Reviews SSDs

Lexar NM790 SSD Review – A Top Performing Gen 4 Option

Lexar NM790 Feature Image

Lexar have been a mainstay in the storage space for quite some time. For those of you that aren’t quite familiar with this manufacturer, Lexar are one of the big brands in the SD card and USB flash drive space. For those budding photographers and videographers out there, you’ll be all too familiar with this manufacturer for your various camera and PC needs.

However, in the past couple years, Lexar have branched out more into the gaming PC space, providing RAM and gaming-oriented SSDs geared towards a variety of different use-cases and budgets. The particular SSD that we’re looking at today is one of Lexar’s brand new M.2 drives utilising PCI-E 4.0 lanes, making it an insanely fast drive.

In this review we’ll be delving into the design and aesthetics of this drive, along with some key performance metrics, and alternatives that you can find that offer similar metrics at varying price points towards the end!

Buy the Lexar NM790 on:

$85.75 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-07-17 05:47:08 ET

Do You Need a Gen4 Drive?

As the new Gen5 standard of SSDs starts to become more saturated within the market, it is highly likely that the current generation of Gen4 drives will become cheaper and therefore more accessible for consumers that don’t have any. But this begs the question, do you need one? The maximum rated speed of Gen4 drives sits around 8GB/s read and write, which is pretty insane when you consider how large some applications and files are. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that a Gen4 SSD is a requirement for your build.

Because these drives are so impressively fast, it isn’t particularly likely that you’ll need them if you’re just playing games. Most games will run perfectly fine on a slower Gen3 drive, or a SATA SSD with a DRAM cache, and because these drives are much cheaper, they’re a far more compelling option versus the more expensive Gen4 drives. If you’re on a budget, or just playing your favourite games, the vast majority of consumers are likely to pick up these cheaper drives.

If you’re a workstation user, a Gen4 drive will effectively be a requirement for your build. Based on the much higher speed of Gen4 drives, if you’re moving a lot of files around, having high-speed drives is a necessity. We might see Gen4 drives become a heavier utilised option when Direct Storage technology releases and becomes ingrained in newer games, but for the time being, Gen4 SSDs are not a necessity for consumers just playing games or building a budget PC. There are a number of alternative options that provide great performance but will be much cheaper, saving you some money when it comes to build cost.

Suggested Article: Best 2TB PCI-E Gen4 SSDs to Buy in 2023

Lexar NM790 Design & Aesthetics

Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot to be said about the aesthetic of the Lexar NM790. Although we’ve seen a number of cool looking heatsink designs from a mass of different manufacturers, Lexar don’t seem to have jumped on board with this particular SSD. This drive looks like a standard M.2 2280 drive, and features some of the Lexar branding on the front. Whilst this SSD doesn’t have a heatsink, it is compatible with the PS5, which makes it ideal for those looking to pick up a cheap storage option for their console.

Lexar NM790 in Pot

Due to the lack of a heatsink this does mean that the NM790 will run a little bit hotter in comparison to other options, but this shouldn’t cause any issues, as most modern motherboards offer a heatsink that should minimise any thermals problems. Ultimately, it would be nice to see some RGB, or a cool heatsink on this drive, but based on the lower price I’d argue that this won’t be much of a problem for most consumers.

Performance

Moving onto performance, we fired up the renowned software CrystalDiskMark which allows us to gain some insight into performance metrics. Overall, it seems like the advertised metrics are up to par. Lexar says that this SSD can offer 7400MB/s reads, and 6500MB/s write, and from the image we’ve provided, you’re able to see that these numbers are very close. During our test we actually saw write speeds surpass 6.6GB/s, which is a significant leap versus the specs on paper. Read speeds were a little bit shy of the advertised numbers, but we think this is more likely down to CrystalDiskMark as the performance itself as very close overall.

Lexar Gen4 NM790 SSD
Specifications512GB1TB2TB
NAND Flash Memory3D TLC3D TLC3D TLC
Form FactorM.2 2280 with HeatsinkM.2 2280 with HeatsinkM.2 2280 with Heatsink
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128KB720074007400
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128KB440065006500
Total Bytes Written (TB)50010001500
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours)1.5 Million 1.5 Million1.5 Million
Warranty, Limited (years)555

The Lexar NM790 is one of the most capable Gen4 SSDs on the market, rivalled only by the Seagate Firecuda 530 which offers effectively the same speeds. Needless to say, those looking for affordable but blazing-fast storage will definitely want to consider this drive.

SSD Testing Graph Lexar NM790 Highlight

Conclusion

Lexar NM790 M.2 1TB SSD

Product Name: NM790 M.2 SSD

Brand: Lexar

  • Features
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Value For Money
3.8

Summary

Lexar’s NM790 is an excellent 1TB SSD offering well-rounded performance at a very strong price point. The NM790 is one of the few Gen4 SSDs to release recently that is available below the $70 mark, which is a bit of a rarity when looking at the price per gigabyte. Although this drive isn’t the best looking option, or the most thermally capable, it is still an awesome SSD especially when considering the price. If you’re looking for a cheap but high performing option, the Lexar NM790 is a great choice.

Pros

✅ Excellent read and write speeds.

✅ Solid price point versus the competition.

✅ Five year warranty.

Cons

❌ Doesn’t offer much in terms of aesthetics.

❌ Will have weaker thermals due to the lack of a heatsink.

❌ Only comes in 2280 form factor.

editor
Jay Harris is an expert in everything PC hardware! With a degree in Cybersecurity, and a PC hardware background Jay has all of the technical knowledge required to make informed recommendations. Jay is an avid keyboard builder and gamer, with a major passion for tech. In fact, Jay's personal rig boasts a white RX 7900 XTX graphics card, inside of the Lian O11D Mini - a true enthusiast's dream!