MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Review – Supercharged For PlayStation 5

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MSI is one of the most renowned hardware manufacturers in the PC industry. The brand is mainly known for its graphics cards and motherboards but just like every major manufacturer, the brand has been expanding into other ventures such as peripherals, casings, cooling solutions, laptops & pre-builts. The latest expansion to MSI's diverse portfolio is their brand new SSD range known as Spatium.

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The new MSI Spatium lineup is aimed at both high-performance and mainstream segments. The high-end series includes the M480 while the mainstream segments include the M470, the M450, and the M390 series SSDs. The M400 series drives are based on the PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol while the M300 series drivers are based on the PCIe Gen 3.0 protocol.

MSI is announcing the launch of its solid state drive (SSD) product line with the introduction of SPATIUM. The initial product offering will include M480, M470, and M390, which are Gen4 & Gen3 PCIe NVMe SSDs in compact M.2 2280 form factors that can be installed into compatible desktop motherboards and laptops.

MSI continues to refine its identity as a high-performance PC brand and SPATIUM was envisioned to expand our ecosystem and cover the high-performance storage category. These SSDs are built with high-quality, high-density 3D NAND flash that deliver the best compromise of performance and endurance for professionals, content creators, and gamers. Among the performance improving technologies include a DRAM cache buffer for M480 and M470, and a SLC cache for all announced models.

Today, I will be testing the MSI Spatium M480 PLAY 2 TB Gen 4 SSD which will be priced at an MSRP of $329.99 US. The drive features the PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol and comes with a heatsink that is fully compatible with the PlayStation 5 console.

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

MSI SPATIUM M480 series are the flagship products within the MSI SPATIUM family and hence, it comes with a new design language that features a bunded heatsink module. The main difference between the standard M480 and the new PLAY variant is that the standard one came with a more bulky heatsink that was optimized for use in enthusiast PC designs while the PLAY variant can be used for both PC and PS5.

The MSI SPATIUM M480 SSDs are based on the NVMe SSD form factor and feature a 96-layer TLC-based 3D NAND flash which offers larger capacities, better performance, and slightly lower power input. The M480 SSDs are also based on the high-end Phison PS5018-E18 controller.

FEATURES
  • PCIe Gen4x4 interface and complies with the NVMe 1.4 standard
  • Sequential Read speeds up to 7000MB/s and Write speeds up to 6800MB/s
  • Up to 1400 TBW
  • Built-in data security and error-correction capabilities
  • 500GB to 2TB capacities in M.2 2280 form factor
  • Suitable for both desktop and notebook
  • 5-Year Warranty

In terms of performance, MSI's SPATIUM M480 2 TB has sequential read speeds of 7000 MB/s and write speeds of 6800 MB/s. The Random read speeds of these drives are up to 650K IOPS and the write is 700K IOPS. The MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB SSD has an idle power draw of 22mW and a maximum operating power of 8.2W. The endurance of the lineup is rated at 1400 TBW or 1,600,000 hours which should last a good amount of time with these drives. You are also looking at a 5-year limited warranty through the entire lineup.

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MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY NVMe SSD Specifications:

SPATIUM M480 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 500GB PLAY SPATIUM M480 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 1TB PLAY SPATIUM M480 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 2TB PLAY SPATIUM M480 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 4TB PLAY
MODEL NAME SPATIUM M480 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 PLAY
CAPACITY 500GB 1TB 2TB 4TB
CONTROLLER PHISON E18
FLASH MEMORY 3D NAND
DRAM CACHE 512MB DDR4 1GB DDR4 2GB DDR4 2GB DDR4
FORM FACTOR M.2 2280
INTERFACE PCIe Gen4 x4, NVMe 1.4
COMPATIBILITY PCIe Gen4 / Gen3 / Gen2 / Gen1
DIMENSIONS 80.40mm (L) x 24.00mm (W) x 10.70mm (H), PS5™ Compatible
SEQUENTIAL READ UP TO (MB/S) 6500 7000 7000 7000
SEQUENTIAL WRITE UP TO (MB/S) 2850 5500 6800 6800
RANDOM READ 4KB UP TO (IOPS) 170,000 350,000 650,000 650,000
RANDOM WRITE 4KB UP TO (IOPS) 600,000 700,000 700,000 700,000
MAXIMUM OPERATING POWER (W) 6.0 6.6 8.2 9.7
IDLE POWER PS3 (MW) 10 14 22 50
LOW POWER L1.2 (MW) 3
OPERATING TEMPERATURES 0°C – 70°C
STORAGE TEMPERATURES -40°C – 85°C
TERABYTES WRITTEN (TBW) 350 700 1400 3000
MEAN TIME BETWEEN FAILURE (MTBF) Up to 1,600,000 Hours
LIMITED WARRANTY 5 Years, or the coverage for the maximum TBW as stated, whichever comes first.
ADVANCED FEATURES TRIM (Performance Optimization, OS support required)
SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology)
LDPC (Low Density Parity Check) ECC Algorithm
End to End Data Path Protection
APST (Autonomous Power State Transition)
AES256/TCG OPAL2.0/Pyrite (Encryption, Data Security)

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY SSD - Unboxing and Closer Look

The SSD comes in a small package. The package is colored black and features large pictures of the SSD featured on it. The front also lists down some features such as capacities, maximum read speeds, PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 form factor.MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY SSD.

