The Bottom Line
Introduction & Drive Details
MSI is looking to round out its branded hardware lineup with some cutting-edge Gen4 NVMe SSDs of their own. MSI's Gen4 SSD has been branded "Spatium" which signifies MSI validated Gen4 performance inside. Within the Spatium series are multiple Gen4 SSD configurations, with the 2TB Spatium M480 being the flagship performer of the lot.
Keeping with the current trend, MSI has partnered with Phison Electronics to bring forth the Spatium M480 we have on our bench today. The Spatium M480 features a hardware configuration we are very familiar with, featuring a Phison E18 eight-channel controller paired with a Micron 96Layer TLC flash array and onboard DDR4 to speed things along.
We know this hardware combination to be very fast, capable of exceeding 7,100 MB/s throughput. Hardware with that kind of speed can generate considerable heat under sustained load. This heat can generally be tamed sufficiently by M.2 motherboard heat sinks that are pretty much standard fare these days. Or, for even better thermal mitigation, you can get the Spatium M480 with an optional heat sink as we have here today.
The Spatium M480 with heat sink comes the way we like it. The heat sink is both beefy and optional. If you install it and then, later on, decide to remove it, it comes apart easily.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XIII HERO - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i9-11900KF - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Alphacool Eissturm Hurricane Copper 45 - Buy from Amazon
- RAM: XPG DDR4 D50 Xtreme 5000MHz 16GB (8GB x 2) - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: Zotac 2080Ti AMP Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Case: PrimoChill's Praxis Wetbench - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 1000W 80+ Gold Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Buy from Amazon
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO
Starting out with a bang, the Spatium M480 2TB dishes out better than advertised sequential speeds. QD1 random performance is looking exceptional as well, especially writes where the M480 2TB delivers the second-best performance we've seen to date.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
We've always said that our primary focus when looking at Anvil results, or any synthetic results for that matter, is read performance. After all, host reads are 80% of typical consumer data transactions, and as such, it could be said that read performance is 4X more important than programming or writes. With this in mind, we've decided to no longer chart write scoring or total score.
Near the top of the food chain overall read performance here. Impressive.
As expected, the Spatium M480 displays massive sequential throughput E18 powered SSDs are known for.
Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10
The Spatium M480 impresses by delivering the highest numbers we've seen from its hardware combination while running on Windows 11 Pro.
More Windows 11 prowess. The Spatium M480 again delivers the highest throughput we've recorded for this test with this hardware combination running on this OS.
Game Level Loading
Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. The M480 lands on the top half of our chart, besting other Tier 1 performers like Samsung's 980 Pro. Excellent.
PCM10 Storage Tests
PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.
The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark
Above average performance here, which is good to see. We again note the Spatium M480 delivers the highest performance we've gotten from any E18 with 96Layer flash SSD to date.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
As expected from this particular hardware combo, the M480 scores lower than expected for a 7GB/s capable Gen4 SSD. Even QLC SSDs can best E18 with 96Layer TLC flash SSDs with this workload.
It's good to see that MSI has added fast NVMe storage to its vast hardware portfolio. Choosing to partner with Phison is undoubtedly the key ingredient to MSI starting out of the gate with competitive and relevant Gen4 NVMe offerings. MSI has distinguished the Spatium M480 from similarly configured competitors with a proprietary heat sink and a few performances that are the best we've seen from any E18 with 96Layer flash SSD to date.
We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. Impressive for what it is yet again, MSI's Spatium M480 2TB slides into the top spot for an E18/96L SSD. Excellent.
Looking back at our results, we can find several instances where the Spatium M480 distinguished itself from the competition. CDM results saw the M480 deliver the third-highest sequential write throughput and the second-highest QD1 random read numbers we've seen to date. Further sequential write prowess was demonstrated by the M480 delivering the second-best ATTO 128K performance we've gotten from our Intel-based test bench.
The M480 also delivered the goods on our gaming test by outperforming the likes of Samsung's 980 Pro. Last but not least, the M480 upped the user experience bar a notch for similarly configured hardware.
MSI's Spatium M480 2TB delivered the goods and has earned one of our highest awards because of it.
- Sequential Speeds
- Moderate Workloads
With 7,100 MB/s throughput on tap, MSI's Spatium M480 2TB will feed your need for speed.