Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Adata Legend 970 doesn't break the mold, but it is still an impressively fast drive. It’s an interesting alternative if you want PCIe 5.0 bandwidth, but it has the pitfall of poor power efficiency.
Up to 10 GB/s of bandwidth
Strong all-around and sustained performance
Optimized for DirectStorage
Decent step up over the Legend 960 Max
On the lower end for PCIe 5.0 SSDs
Overall performance gains over 4.0 are lackluster
The active cooling fan is superfluous
Poor power efficiency
Why you can trust Tom's Hardware
Adata has joined the PCIe 5.0 SSD pack, helping them catch up after the belated Legend 960 Max. 10 GB/s of bandwidth sounds like a lot on paper, and it is, especially if the drive has good all-around performance and can handle sustained workloads for content creation. And power efficiency isn’t as important when performance is a priority as long as you can keep the hardware cool so it runs at full performance. Adata took all this to heart with the Legend 970, producing an expensive but powerful drive that latches onto future hopes for DirectStorage.
Adata’s Legend 960 Max was too little, too late, although it was interesting because it used one of Silicon Motion’s PCIe 5.0 SSD controllers. Silicon Motion has more recently trailed in delivering new SSD controllers, shifting the consumer SSD controller market into Phison’s favor, and it also opens the door for Maxio to claim some of the budget market. Phison has been the first to market with its recent SSD controllers, as with the E16 for PCIe 4.0 and the E18 for high-end PCIe 4.0, and now the E26 for PCIe 5.0, which is the controller powering the Legend 970. So, it’s not surprising that Adata decided to go this way for its first PCIe 5.0 SSD.
The Legend 970 may not seem too interesting otherwise, as it follows the path of other early PCIe 5.0 drives, but Adata at least seems to have nailed the heatsink. It’s a shame it decided to put in a small, SATA-powered fan, as it is only useful for niche cases and doesn’t add much value. The sample we received did not appear to have Phison’s updated firmware to fix the initial overheating problems we saw with early PCIe 5.0 drives, but this is a non-issue if you cool the drive as recommended. Overall, this drive gets the job done without too many question marks.
|Row 1 - Cell 1
|Row 1 - Cell 2
|Interface / Protocol
|x4 PCIe 5.0 | NVMe 2.0
|x4 PCIe 5.0 | NVMe 2.0
|232-Layer Micron TLC
|232-Layer Micron TLC
The Adata Legend 970 is only available in 1TB and 2TB capacities. It’s capable of 10,000 / 10,000 MB/s for sequential reads and writes and up to 1,400K / 1,400K random read and write IOPS. Adata backs the drive with a 5-year warranty and 700TB of writes per TB capacity, a normal amount. It’s listed as supporting 256-bit AES encryption, thanks to its Phison E26 controller. Initial pricing at the time of writing was $169.99 and $299.99, which is high, but prices have crept up even higher by the time of publishing. This is one you should pick up when it's on sale.
Software and Accessories
Adata supports its drives with its downloadable SSD toolbox. Like most such toolboxes, it has drive information, diagnostics, utilities for secure erase and firmware updates, a setting for TRIM, benchmarking, and the ability to clone a drive. Adata also has Backup ToGo for wider functionality in backing up storage media.
A Closer Look
The Legend 970 itself has the typical combination and layout of launch Phison E26 PCIe 5.0 SSDs. What’s different is the cooling solution, which, unfortunately, includes a small fan for active cooling. This fan requires SATA power to function. In general, we recommend against using these small fans on these drives, and, luckily, the passive heatsink is usually sufficient. Adata’s heatsink is fairly robust and more than gets the job done.
We’re now familiar with the Phison E26 controller which has always been combined with Micron’s 232-Layer TLC flash, so far. The Legend 970 is of the lowest “tier” of such drives, hitting about 10 GB/s at 1600 MT/s. Functionally, this doesn’t offer much more than extra bandwidth over some of the better PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and there are similar drives like the Crucial T700 that can hit 12 GB/s at 2000 MT/s. This drive does have DirectStorage optimization, which isn’t too common with 4.0 drives aside from the Seagate FireCuda 530 and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G.
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Shane Downing is a Freelance Reviewer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering consumer storage hardware.