MSI's Latest SSD Pushes PCIe 4 to the Limit: Up to 7.4 GB/s and 1M IOPS

(Image credit: MSI)

MSI has introduced its ultimate PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives that maximize sequential and random read and write performance to provide the best experience possible. MSI's Spatium M480 Pro SSDs are designed to maximize the storage performance of previous-generation PCIe Gen4-supporting platforms and will therefore be able to address tens of millions of PCs released in the last four years.

 Just like other members of MSI's Spatium M480 familySpatium M480 Pro drives are based around Phison's PS5018-E18 platform and use 3D TLC NAND memory. But the M480 Pro SSDs feature up to 60% higher random read/write performance at a cost of a 44% higher peak power consumption. So it looks like the company reworked the firmware of these drives and quite possibly made some hardware-related changes too. 

Speaking of performance, with MSI's Spatium M480 Pro, we are looking at up to 7400 MB/s sequential read speed and up to 6000 MB/s sequential write speed, as well as up to 750K random read 4KB IOPS and up to 1M random write 4KB IOPS. This is significantly higher when compared to the performance of MSI's vanilla Spatium M480, which only delivers up to 350K/700K random read/write 4K IOPS. But this comes at an up to 9.5W maximum operating power, up from 6.6W in the case of the original model. So this drive definitely isn't going to be shipping in laptops. Other characteristics, such as TBW endurance, MTBF, and five-year limited warranty remain unchanged. 


MSI's Spatium M480 Pro vs Spatium M480

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProductM480 Pro 1TBM480 1TB
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
ControllerPhison PS5018-E18Phison PS5018-E18
Memory?Micron 96L TLC
Sequential Read7,400 MBps7,000 MBps
Sequential Write6,000 MBps5,500 MBps
Random Read750,000 IOPS350,000 IOPS
Random Write1,000,000 IOPS700,000 IOPS
SecurityAES 256-bit encryption AES 256-bit encryption 
Endurance (TBW)700 TB700 TB

In addition to offering higher performance, the MSI Spatium M480 Pro omits a 500GB version and introduces a 4TB configuration, so these drives will be available with 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB of raw 3D NAND onboard.

MSI will offer three versions of its Spatium M480 Pro SSDs: the vanilla M480 Pro that comes with a thin graphene heatspreader to maximize compatibility with desktops and laptops, the M480 Pro HS that comes with a rather massive heatsink, and the M480 Pro Play that is optimized for Sony's PlayStation 4 and comes with an appropriate radiator. 

While some enthusiasts are lining up to get the best SSDs with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface to take advantage of their shiny new AMD Ryzen 7000 or Intel 12th and 13th Gen Core platforms, there is still life (and speed) in PCIe Gen4 systems. Since PCIe Gen5 platforms and appropriate drives are quite expensive, lots of enthusiasts might prefer to upgrade their current systems with a new graphics card and a higher-capacity, and still speedier SSD instead of investing in a brand-new platform.

Addressing the fleet of PCIe Gen4-supporting PCs waiting for an SSD upgrade makes a lot of sense, as many mainstream PCIe Gen4-supporting computers shipped with PCIe 3.0 or mediocre PCIe Gen 4 drives, in which case a drive like the M480 Pro would be a speedy and (in the case of the 4TB model at least) spacious upgrade.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • Dr3ams
    Probably need a heatsink the size of a truck to cool it.
  • thisisaname
    Dr3ams said:
    Probably need a heatsink the size of a truck to cool it.
    Was just wondering what cooling it would need to perform this well.
  • atomicWAR
    Dr3ams said:
    Probably need a heatsink the size of a truck to cool it.
    I have a PCIe gen 4 Nextorage 7400MBs drive and a WD 850X 7400MBs drive. If you want them to perform well, a good heat sink is needed for sure. I went with Acidalie M.2 SSD heatsinks that use a couple of heat pipes and a decent truck sized heat sink instead of the motherboard ones which would throttle so fast due to heat.
  • HideOut
    Why is this even reportable. PCIe Gen 5 drives are shipping and trash this. Its like clickbait.
  • edzieba
    Dr3ams said:
    Probably need a heatsink the size of a truck to cool it.
    Assuming their specsheet is correct, the >12W peak power would mean it can be adequately cooled by a small passive heatsink over the controller (please do not attempt to cool the NAND dies, it will only reduce drive longevity). If anyone remembers passive northbridge pin-grid heatsinks, that's the sort of size for that power dissipation.
    HideOut said:
    Why is this even reportable. PCIe Gen 5 drives are shipping and trash this. Its like clickbait.
    If you're ignoring actual performance and buying SSDs based on "bigger bus number means more betterer" then, well, at least the marketers will be happy for the easy money.
  • flagrantvagrant
    I use these for my PCI-E 4 nvme's. Work perfectly fine, but unlike most people I don't care about fan noise or pretty electric light show art cases. I run my beast with no panels and ripped off what few embellishments it had. Replaced the trainer wheel fans on the radiators with noctua 3kRPM industrial PPCs and run them with aggressive fan curves. I also bolted a 140mm fan facing inwards towards the low airflow area below the gpu, and put a large GPU backplate fan/HS on that, so all the heat sinked components in those areas are always getting a solid draft.

