As Solid-State Drives (SSDs) improve and become faster, particularly those that leverage the full potential of PCIe 4.0, they can also become very hot. This additional heat is a common problem for most SSDs in the market, and it can cause the SSD to perform poorly. To address this, manufacturers are now focusing on incorporating heatsinks into their SSDs to aid in cooling. The primary goal is to design a heatsink that is highly effective and versatile enough for use in various compact devices. In response to these challenges, ADATA offers a solution with one of their top SSD lineups. The ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD features a built-in heatsink and is designed with enough clearance to fit in most compact PCs, gaming laptops, and the PlayStation 5.
The ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD boast an advertised read and write speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s and 6,800 MB/s, respectively. This SSD is also available in capacities of up to 4TB. A key feature is its integrated heatsink, which is designed to mitigate heat-related performance issues. It is compatible with recent Intel and AMD platforms and can be used as additional storage for the PlayStation 5. Additionally, ADATA offers a 5-year warranty, reflecting their commitment to product reliability and customer assurance.
The ADATA Legend 960 Max SSD 1TB variant is priced in the Philippines for PHP 4,595.
In this review, we will rigorously examine the performance of the ADATA Legend 960 Max across various tests to determine if it lives up to its claims and justifies its price point.
The ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD is packaged in a glossy black carton, which features an eye-catching detail – a rainbow color effect that appears as a filter when light is reflected on it. This iridescent play of colors is elegantly complemented by gold prints that enhances its aesthetic appeal. The front of the box prominently displays the three parts of the SSD (The heatsink, SSD and the back cover), together with the capacity label.
The back of the package is simpler in terms of information. It includes basic product labeling and directs consumers to scan a QR code for more detailed specifications.
For complete list of specification, here it is:
|1TB / 2TB / 4TB
|80.6 x 23.2 x 10.65mm
80 x 22 x 3.3mm
|PCIe Gen4 x4
|Up to 7,400MB/s (Read), 6,800MB/s (Write)
Up to 750K IOPS (Read), 630K IOPS (Write)
|2 million hours
|Terabytes Written (TBW)
|5-Year Limited Warranty
On the side, you’ll notice key compatibility features prominently highlighted. It mentions the SSD’s support for the latest PCIe 4.0 interface and its suitability for use with the PlayStation 5, as well as the SSD’s advertised speed.
Upon opening the box, users are greeted with the SSD itself, securely encased in a clear plastic tray. It’s important to note that the SSD and it heatsink are not pre-installed together; they are placed separately within the tray.
Here is the back side of the clear plastic tray with the SSD.
Design and Build
The ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD is designed to expose its internal components, offering users a glimpse into the intricate electronic parts that drive its performance. This design allows for a degree of DIY, enabling users to connect parts of the SSD themselves.
On the backside of the SSD, the area is primarily occupied by a warranty sticker and a product information label.
It’s important to note that removing the warranty sticker is not advised, as doing so will void the warranty. Here’s how it looks like from the inside.
The heatsink on the SSD is the part you’ll mostly see in your computer. It’s not the main technical part, but it covers the SSD’s internals. It has a black finish that’s both matte and shiny, with gold details. This includes gold labeling and gold edges on the top and bottom corners, lending it a luxurious and high-quality appearance.
Here are the three parts of the SSD components.
When the pieces are put together, they form a cohesive and sleek unit.
From the side, you’ll find the thermal fins in gold.
Assembling the Heatsink
When assembling the heatsink onto the ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD, it’s crucial to be extra cautious. The absence of assembly instructions in the box means that there’s a risk of making errors, such as placing the SSD in the wrong position, which could lead to inadvertently tearing the warranty sticker. The back cover of the heatsink has a very sticky surface that can easily attached to the back of the SSD. If you’re not careful, attempting to disassemble the SSD and heatsink later on could result in tearing the sticker, which is problematic as it might void the warranty.
However, in response to concerns about this design aspect, the ADATA RMA team has clarified their policy: “For this particular model, we acknowledge that the unique design might affect the S/N label due to the heatsink attachment. In such cases, we do provide warranty service, even if the S/N label is impacted by the heatsink.”
To assemble it correctly, it’s best to watch a step-by-step video below. This video will help especially with attaching the SSD to the back cover.
After that, the cover heatsink is then pushed into place with a locking mechanism that secures the SSD.
Here is the final look after assembling the SSD.
