 3275MB/s to the Crucial SSD’s 1368MB/s, and it loaded up Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 7s flat – 0.3s ahead of the P3 Plus.
I’m actually currently testing the larger 4TB model for Eurogamer, and the drive recorded some impressive speeds in both synthetic and real-world testing. In fact, I also named the NM790 one of the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs over at Eurogamer, so you’re getting a double-rated SSD at a great price.
Finally, I thought I’d touch on Lexar’s corporate history as it’s a brand I was familiar with but has come into new prominence recently. So, according to Wikipedia, after being spun off from Californian semiconductor firm Cirrus Logic in 1996, the company was acquired by Micron (who own the Crucial brand) in 2006. Eleven years later, Lexar’s brand was sold to Longsys, another flash memory company based in China. They’ve since been active in the flash memory market, producing the first 1TB SD card, a prototype 7500MB/s SSD in 2019 and, most recently, DRAM modules. So – it’s been an interesting ride there, but Lexar continues to do good stuff even if it’s now staffed by completely unrelated people! The more you know.
In any case, this is a solid deal for an NVMe SSD of this size, especially one that comes with RPS and Digital Foundry seals of approval.
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