- Great performance in the real world
- Very accessible
- Attractive designer style heat sink available.
- The 512 GB capacity is a relatively slow recorder
For $50, it’s hard to beat the 512GB Legend 850, which actually outperformed several 1TB and 2TB SSDs in our real-world 48GB file transfers.
Price when reviewed
$59.99 for 512GB
Best prices today: Adata Legend 850 512GB SSD
I was a bit surprised when Adata shipped the 512GB capacity of its latest Legend 850 NVMe 1.4, M.2 SSD. Higher capacity drives (1TB, 2TB and above) generally achieve better performance numbers due to the greater amount of NAND available to use as secondary cache.
This is what I was thinking when the 512 GB Legend 850 lagged behind in the first two tests. But then, surprisingly, the drive managed a fourth place in 48GB file transfers among all the drives we tested, most of which are 1TB and 2TB contenders. This is the test that most mimics real world usage. Color us impressed.
Note: Check out our roundup of the best SSDs for information on competing products, what to look for in an SSD, and buying recommendations.
Adata Legend 850: design and specifications
Adata sent us a limited edition Legend 850 designed by German designer Mister Fred (not Ed.). The colorful floral motif is evocative, though not particularly indicative of digital storage. If that’s not to your liking, there’s a more conventional charcoal gray and gold color scheme, as shown below.
The 512GB capacity of the Legend 850 we tested is just $48, but there are also 1TB and 2TB versions available for $90 and $216, respectively. That’s a pretty good price for the 1TB, with the 2TB almost on par for this class of drive.
The Legend 850 is a 2280 form factor (22 x 80mm) PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD using a DRAM-less HBM (Host Bus Memory) design. In other words, it uses part of your system memory for the main caching tasks.
Employing an SM2269XT Silicon Motion controller, it was also very clever in allocating NAND for secondary caching purposes (written as 1-bit SLC instead of 3-bit 176-layer TLC which is the cells’ native capacity).
The Legend 850 is warranted for five years or 500 TBW (terabytes written) per 512 GB of capacity, whichever comes first. That’s a pretty generous TBW rating for the price.
Adata Legend 850: Performance
As noted above, the Legend 850’s synthetic benchmark numbers were mixed, with very good reading scores and off-beat writing scores.
However, the drive really came to life reading and writing our single 48GB file and data set, outperforming many drives with 1TB/2TB of NAND. That’s no small feat and is likely due to the new Silicon Motion controller’s clever handling of the secondary cache.
The Legend 850 came back down to earth on our 450 GB write after a very good start.
There’s just no getting around the fact that I only had 62GB of NAND to spare in this particular test. You can see in the screenshot below that performance dropped off quite a bit after the 100 GB mark and again around 350 GB.
However, it dropped only to around 450 MBps, which while not NVMe-like, isn’t the lazy HDD pace we’ve seen on some cache-clearing SSDs.
Also note that the Legend 850 formats and optimizes very quickly. Some bargain level units will take a comparative lifetime to perform these operations.
Internal drive tests currently use Windows 11 64-bit running on an MSI MEG X570/AMD Ryzen 3700X combo with four Kingston 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 modules, a Zotac (Nvidia) GT 710 1GB x2 graphics card PCIe and an ASMedia ASM3242 USB 3.2×2 card. The copy tests use an ImDisk RAM disk with 58 GB of the total memory of 64 GB.
Each test is performed on a newly formatted and trimmed drive for optimal results. Over time, as a drive fills up, performance will drop due to less NAND for caching and other factors.
Performance numbers shown apply only to the unit shipped to us and of tested capacity. SSD performance may vary based on capacity due to more or fewer chips for fast reads/writes and the amount of NAND available for secondary caching. Vendors also swap components from time to time, and Adata did not exempt this unit from the practice. If you ever notice a big discrepancy between the performance you experience and what we report (the systems are roughly the same), please let us know.
Should you buy the Adata Legend 850?
Granted, you’re not likely to want a 512GB Legend 850 for your primary SSD in a fast-gaming or creative PC. But for the average budget PC or laptop, it’s a very good foundation or upgrade.