Lexar Play 1 TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Review – Tiny, Fast & Perfect For Gaming Handhelds

While PCIe Gen 5 NVMe SSDs are setting new storage performance benchmarks, the real-life and application benefits of getting those drives are still not worth the price you are paying for them. It’s mostly an early adopters product for now and while we appreciate the speed-up, we would love to see the performance transition from synthetic benchmarks to actual use cases.

And you know what’s still considered to be quite fast without breaking your wallet? The current-gen PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs. Gen 4 SSDs are now available at very affordable price rates and offer great performance. Furthermore, there’s a new emerging market that has taken the gaming market by storm and that’s handheld. With the arrival of Steam Deck, there have been multiple new products coming out such as the ASUS ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion, MSI Claw, and various Chinese models just to name a few.

Today, I will be testing the Lexar Play 1 TB SSD. The drive features a Gen 4.0 protocol which means that it is future-proof and retails for a relatively affordable price of $84.99 US.

Lexar Play 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

The Lexar Play M.2 2230 SSD is part of the Lexar Play family which are designed as standard flash cards and entry-level SSD options for gaming platforms. The Lexar Play M.2 2230 SSDs are based on the NVMe SSD form factor and feature TLC-based 3D NAND flash, offering larger capacities of up to 2TB, better performance, and slightly lower power input. The CRAS C930 SSDs are based on the Silicon Motion SMI SM2269XT controller which is aimed at entry-tier PCIe 4.0 SSDs and is supposed to be an affordable alternative to the Phison controllers.

FEATURES

  • Small Form Factor, Big Performance
  • Compact Form Factor
  • Transfer Games and Other Files Fast
  • Lots of Storage in Less Space
  • More Game Time, Less Wait Time
  • Game On, For Longer
  • Rigorously Tested

In terms of performance, Lexar Play 1 TB has sequential read speeds of up to 5200 MB/s and write speeds of 4700 MB/s. The Random read speeds of these drives are up to 800K IOPS and the write is 780K IOPS. The drive is based on 176-layer TCL NAND from Micron and has an endurance of 600TB (TBW) backed by a 5-year warranty.

Lexar Play 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD  – Unboxing and Closer Look

The Lexar Play 1 TB SSDs come in a small package. The package is colored red/black and features a large picture of the SSD featured on it. The front also lists down some features such as capacities, maximum read speeds, and PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 form factor.

The back of the package lists some specifications of the SSD and some performance figures which we will get to in a bit.

The Lexar Play SSD package includes a warranty booklet and that’s about it. The SSD container includes the storage drive.

The front of the SSD includes a specifications sticker. This is the standard NVMe 1.4 standard and the CRAS C930 measures 30 x 22 x 2.45mm (LxWxH) while weighing 3.21 grams with the heatsink attached.

The singular NAND Flash chip and the Silicon Motion controller are situated on the front. Being a single-sided design means that the SSD will run a bit cooler since users don’t have to worry about heat from any components on the other side.

The drive doesn’t feature any heatsink and is designed to be a low-power device which is suitable for gaming handhelds since they have limited cooling solutions to start with.

Test Setup

Our test platform for this review consisted of an Intel Core i9-13900K processor which ran at stock clocks on the MSI Z790 ACE motherboard. The platform was coupled with 32 GB of DDR5 memory from G.Skill (Trident Z5/ 16 GB x 2) and the MSI MEG Ai1300P PSU. For graphics, I used the MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X. This rounds up as a high-end platform for tests with modern-day SSDs.

Wccftech SSD Test Setup 2023

Processor Intel Core i9-13900K
Motherboard: MSI MEG Z790 ACE
Power Supply: MSI MEG Ai1300P (1300W)
Solid State Drive: MSI Spatium M570 Pro 2 TB Gen 5
Team Group T-Force CARDEA Z540 2 TB Gen 5
Inland TD510 2 TB Gen 5
Crucial T700 Gen 5 2 TB
AORUS Gen 5 10000 2 TB
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-7400 (2 x 16 GB)
Case: Cooler Master C700M
Video Cards: MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X
Cooling Solutions: MSI MEG S360 AIO Liquid Cooler
OS: Windows 11 64-bit

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD Performance Benchmarks

First up, we have the official performance stats for these drives as listed by their manufacturers. You can compare these stats with the rest of the drives I tested in the following chart:

0

166667

333334

500001

666668

833335

1000002

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

0

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD Benchmark download is a Windows 10 utility software program that tests the performance of solid-state drives. With its help, you can find out the speed of all installed SSDs and take care of any issues that the tests may reveal. The free app performs three separate tests to provide you with conclusive evidence of your driver’s general behavior while it copies, reads, and writes data.  The app determines the access time of an SSD, along with its speed and performance capabilities

0

4000

8000

12000

16000

20000

24000

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

  TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

ATTO 3.05 Disk Benchmark

As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware software to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid-state drives, RAID arrays as well as the host connection to attached storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturer’s RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives, and SSD drives, and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

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4000

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12000

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

  TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

Crystal Disk Mark 7.0.0 x64

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software. It measures sequential reads/writes speed, random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed, selects test data (Random, 0Fill, 1Fill),

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2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

  TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

  TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

File Transfer Speeds (100 GB File Size)

To test the maximum average transfer speeds of the drives, I used a 100 GB file to test the limits.

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark

The PCMark 10 Storage benchmark is designed to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 10 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

  Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

  TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

Forspoken DirectStorage Benchmark

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 PRO 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Creamic C440 1 TB Gen 4

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 2 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4

Solidigm P41 Plus 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M450 1 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M390 1 TB Gen 3

  TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3

Conclusion – A Solid Performer For Modern-Day Handhelds

There are plenty of M.2 2230 NVMe options out in the market but Lexar is one step ahead with top-notch speeds at up to 5200 MB/s read speeds and in terms of performance, the drive offered some really good numbers despite its DRAM-less design. It’s not like there are any DRAM drives available in this form factor but for handhelds with Gen4 capability, you are ensured some solid SSD storage speeds.

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4 (Without heatsink)

Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4

MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB Gen 4

KLEVV CRAS C910 LITE 2 TB Gen 4

MSI Spatium M480 PRO 2 TB Gen 4 (With heatsink)

KLEVV CRAS C930 2 TB Gen 4 (With heatsink)

TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB Gen 4 (With heatsink)

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4

TeamGroup CARDEA Ceramic C440 1 TB Gen 4 (With heatsink)

TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB Gen 3 (With heatsink)

MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB Gen 4 (With heatsink)

Netac NV7000-t 2 TB Gen 4 (With heatsink)

The other great part is the pricing; at just $84.99 US for the 1 TB model, Lexar has positioned its Play M.2 2230 SSD quite well. The other options that we searched are priced higher and offer speeds that are either capped at 5 GB/s or lower. Plus, you are getting a 5-year warranty too. For the latest handhelds that leverage Gen4 storage, the Lexar Play provides a solid and fast storage foundation for your portable gaming platform.

Products mentioned in this post