Adata Legend 800 2TB Review: Outstanding Value
The 2TB Legend 800 is priced on par with mainstream SATA SSDs but has a lot more to offer.
- Excellent value
- Solid real-world performance
- Good endurance ratings
- Incomplete spec sheet
- No 4TB model
The Adata Legend 800 is one of the cheapest M.2 SSDs in the market in late 2023. It utilizes a PCIe Gen4 x4 interface, yet its sequential read performance largely aligns with the fastest Gen3 SSDs. As you would expect at this price point, there is no onboard DRAM buffer, and it uses the entry-level Silicon Motion SM2267 controller with four NAND channels.
This is all well and good considering that the 2TB Legend 800 is no more expensive than an average SATA SSD at the same capacity – but still several times faster. In other words, it might be a good fit for a budget gaming build, a laptop, or as secondary storage.
What I intend to find out in this review is what the trade-offs look like and how the drive compares to other budget-oriented M.2 SSDs like the Kingston NV2, among others.
Drive Details & Specifications
|Adata Legend 800
|Interface / Protocol
|PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
|PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
|PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Some details are notably absent from the official spec sheet for Adata’s Legend 800. This is unfortunately quite common in the budget space, as it leaves room for the manufacturer to make changes down the line provided that the drive conforms to the original specs. The NAND is listed as ‘3D NAND’, which doesn’t say much, but considering the high endurance ratings it is likely to be some variation of TLC (triple-level cell) NAND.
Random performance for the different capacities is also omitted. However, according to the SiliconMotion spec sheet, it should be capable of 500K IOPS using HMB (host memory buffer). HMB essentially means that it uses part of the system RAM instead of an onboard cache to enhance performance. This is a cheaper and typically slower alternative, but drives like the WD Black SN770 and Addlink S90 Lite have proven that going DRAM-less can be fast enough.
Unboxing the SSD reveals that Adata ships the Legend 800 without the heat spreader attached. This is a reasonable alternative to the rather common nuisance of turning it into a ‘warranty void if removed’ sticker. Attaching the heat spreader is nevertheless a good idea in most cases as it is thin enough not to cause fitting issues.
Zooming in on the SiliconMotion controller, you may note that it’s labeled SM2267G. Since there is no DRAM on the PCB, it is likely a variant of the SM2267XT, which is a version of the chip designed for HMB/DRAM-less operation. You will also find this chip on other affordable NVMe SSDs like the Kingston NV2 (at least the 2TB version – neither Kingston nor Adata are clear on the details).
This is a mainstream chip featuring four NAND flash channels at up to 1,200 MT/s per channel. It is compatible with all sorts of 3D NAND and this choice may also affect performance.
Adata Legend 800 Benchmarks
Sequential and Random Performance
Sequential performance in AS SSD hints at the Adata Legend 800 not being identical to the similarly-specced Kingston NV2. Read speeds are slightly higher for the NV2, whereas the opposite applies to write speeds.
In CrystalDiskMark, which typically lets SSDs get closer to their maximum transfer rates, the 2TB Legend 800 actually exceeds its listed 3,500 MB/s and 2,800 MB/s sequential performance ratings. This also means that it exceeds the limitations of the PCIe Gen3 x4 interface, which is obviously a hard limit for Gen3 drives like the FireCuda 510.
Random performance at minimal queue depth is even more impressive compared to other entry-level M.2 SSDs. The Legend 800 comes in just behind Western Digital’s mid-range SN770.
Response Times/Latency (Anvil’s Storage Utilities)
Much like random performance, response times tend to be quite good at predicting general, everyday performance. Adata’s budget SSD is again a bit snappier than the NV2 but still slower than the (also DRAM-less) SN770 and Addlink S90 Lite.
Real-World Performance (FF IIV, PCMark, 3DMark)
The standalone FF XIV: Shadowbringer benchmark measures the loading times of five different levels down to the millisecond, enabling detailed storage performance comparisons. Unsurprisingly, the high-end 990 PRO and WD Black SN850X top the chart, but the Adata Legend 800 is not among the slowest drives.
Start-up times for a number of common apps in PCMark 10 are also impressive with the inexpensive Legend 800. You would not be able to tell the difference between any of the Gen4 SSDs here.
3DMark is all about gaming performance and the built-in storage benchmark is no different. It includes installing, moving, loading, recording, and saving a range of popular games like Overwatch and Battlefield. The Legend 800 falls behind the pricier SSDs here in terms of average bandwidth but is still ahead of the Kingston NV2 and Micron 2450.
Conclusion: Outstanding value in the entry-level space
You wouldn’t come away amazed from looking at the specs of Adata’s Legend 800. It’s clearly a budget Gen4 SSD with specs that may just as well have referred to a Gen3 drive.
At the time of writing, however, you can find the 2TB model of this drive for less than $80. That price tag puts it on par with mainstream SATA SSDs, which are all substantially slower in every measurable area. Interestingly, it is also cheaper than the similarly-equipped Kingston NV2 although it outperforms this drive in most benchmarks. It also compares favorably to the Micron 2450, an OEM drive commonly found in mainstream or high-end laptops.
There are of course other SSDs that are much better suited for a high-end (or even mid-range) gaming PC. But for entry-level builds, laptops, or DIY external SSDs, the Legend 800 offers formidable value.