Adata Falcon NVMe 1 TB review: still too expensive in Europe
Although write-slow by NVMe standards, the 1TB Adata Falcon can be a good everyday companion.
While writing isn’t as fast as other M.2 NVMe cards, the Falcon Adata 1TB (PCIe 3.0 only) we tested delivers on a daily basis. A Taiwanese OEM supplier, Adata is also interested in the consumer market. In Europe, however, its price is too close to well-known suppliers such as Samsung: €140 excluding VAT for the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1 TB (PCIe 4.0) and €178 excluding VAT for the Adata Falcon 1TB (prices on amazon.de). We therefore do not recommend it for professionals or for heavy workloads, but if the prices drop the purchase can become interesting. The Falcon’s M.2 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor is available in other capacities: 256 GB ( $46 on Newegg and 62 HT on Amazon.de), 512 GB ($70 on Newegg, but 100€ HT on Amazon.de) and 2 TB ( $264.47 on Newegg ).
The Taiwanese Adata equips its flash card with a heat sink as standard. An interesting point with a mid-range motherboard, but useless with a well-endowed model. Remember that M.2 cards with a large capacity (2 or 4 TB) really heat up a lot and that a suitable motherboard is necessary to avoid performance drops (throttling) of this key component. In recent configurations, the latter now hosts the operating system and the heaviest applications requiring constant data exchange.
Read performance is good and write performance is stable, as long as the SLC cache is not exhausted. (credit: Adata)
The Falcon uses a Realtek RTS5762DL controller to mix data in and out of the 96-layer stacked/layer/3D TLC (tri-level cell/3-bit) NAND. The supplier announces a TBW (TeraBytes Written) of 150 TB for 256 GB of capacity and provides a full five-year warranty. That’s a pretty low TBW rating, but three years more warranty than some.
Since the components of nearly all SSDs (and many pre-made products) come from the same factories, TBW ratings and warranty are largely dictated by legal and financial concerns. Basically, the cheaper the drive, the lower the warranty. Note that failure of SSDs in PCs and servers is very rare, so the warranty is not as important as with HDDs.
We indicated at the beginning of this article our impressions of the overall performance of this NVMe SSD: fast in reading and slow in writing. However, while the Falcon’s write is a little lazy according to CrystalDiskMark 6, it’s not particularly slow in the real world. Part of the reason for the slow write rating is that there is no DRAM cache to boost this operation with smaller batches of data.
CrystalDiskMark 6 rated the Falcon as excellent in reading, but average in writing. Longer bars are better.
As you can see below, the Adata Falcon proved to be a well-rounded drive when it came to our real-world 48GB transfer tests. Not as fast as some, but faster than Crucial’s P2.
While on par with the Kingston KC2500 or Samsung 970 EVO Plus, the 1TB Falcon’s real-world transfer performance was just decent. Shorter bars are better.
The Falcon failed the 450GB write test shown below, but that’s not tragic. Note that the smaller 256GB and 512GB capacities will really struggle due to the reduced SLC cache available.
The Falcon ran out of cache for 70% of the duration of this write operation, but still delivered a decent amount of time. (Shorter bars are better.) 256GB and 512GB capacities will run out of cache sooner and take longer for the same operation.
In the screenshot below, the Falcon is good when it has enough cache, but drops to very slow (250MB/s) when it runs out. This means that smaller 256GB and 512GB cards with smaller SLC caches will slow down sooner and take longer when writing large files.
Also note that as any drive fills up, there is less NAND available to process as cache, and then the same drop in performance is seen.
The Falcon allocates some TLC flash for use as SLC when available. However, write performance suffers greatly when it runs out. This shouldn’t happen often with the 1TB and 2TB models, but it’s an issue with the 256GB/512GB capacities.
For undemanding users
If you’re not one to write large amounts of data often, the Falcon is an interesting option, but if you’re already using a motherboard with an M.2 PCI 4.0 interface, some models at a close price are recommended: the Samsung 970 EVO Plus or the Sabrent Rocket.