MSI is one of the most renowned hardware manufactures 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 M370 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 M370, 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 2 TB & M470 1 TB SSDs which are priced at $439.99 and $189.99 US.respectively. Both drives feature the PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol which means they are future-proof and will offer some really fast speeds, targetting other high-end and mainstream solutions.
MSI SPATIUM M480 is part of the latest MSI SPATIUM family and hence, it comes with a new design language that features a bunded heatsink module along with the IHS spreader based on a copper film.
The MSI SPATIUM M480 SSDs are based on the NVMe SSD form factor and features 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.
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Furthermore, these 2 TB model is priced slightly above the premium offerings with a cost of $439.99 US which gets you really high-speeds out of the box. 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.
MSI SPATIUM M470 is part of the MSI’s mainstream SPATIUM family and retains the PCIe Gen 4.0 compliancy. It is only the M370 series where the compliancy falls down to Gen 3.0 but those are targetted at the entry-level segment. The MSI M470 series is also based on the NVMe 1.3 standard instead of the NVMe 1.4 standard of the M480 drives.
The SSDs are based on the NVMe SSD form factor and features a 96-layer TLC-based 3D NAND flash which offers larger capacities, better performance, and slightly lower power input. MSI is using the Phison PS5016-E16 controller.
The 1 TB model is priced at a nominal $189.99 US which gets you really high-speeds out of the box. In terms of performance, MSI’s SPATIUM M470 1 TB has sequential read speeds of 5000 MB/s and write speeds of 4400 MB/s. The Random read speeds of these drives are up to 600K IOPS and the write is 600K IOPS. The MSI SPATIUM M470 1 TB SSD has an idle power draw of 20mW and a maximum operating power of 6.3W.
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.
MSI SPATIUM M480 & M470 SSDs – Unboxing and Closer Look
Both drives come 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, and the M480 packaging also mentions the bundled heat sink solution.
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 M480 package includes four items, one is the warranty booklet, the MSI Lucky Installation Guide, and the heatsink along with the graphene pads, and the other is the drive itself.
Out of the package, both drives come in the standard M.2 2280 form factor and both SSDs feature a black PCB which is great since some mainstream drives come with blue-colored PCBs.
The front of the drives includes a specifications sticker and you can place the graphene pads on the exposed side of the PCB. The heatsink installation is pretty simple and requires you to slot the SSD into the bottom support which sets in place quite nicely.
The MSI SPATIUM M480 2 TB holds eight NAND Flash chips (96L) and a Phison E18 controller with 2 GB DDR4 memory while the M470 features the Phison E16 controller and 1 GB DDR4 memory. The MSI M480 and M470 SSDs measure the same at 80x22x2.15mm (LxWxH).
The gold-colored MSI M480 heatsink is very bulky and has some weight to it. The heatsink comes with thermal pads below it which are covered by a sticker that needs to be removed prior to the installation. The drive slots in the heatsink bracket easily and the heatsink is mounted on top of it and screwed in through 6 holes (3 on each side of the heatsink). Do note that given the size of the heatsink, it may be difficult to use an AIC that covers it as the heat sink may interfere with that.
Coming to the final looks, the MSI Spatium M480 and M470 drives look fantastic even without the heatsink but it should be stated that the heatsink itself is one beautiful design that rivals some other manufacturers’ solutions.
MSI SPATIUM M480 & M470 Series SSD Installation:
Our test platform for this review consisted of an Intel Core i9-11900K processor which ran at stock clocks on the MSI Z590 ACE motherboard. The platform was coupled with 32 GB of DDR4 memory from G.Skill (Trident Z RGB / 8 GB x 4) 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.
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 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
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.
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),
To test the maximum average transfer speeds of the drives, I used a 100 GB file to test the limits.
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.
MSI’s entrance into the storage market brings forth two very competitive products, the M480 and M470. The M480 is aimed at the high-end segment with pricing at $439 US for the 2 TB and $189 US for the 1 TB model. Both 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.
The rated speeds of 7 GB/s for the M480 and 5 GB/s for the M470 make them extremely fast drives and in terms of performance, the sequential reads and writes were great. Both drives are also Gen 4 compliant making them a perfect partner for your new PC build, especially with AMD Ryzen and Intel Core already on the Gen 4 bandwagon. The M480 simply destroys the Samsung 980 PRO in all synthetic benchmarks which is insane.
Also looking at the temperatures above, you can see that the included heatsink really does make a huge difference. If users are already running motherboards with M.2 heatsinks installed, then it is better to go with the graphene pad which provides decent results but you are getting a premium option that you don’t get with most high-end SSDs, even Samsung’s Pro lineup so that’s a plus.
Pricing for the M480 might be a bit of a concern as it costs $440 US which is well over what 2 TB SSDs costs though you don’t get the same level of performance as the M480 has to offer. The same is true for the M470 which costs $190 US for 1 TB but you are getting more performance per dollar which should matter to you if you are building a fast PC and this mainstream drive isn’t going to let you down.
MS’s SPATIUM M480 and M470 deliver bleeding edge PCIe Gen 4 speeds to the latest PC platforms with top-tier reliability and while the pricing might be slightly premium, you do get the performance that you would expect of a high-end product. The M480 additionally comes with a great NVMe heat sink solution which further lowers the temperatures and offers stable and cooler operation on this enthusiast-grade product which rivals and even surpasses Samsung’s top Gen 4 SSD solution for PC consumers.
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