ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade

Let's take another look at our favorite B47R arrayed SSD, the ADATA Legend 960, this time at 2TB, running on our newly minted Intel 13th-gen platform.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD  - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade
Published Nov 10, 2022 4:45 PM CST
Manufacturer: ADATA (ALEG-960-2TCS)
9 minute read time
TweakTown's Rating: 99%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

The best performing B47R arrayed SSD on the planet.

Pros

  • + Gaming PC or console
  • + Consumer workloads
  • + Optional heat sink

Cons

  • - None

Should you buy it?

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Introduction & Drive Details

Things move quickly in the world of PC hardware. Here at TweakTown, we always like to be on the cutting edge of our game which means we change or upgrade our test platforms as soon as it becomes feasible. For us, this isn't some easily accomplished task because, as it relates to the way we do SSD testing, adopting a new platform or significant upgrade means we are obligated to completely retest a minimum of 50 SSDs. So, for the past three weeks, we've been testing 24/7 to bring you the latest SSD performance numbers on the latest Intel platform.

We've upgraded our Intel SDD testing platform with Intel's newly launched 13th Gen Raptor Lake Core i9-13900K CPU. We've retained the same ASUS Z690 Hero motherboard we've been using for the past year, as we experienced no meaningful performance advantage by going to Z790 from Z690 and as we see it, this is the more likely upgrade path for most users.

Updating our test platform also improves conformity, resulting in a more apples-to-apples comparison between SSDs. Why? Windows updates are why. Whenever we have a year's worth of testing results on our charts spanning 75 or so SSDs tested, there will inevitably be Windows update-induced performance changes; it's how things are. These update-induced performance changes are typically very minor, making, as we see it, keeping Windows current more advantageous than not as it relates to delivering reviews that are most relevant in the moment.

So, what's changed regarding SSD performance when controlled by Intel's 13th Gen CPUs? Overall, not much. SSD performance is very much an expression of the CPU IPC (Instructions per Clock) capabilities which is why we see a substantial SSD performance increase going from Rocket Lake to Alder Lake but very little, if any, when going from Alder Lake to Raptor Lake. This is also exactly why Intel still delivers superior storage performance to that of AMD as well as why Zen 4 delivers so much better storage performance than Zen 3. It's all about IPC, as illustrated by the following chart:

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 44

An IPC increase of 1% isn't going to change things much, if at all, as it relates to SSD performance. And as we found when retesting the trove of SSDs that were tested on Windows 11 Pro version 21H2 vs. the few of those to date tested on version 22H2 vs. all of them being retested on 22H2 a pattern emerged. Those tested on 21H2 lost a tiny bit of performance despite being run on a slightly faster platform, and those few that were tested previously on version 22H2 typically gained a slight bit of performance. What this means is 22H2, in comparison with 21H2, is, for whatever reason, serving up a small performance decrease on the SSD front.

So, with this upgrade and mass retesting of everything on the most current version of Windows 11 Pro, everything is on an absolutely level playing field. Some gained a tiny bit of performance overall, and some lost a tiny bit of performance overall. The pecking order remains 99% in line with all previous user experience rankings, with the one notable exception being Plextor's M10P 1TB, now surpassing the SK hynix P41 Platinum in overall user experience ranking.

Okay, enough about our newly upgraded SSD test platform. Let's get into the subject of this review, ADATA's awesome 960 Legend. A short time ago, we reviewed ADATA's 1TB Legend 960 PCIe Gen4 SSD and found it to be the best performing Micron B47R arrayed SSD we'd ever tested. This is significant because Micron's B47R is likely the most prolific flash in the consumer space. Additionally, and as it relates to the Legend 960, ADATA's newest also proved that SMI's SM2264 controller is the best performing of all third-party PCIe Gen4 controller options in the consumer space.

We are big fans of ADATA's Legend 960 as it has proven to be the best-performing SSD arrayed with B47R flash, so naturally, we are thrilled to get the opportunity to put the even faster 2TB model through its paces. We like this SSD so much that we are featuring it for our Intel 13th Gen inaugural SSD review. So, without further ado, we present you with what is currently the best-performing B47R arrayed SSD on the planet - ADATA's 2TB Legend 960.

Drive Details

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 01
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The XPG Legend 960 2TB is a double-sided design featuring a four-package flash array composed of 512Gbit Micron 176-layer B47R flash behind a Silicon Motion SM2264 8-channel controller along with 2GB DDR4 onboard DRAM. The drive comes just as we like it - naked with an optional heat sink.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Intel Test System

AMD Test System

Because we at TweakTown like to be first at everything whenever we can, we will present our storage performance results for the test subject on both 13th Gen Intel and 7000 Series AMD platforms going forward for the foreseeable future. Because Intel still delivers the best real-world storage performance, (Look Here), our running chart will continue to be Intel-based until AMD can deliver better real-world storage performance than its rival.