Assembling the SSD is straightforward if you have conducted prior research on how to do it. However, the additional challenge arises when dismantling it, as it is impossible to do so without tearing the warranty sticker.
The ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD is equipped with a Silicon Motion SM2264F controller, which is notable for its low power consumption and fast performance. Manufactured using a 12nm process, it features a quad-core ARM R8 CPU and is capable of handling a significant amount of data swiftly – up to 16GB/s across four lanes with support for up to 8 NAND flash channels. Each channel can handle speeds of up to 1,600 MT/s.
For its DRAM, the SSD utilizes Samsung HMR08003 chips. These chips offer 1GB of fast DRAM storage, and the SSD has two of them: one located on the front and the other on the back.
The storage component of the SSD is comprised of Micron B47R chips, which are rebranded by ADATA. These chips bear the identification number 60079146. They are constructed with 176 layers and utilize triple-level cell technology, with each chip having a capacity of up to 256GB. Our review model with 1TB of storage, contains four of these chips in total, distributed equally with two on the front and two on the back.
To evaluate the real-world capabilities of the ADATA Legend 960 Max PCIe 4.0 SSD, we conducted a series of benchmarks and stress tests using the following test unit:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900 12-Core Processor with Stock Cooler
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE X670 Gaming X AX
- RAM Memory: T-Force Delta Alpha RGB DDR5-6000 MHz
- Operating System: Windows 11 Pro
Before commencing the tests, we recorded an initial SSD temperature of 42°C.
Our first benchmark is CrystalDiskMark, which the manufacturer uses to rate the speed of their SSD. This benchmark is a widely recognized tool for measuring the performance of various storage devices, including SSDs.
The SSD reached its rated speed, achieving 7,426.59 MB/s for sequential read and 6,683.17 MB/s for sequential write. In the single-use benchmark scenario, it recorded 7,450.85 MB/s for read and 6,688.93 MB/s for write. For multi-threading, it achieved 4,111.05 MB/s for read and 3,003.53 MB/s for write. In the single-thread and small data test, it scored 78.59 MB/s for read and 298.44 MB/s for write. These scores are impressive for a PCIe Gen 4 SSD, and we can confirm it is one of the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs in the market.
AS SSD Benchmark
Next, we tested it with the AS SSD Benchmark, a more dedicated benchmark for SSDs. It does not use a cache, so it provides more accurate results regarding the actual performance of the SSD and the results are also much more straightforward.
We got a score of 6,368.48 MB/s for read and 5,884.33 MB/s for write. For 4K, it scored 74.06 MB/s for read and 260.10 MB/s for write. In the 4K-64 thread test, it achieved 2,461.86 MB/s for read and 4,129.25 MB/s for write. Lastly, it had low access times of 0.019 ms for read and 0.015 ms for write.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
Next in line is the ATTO Disk Benchmark. This tool measures the SSD’s performance across different file sizes, ranging from 512B to 64MB. It helps to determine how the SSD manages files when used in various tasks, such as gaming, transferring files, and running apps.
The SSD reached its peak read speed at 4MB with 6.23 GB/s, while its peak write speed was at 256KB with 6.67 GB/s. Although we observed a rough start for read speeds at 128KB, the write speed was quite slow for small files.
PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark – Full System
Next, we tested it with the PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark, known for its comprehensive scoring based on different real-world scenarios from office tasks to demanding gaming tasks.
The SSD achieved a score of 3,515, which is quite high, and a bandwidth speed of 554.05 MB/s. It also recorded a fast access time of only 47μs, which is impressive given the built-in DRAM cache of this SSD.
PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark – Data Drive
The Data Drive benchmark involves handling data-intensive tasks and simulates real-world scenarios.
The SSD achieved a very good score of 6,172, with an overall bandwidth speed of 944.60 MB/s and an access time of 26μs.
PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark – Quick System
Finally, we conducted the Quick System test, which summarizes all data tasks and daily tasks, effectively showcasing the overall speed of the SSD in routine task scenarios.
We achieved a score of 4,512, an overall bandwidth of 543.68 MB/s, and an access time of 23μs.
At the end of our testing, the SSD registered a temperature of 54°C, well below the operating maximum of 85°C. This demonstrates that the heatsink is highly effective, maintaining the SSD within optimal temperature levels even under heavy load.
With all of those tests, let’s see how the SSD keep up with other SSD in the market.