MSI Spatium M480 PLAY 2TB M2 SSD (PCIe Gen 4.0)
Breaching 7 GB/sec M.2.Class SSD performance for a mainstream price
MSI last year entered the NVMe SSD storage market with the MSI Spatium M.2 NVMe SSD series. In this round we review the M480 PLAY, powered by a fast PS5018-E18 controller, this Phison-controlled unit offers durability, and PCIe 4.0 performance levels above 7 GB/sec. It's also compatible with the PS5. The MSI Spatium M480 Play is a slightly revised design, the NAND flash chips have been upgraded to Micron's latest 176-layer 3D TLC technology; (original this was Micron's 96-layer). The new flash chips have marginally increased overall performance and much faster write rates. MSI modified their heatsink to assure compatibility with the Sony PlayStation 5, making it somewhat more compact while still packing a punch to prevent overheating. The ribbed dual-finish aluminum heatsink is particularly engineered to assist reduce thermal throttling. A critical design challenge for PS5 SSDs is that an efficient heatsink not only maintains the device's transfer performance, but also does not exceed the 11.25mm thickness limitation set by the PS5's hardware. Apart from this design consideration, Sony is open to the adoption of any standard length PCIe 4.0 x4 interface NMVe M.2 drive with a sequential read speed of 5.5GB/s or above. The original MSI Spatium M480 SSD lacks a heatsink. MSI also produces the Spatium M480 HS, which has a large included heatsink that renders it incompatible with the PS5 architecture. (At a total thickness of 20.40mm, it is too thick for the console.)
The tested product today is available for 379 USD/EUR (street pricing) for the 2TB model and 189 USD/EUR for the 1TB variant. If you are unable to tuck away and cool the storage unit within your motherboard, you can purchase SKUs with an additional heatsink. For that 2 TB model, that equates to 18.5 cents per GB. And, although that may sound a little pricey for NAND storage these days, keep in mind that this is a TLC-written NVMe SSD outfitted with Phison's fastest Phison E18 controller, capable of some reaping benefits inside your storage array. PCIe Gen 4.0 for those that want top-notch high-performance at a fair price, this PCIe Gen 4 x4 M2 unit might be what you are after. The Spatium M480 is available in multiple volumes and sizes. There's the 2TB version we test, a 1 GB model, and a 500GB model. MSI is pleading numbers that run into the 7000 MB/s, Write Speeds, and up to 6800 MB/s for the fastest 2 TB M2 SSD. They a offer proper 5 years warranty. The TBW (TeraBytes Written—the total amount of data that a company is willing to guarantee can be written to the drive) rated 700 TBW for the 1 TB model and a proper 1400 TBW for the tested 2 TB model.
The specs are outstanding but will this unit deliver what it claims? SSD is based on this year's trendy 8-channel Phison's PS5018-E18 controller and, of course, has been fitted with TLC written NAND. The performance will vary slightly depending on volume size; the more significant, the faster, though. The SSD is a Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe 1.4) M.2 2280 form factor SSD. The performance numbers of a proper SATA3 SSD offers these days are simply excellent, but with the more niche NVMe SSDs you can multiply performance 14x, and that offers serious numbers. The unit follows a smaller M.2 2280 form factor (8cm), so it will fit on most ATX motherboards capable of M.2 just fine. Anyway, wanna see how fast it really is? Will this be a proper Samsung 980 PRO competitor (heck yes). Next page and onwards into the review then.