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MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD Review


MSI shouldn’t be the model that involves thoughts whenever you’re speaking about SSDs. The Taiwanese ICT large has diversified its product portfolio with the introduction of the brand new NVMe SSDs. As a part of their preliminary launch, the corporate has launched a number of new PCIe Gen 4.0 and Gen 3.0 NVMe SSDs and the one we’re reviewing is the MSI Spatium M480 2TB HS variant. The “HS” within the title refers back to the heatsink that’s supplied with this explicit variant for a slight premium. Speaking of value, the MSI Spatium M480 1TB variant could be discovered on-line for about 17,000 rupees which places it in the identical league because the Samsung 980 Pro and the WD SN850, each of which supply related rated efficiency. So how properly does the Spatium M480 carry out? Does it have the chops to beat competitors SSDs which have led the marketplace for a greater a part of the last decade? That’s what we’re hoping to search out out.


MSI went with a Phison controller for the flagship SSD of their portfolio. In explicit, it’s utilizing the Phison PS5018-E18 controller which might be the second-gen E18 controller with a number of enhancements that enable it to carry out higher in random knowledge reads. The first-gen E18 did present glorious sequential knowledge switch speeds however was a bit behind flagships from competing manufacturers in random efficiency. The controller is powered by 5 ARM Cortex R5 cores of which three are the massive cores and the remaining two are the little cores. If you’ve examine ARM’s large.LITTLE structure, you then’ll know precisely what we’re speaking about. The controller has eight NAND flash channels able to working at 1600 MTps. The larger channel bandwidth is what helps with the random entry efficiency of the second-gen controller.

The PS5018-E18 is paired with two SK Hynix 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips, certainly one of both sides, for the cache and for the NAND it’s utilizing Micron’s 96 layer 3D NAND TLC chips. Each of which occurs to be 256 Gigabytes. The total configuration is strictly the identical as could be discovered within the Corsair MP600 Pro and the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus. All of whom sport related specs of their datasheets.

MSI Spatium M480 2TB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD


One of the important thing options of the Phison E18 controller is that it provides up a pseudo-SLC cache of pSLC. Like all cache mechanisms, when knowledge is being written to the drive, will probably be dumped into the a lot sooner cache earlier than the controller takes its personal candy time to write down it again into the NAND chips. In most SSDs, the DRAM chip is used because the cache so you’ll get nice knowledge switch speeds so long as the DRAM has area to accommodate incoming knowledge and the second it runs out of area, you will notice a major drop in efficiency. With simply 8 GB of area on the person DRAM chips, one can count on to replenish the cache actually quick on PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSDs. So how do you retain switch speeds excessive? By utilizing the pseudo-SLC cache.

To implement pSLC cache, the controller marks out a portion of the primary NAND capability as SLC cache. By utilising only one bit per cell within the NAND, the controller can write to the pSLC cache in a short time. So you get a lot larger speeds and the DRAM could be emptied out rapidly to permit for constant excessive knowledge switch speeds. With the Phison E18 controllers, you may take issues additional by implementing what they name as dynamic pSLC. This merely means, that as a substitute of getting only one portion of the NAND capability being designated because the pSLC cache, the controller can mark as much as 100% of the NAND capability as flash. This means, so long as you might have a good portion of the NAND capability empty, you’ll get quick switch speeds.

Enough of the controller. Let’s take a look at the heatsink. The heatsink is a two-part meeting with a large chunk on the highest which is stored in place with a bracket that sits on the underside. And you do have thermal pads making contact with each faces of the SSD. This means, each side of the SSD are coated however a lot of the warmth is dissipated from the highest. Moreover, with the E18 controller, temperature throttling isn’t that large a priority anymore. Then comes the facet of becoming the heatsink laden SSD onto a motherboard. When correctly put in, the heatsink will increase the size of the SSD by 0.4mm, top by 18.25 mm and width by 1mm. Since the width solely will increase by 1mm, you’ll nonetheless have loads of clearance between PCIe slots on most motherboards. The concern right here is the peak. If you’ve put in the SSD on a motherboard beneath the primary PCIe x16 slot and the graphics put in on the identical slot have any heatpipes or a part of the housing jutting out, you may need an issue. We put in the SSD on an ASUS X570 motherboard and put in a reasonably beefy RX 6900 XT on prime and we nonetheless had loads of clearance on the highest. As for air-flow, that’s a completely totally different ball sport altogether. Let’s take a look at efficiency subsequent.


We’d like to say instantly that this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparability. MSI solely had the 2TB overview pattern to share with us and most of our SSD exams are carried out on 1 TB SKUs. The change in configuration does have an effect on efficiency. In this case, we have now two DRAM chips on the 2TB M480 whereas the 1TB M480 solely comes with one DRAM chip. Moreover, you’ve received all of the eight NAND channels on the controller getting used within the 2TB configuration. This impacts the write speeds massively however learn speeds ought to nonetheless be comparable however however, we’ll chorus from scoring the SSD in the identical league because the others we have now reviewed prior to now.

We begin off with CrystalDiskMark for the artificial benchmarks. We noticed learn speeds of about 7200 MBps on the very most on the 32 Queue-1 Thread sequential check and for write speeds, we noticed 6750 MBps.

MSI Spatrium M480 SSD CrystalDiskMark

Moving on to ATTO, we noticed write speeds of as much as 6.24 GBps and write speeds of 6.94 GBps. Switching to larger file sizes resulted in constant efficiency throughout the board which is kind of spectacular.

MSI Spatium M480 SSD Atto Performance

To check out the dynamic pSLC cache, we determined to replenish the SSD as a lot as we may with random knowledge at 10% capability intervals to see when and the place the speeds would begin degrading. The learn speeds remained untouched until the capability of the drive was as much as 40% full. Upon hitting 50% capability, the learn speeds dropped to six.4 GBps whereas write speeds remained constant.

MSI Spatium M480 2TB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD Performance

This went on until we had 80% of the NAND capability used up. Upon hitting 90%, we noticed a large degradation in write speeds because it went right down to 1.78 GBps.

MSI Spatium M480 2TB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD Performance

So the MSI Spatium M480 will carry out nice when contemporary out of the field, like each different SSD on the planet so long as you don’t cross 90%  of the NAND capability. Again, because of the nature of how dynamic pSLC works, this threshold will cut back over time and also you may need to go away extra capability on the SSD unused to retain larger speeds. This is as a result of, after a sure variety of learn/write cycles, the controller will completely cease utilizing that portion of the NAND as a pseudo-SLC cache. And as soon as it runs out of NAND capability that may be transformed to SLC, the efficiency of the drive will ceaselessly be stunted. There isn’t any saying when this can occur for you and there’s a great probability that the Spatium M480 will final simply so long as another SSD in the marketplace.


The Spatium M480 marks a stellar entry for MSI into the storage section with switch speeds that simply cross the 7000 MBps mark offering critical competitors to the likes of Samsung, WD and others who observe related designs utilizing the Phison E18 controller. The pricing for the 1TB SKU is kind of aggressive when you think about that the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro price a bit further. Like we talked about on the onset, we will’t precisely evaluate the 2TB Gen 4 unit with all the opposite 1TB Gen 4 items we’ve in contrast over time however for those who’re merely wanting on the numbers, you’ve received a reasonably nice performer within the Spatium M480.

MSI Spatium M480 2TB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD

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