Buy at Amazon

ADATA Legend 960 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$229.99$229.99-
* Prices last scanned on 11/26/2022 at 6:13 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Sony PlayStation 5 - M.2 Storage Expansion

PS5 Read Performance

With Sony's wildly popular PlayStation 5 console now enabled for M.2 NVMe SSDs to be used as fast storage expansion, we include results for PS5 compatible SSDs we test as a part of our reviews going forward.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 07
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 08

For 5,500 MB/s plus capable SSDs that don't have an adequately sized PS5 compatible heat sink or other SSDs where the heat sink provided doesn't fit right and can be removed, we both use and recommend Sabrents unparalleled PS5 heat sink available here.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 09
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 10

We only chart SSDs that can deliver a minimum of 5,500 MB/s read, which is Sony's original recommendation.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 11

ADATA specs its Legend 960 series as capable of delivering up to 6,400 MB/s read performance on the PS5. We get very close at 6,382 MB/s which is quite good and certainly the highest we've seen from any ADATA SSD. At 6,382 MB/s, the 2TB model delivers a bit more than the 1TB version.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

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AMD continues to deliver the highest sequential throughput, so it's no surprise to see the lone AMD result at the top of our Intel-based chart. However, remember that sequential throughput is not a true measure of real-world performance in any way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, 7,511 MB/s is head-turning and a new lab record for PCIe Gen4 single drive throughput. Wow.

On the Intel side, our 2TB test subject delivers among the highest sequential throughput we've ever extracted from a PCIe Gen4 SSD. Moving to the all-important Q1T1 random read chart, we are greeted with an adequate enough 95 MB/s throughput, the same as its 1TB sibling.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 17
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 18
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Impressive results here, especially coming from our AMD platform. Looking at MAX random read IOPS, we are seeing what we almost never see here, and that's an SSD greatly exceeding its factory specs. Over a million IOPS is outstanding. Performance that matters.

ATTO

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 23
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More than anything else, ATTO gives us a clear picture of what transfer sizes a particular SSD favors in terms of sequential throughput. The 2TB 960 Legend favors sequential transfers of 512 KB or larger when serving data to the host and 64 KB or larger when programming data.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, 3DMark SSD Gaming Test, PCM10 Storage

Transfer Rates

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 27
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 28
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 29

Our 100GB data transfer test is not your ordinary 100GB of data. Ours is a crushing mix composed of more than 62K files. Write performance, random or sequential, is an infrequent operation, and as such, we do not consider it an important performance metric in the consumer space. An example is how often a game is installed vs. how often it's played. 1,300 to 1,400 MB/s here is plenty good enough as we see it.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 30
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 31
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 32

Exactly what we want to see when it comes to an all-important performance metric like serving data to the host. It's what consumer SSDs do 80% of the time on average. Here, the Legend 960 delivers about as good as it gets for a PCIe Gen4 SSD. Impressive.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is in fact the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing.

In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSDs gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 33
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ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 35

Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. As we know from previous experience, the Legend 960 series delivers the goods exceptionally well as it relates to gaming-related storage activities.

PCM10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.

The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

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This particular test writes 204GB data and covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games, including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

Here we see what makes the Legend 960 Series the King of B47R arrayed SSDs. Not only is ADATA's newest speedster the best performing of any B47R arrayed SSD we've ever tested, but additionally, the Legend 960 represents the first time any B47R arrayed SSD has outperformed a BiCS arrayed flagship offering like the WD Black SN850. Additionally, this is proof positive that Silicon Motion's SM2264 controller is the best performing of its kind.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 39
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ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 41

Once again, our 2TB test subject is cranking out more performance than any B47R arrayed SSD we've ever tested. This is performance that matters, courtesy of SMI. Impressive.

Final Thoughts

Above all, we love the Legend 960 for what it has done for the most prolific flash we currently encounter, Micron B47R. This is 100% attributable to its SM2264 controller optimally managing its commonly employed flash array better than anything else we've ever seen. Keep in mind that the ONLY difference between it and a whole host of B47R arrayed SSDs is the controller, thereby proving the SM2264's superiority.

Our test subject's superior controller has propelled the Legend 960 Series to a massive 7% more real-world performance than ever seen from a B47R arrayed SSD. The 2TB Legend 960 marks the first time a Micron arrayed SSD has outperformed overall a BiCS arrayed performance juggernaut like WD's SN850 1TB. We didn't think it possible, but there it is, right there on the chart below.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 42

We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage and 3DMark gaming storage tests. We consider a user experience score of 12K or more to verify an SSD as a TweakTown Elite performer. Here again, the Legend 960 Series delivers another first for a B47R arrayed SSD - a user experience score of 13K plus. Performance that matters.

ADATA Legend 960 2TB SSD Review - Pinnacle of B47R and Intel 13th-Gen Upgrade 43

ADATA's Legend 960 2TB represents the pinnacle of B47R performance, earning it our highest award. Editor's Choice.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

99%

Quality

99%

Features

99%

Value

99%

Overall

99%

The Bottom Line

The best performing B47R arrayed SSD on the planet.

TweakTown award
99%

ADATA Legend 960 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$229.99$229.99-
* Prices last scanned on 11/26/2022 at 6:13 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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