The back of the package lists down some specifications of the SSD and some performance figures which we will get to in a bit.

The Spatium M480 PLAYpackage includes the SSD itself along with a drive manual and a comic book.

Out of the package, the drive comes in the standard M.2 2280 form factor and features a black PCB which is great since some mainstream drives come with blue-colored PCBs.

The SSD comes with a pre-installed heatsink with an MSI Dragon emblem on top of it. Since this drive is mostly aimed at the PlayStation 5 console, the SSD shouldn't be removed from the drive.

The MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB holds eight NAND Flash chips (96L) and a Phison E18 controller with 2 GB DDR4 memory. The MSI M480 measures 80.4x24x10.7mm (LxWxH).

Test Setup

Our test platform for this review consisted of an Intel Core i9-12900K  processor which ran at stock clocks on the Z690 AORUS Master motherboard. The platform was coupled with 32 GB of DDR5 memory from G.Skill (Trident Z5/ 16 GB x 2) and the ASUS ROG Thor 1200W PSU. For graphics, I used the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X. This rounds up as a high-end platform for tests with modern-day SSDs.

Wccftech SSD Test Setup:

ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900K @ 5.30 GHz
Motherboard:Z690 AOURS Master
Power Supply:ASUS ROG THOR 1200W PSU
Solid State Drive:Inland Gaming Performance Plus 2 TB (Gen 4)
Seagate IronWolf 525 500 GB (Gen 4)
Samsung 980 Pro 1 TB (Gen 4)
MSI Spatium M450 1 TB (Gen 4)
MSI Spatium M480 2 TB (Gen 4)
MSI Spatium M470 1 TB (Gen 4)
TeamGroup CARDEA C440 1 TB (Gen 4)
TeamGroup CARDEA IOPS 1 TB (Gen 3)
TeamGroup CARDEA A440 1 TB (Gen 4)
TeamGroup T-Create Classic 2 TB (Gen 3)
Memory:G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6000 (2 x 16 GB)
Case:Cooler Master C700M
Video Cards:MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X
Cooling Solutions:MSI MEG S360 AIO Liquid Cooler
OS:Windows 11 64-bit

MSI SPATIUM M480 PLAY 2 TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD Performance Benchmarks

First up, we have the official performance stats for these drives as listed by their manufacturers. You can compare these stats with the rest of the drives I tested in the following chart:

AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD Benchmark download is a Windows 10 utility software program that tests the performance of solid-state drives. With its help, you can find out the speed of all installed SSDs and take care of any issues that the tests may reveal. The free app performs three separate tests to provide you with conclusive evidence on your driver's general behavior while it copies, reads, and writes data.  The app determines the access time of an SSD, along with its speed and performance capabilities

ATTO 3.05 Disk Benchmark

As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware software to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid-state drives, RAID arrays as well as the host connection to attached storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturer's RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives, and SSD drives, and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Crystal Disk Mark 7.0.0 x64

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software.It measure sequential reads/writes speed,measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed,select test data (Random, 0Fill, 1Fill),

File Transfer Speeds (100 GB File Size)

To test the maximum average transfer speeds of the drives, I used a 100 GB file to test the limits.

PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark

The PCMark 10 Storage benchmark is designed to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 10 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

Conclusion - Solid Storage For Console Gamers

We have tested lots of Spatium drives over the past few months ranging from high-end Gen 4 to mainstream Gen 4 and Gen 3 solutions. Those drives were mostly aimed at the PC platform but it was expected that MSI would further expand its portfolio into the console gaming segment & they have done so with the MSI M480 PLAY SSDs.

Also looking at the temperatures above, you can see that the SSD performs with respectable temps under the 50C range which is thanks to the chonky heatsink slammed on top of the controller & the DRAM modules but despite having a full-sized heatsink, the SSD will be fully compatible with the PS 5 consoles.

The SSD is as performant as the M480 which I tested last year. They are paired with 96 Layer 3D TLC NAND Flash (Micron and Toshiba). The M480 is outfitted with the fastest SSD controller, the Phison E18 which makes it a high-end design with 2 GB of DDR4 memory while the M470 rocks 1 GB of DDR4 memory and features the Phison E-16 controller.

Last year, when I tested the M480, it was priced at $439 US for the 2 TB variant but now, we are looking at a pricing of $329.99 US which is far more reasonable, and to top it all off, those looking for even higher capacities can get the 4 TB variant which is readily available by MSI. The MSI M480 series SSDs are a top-notch and enthusiast-grade storage solution and it's great to see MSI offering the same performance and fantastic heatsink design on the next-gen consoles such as PlayStation 5.

Products mentioned in this post

GeForce RTX 3090
GeForce RTX 3090
USD 2780.99
MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X
MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X
USD 2749.99
rtx 3090
rtx 3090
USD 2598

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