    edzieba said:
    (please do not attempt to cool the NAND dies, it will only reduce drive longevity)

    Okay sure, I'll make sure to totally not do that, even though doing real world stress transfer tests (like copying a 150+GB archive from one drive to another with 64k clusters, then touching the exposed NAND BGAs til I figure which one is taking the entire sequential write after DRAM and over provisioning is expended) is CLEARLY getting very warm because the 1TB NAND BGA (tested this on a 2TB Soldigm P44 and a 2TB Hynix P41) is getting written to sequentially at 2-2.5 GB/s, and is pulling at least as much power as the controller itself. Yeah, I think I'll be fully encasing my nvme's NAND chips and controller and keep air moving over them, TYVM.

    Setup basics

    MSI X570 Unify (oh no the NB fan is so loud how will I survive even though it prevents it from flying up to 90C!)
    64GB gSkill (2x32GB) 4000 (downclocked and overvolted to get tighter timings running 1:1:1)
    5950X tweaked to get all core all thread 4.5-4.6GHz AVX (CB23 AVG 29.5k to 30.5k pts)
    Corsair H115i 280 AIO modified. Hung from DIY'd machined trusses since it didn't fit in the case; 3kRPM noctua PPC fans. No iCUE software, all controlled with BIOS settings. P95 AVX torture test 30 minutes: CPU maxed at 75C.
    MSI liquid x suprim. Replaced radiator fans with 120mm 3kRPM noctua PPCs. Manual fan profile. OC maxes 2.8GHz with Bright Memory Benchmark maximum fidelity RT torture loop. 30 minutes: 65C with 90% fans.
    Furmark torture loop: maxes 3+GHz. 30 minutes: 70C with 90% fans. Pulls almost 600Watts in both cases despite the whining and gnashing of teeth of "the community" at the "paltry" 525W PL in the VBIOS.
    1x8TB and 1x16TB HGST SATA3 rust spinners for mass data retention. Both read/write 225-250MB/s steady sequential after cache expenditure.
    1TB hynix P41 for OS only in slot 1. 4TB WD SN850X in slot two solely for games. Solidigm 2TB P44 in slot 3 for back up purposes. All using 64k cluster size (reduces MFT latency when assigning or reading block checksums, making read/write faster) All running full PCI-E 4x4. Max speed from one drive to another AFTER DRAM and over provisioning expenditure with very large sequential read/writes: 2-3GB/s depending on drive adjacency.
    PSU: Corsair 1200 watt something. It's big and heavy. Who cares what model or brand it is as long as it gets the job done and has appropriate power conditioning, good input filtering caps (Y filter pattern FTW) high quality electrolytics and a well designed switching circuit.
    Case: Its a metal box that parts are mounted in. Who cares.
  • edzieba
    flagrantvagrant said:
    Okay sure, I'll make sure to totally not do that, even though doing real world stress transfer tests is CLEARLY getting very warm
    Getting warm is the goal. Higher temperatures at time of write means less power needed for every bit write, and less power needed for block erase. Operating at elevated temperature both makes NAND more efficient, and reduces wear by minimising power dumped into the NAND cells during write ops.
    But more importantly, not cooling the NAND dies means the dies are not constantly expending energy attempting to reach their setpoint temperature (which they never can, because you're force cooling them), and because the NAND dies heat themselves by running block erases (the most energy intensive thing they can do) keeping the dies too cool is actively burning NAND cell lifetime.