MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB HS PCIe 4.0 Gen4 NVMe SSD Review

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MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB HS PCIe 4.0 Gen4 NVMe SSD Top View Angled


Today we have reviewed MSI’s fastest SSD, the MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 HS SSD.  The MSI SPATIUM SSD line is new from MSI, launching just this past August, MSI has entered the SSD market strong.  It is offering a broad range of SSDs, from NVMe PCIe Gen3 to NVMe PCIe Gen4 and the latest NVMe 1.4 protocol on PCIe Gen4x4 SSDs. 

In addition to multiple capacities offered, MSI also has a custom heatsink in its highest SPATIUM M480 line.  With a custom MSI heatsink, you can keep your high-performing SSD cool so it won’t throttle and will maintain performance.  It has a unique design and keeps both sides of the SSD cool in intense workloads. It comes in the package separate from the SSD, so you will have to put it together yourself. It includes the thermal pads already in place. You can also choose to get the M480 without a heatsink.

There are two capacities of MSI SPATIUM M480 sold in the US market, the 1TB and 2TB capacities.  Both of these capacities share the same very fast 7000MB/s read throughput but differ in write throughput.  Even though this is the case, the lowest write throughput of 5500MB/s with the 1TB model is still faster than the write throughput of the SPATIUM M470 at 4400MB/s.  The 2TB MSI SPATIUM M480 can hit a whopping 6800MB/s write throughput. This is all possible thanks to the Phison E18 controller, NVMe 1.4, and Micron 96-layer 3D NAND TLC Flash with 2GB of DDR4.

The SPATIUM M480 1TB without heatsink will retail for $219.99.  The SPATIUM M480 2TB without heatsink will retail for $434.99.  The SPATIUM M480 1TB HS will retail for $229.99.  The SPATIUM M480 2TB HS will retail for $449.99.  You get to choose if you want the heatsink or not, it’s nice to have both options available and you can save a little money if you have your own heatsink. 


The benefit of the MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB SSD is in its throughput for large files.  It has a very high throughput for SSDs, next-gen PCIe Gen4 performance. It pushes the previous performance champs of NVMe 1.3 drives up a notch to new performance levels.  If you have large file sizes or need an SSD that can move files back and forth quickly, and can load and read and write large files fast, this is the SSD for you. 

It has a very strong sequential read and write performance, and also very fast random read and write performance in specific workloads.  It excels in sequential performance, and some random 4K workloads as well. There are some random 4K workloads that will be on par with the SPATIUM M470, but that’s still a very decent amount of performance.  It depends on what type of data you are moving, and whatnot. Where throughput is concerned the SPATIUM M480 will shine. It is hard to say if there are some hidden latency issues, there is some indication that smaller file sizes workloads have some added latency here, and also as the queue depth increases.

In PCMark 10’s storage tests the MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB SSD proved to be overall better for real-world trace testing as much as 16% better than the SPATIUM M470.  When copying large file sizes, it was also the fastest SSD.  It was about the same in terms of game scene load times.  For professional workstation applications, according to SPECworkstation the MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB SSD was superior, providing 13% better performance compared to the CORSAIR Force MP600.  The CORSAIR Force MP600 has been a strong performing SSD, but the SPATIUM M480 does give it a run for its money. 


MSI offers a special “HS” heatsink package with this SSD, which includes a bronze-colored aluminum heatsink custom from MSI.  This heatsink is well-engineered and wraps around cooling both sides of the SSD with ample thermal pads on both sides.  The mechanism to put it together and screw it tight works well.  It takes no time at all to put it together, and gives you the freedom of customizing thermal pads if you don’t want to use the ones, they put on it.  You are welcome to put your own if you have potentially higher-quality pads.  Though the ones installed by default work just fine.

This SSD definitely needs a heatsink.  If you purchase the SSD version that doesn’t include a heatsink, definitely use your motherboards M.2 slot heatsink, or buy your own.  We suggest one that wraps around and cools both sides of the SSD since this is a double-sided SSD.  If you have the 2TB model, it’s even more important that both sides are cooled properly.  You don’t want to throttle that oh-so-nice write performance across the 2TB capacity.

Though MSI’s heatsink works well, we do think there is a little room for improvement in the design aspects, so we’d like to leave our feedback.  We might suggest extending the height of the heatsink to match the part that swoops up to provide more surface area for heat dissipation.  Just go ahead and make it all that same height, so it adds surface area to the fins to dissipate heat.  In this way, it will provide more cooling and keep the temps even lower. 

In addition, we’d suggest widening the base just a tiny bit to cover the controller fully.  The fins don’t need to be extended, just the base a bit, give it a bit of a lip coming off the base to make full contact with the controller, and the same on the other side for the NAND flash. 

The last thing we’d recommend is for MSI to just go ahead and pre-install the heatsink on the SSD and ship it that way.  There is no reason to not have it already installed and put together for you.  If you are buying the heatsink version, then you are going to use MSI’s heatsink, else you’d buy the non-heatsink version and use your own.

Final Points

The MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 HS SSD is a top-tier performer and will fit nicely in the computer of any hardware enthusiast, or professional.  For gamers, the 2TB capacity model will provide the space you need to install all your games and run them off the SSD to benefit from the performance.  For content creators, and working professionals, the performance will be there for demanding workloads dealing with large file sizes, and the ability for high throughput performance.  

Our testing has shown that this SSD performs as it should, it’s hitting all the right marks.  To keep it cool we highly recommend the version with a heatsink, if you do not have your own wrap-around heatsink.  This will ensure the highest performance in any build.  Just be aware of the added height added in the area around your M.2 slot by the heatsink. We are bummed about the lack of bundled software right now to manage the SSD, but MSI tells us it is coming, and MSI Center should get it. We hope so because the ability to check and update Firmware, and access features like Secure Erase and other things in software is important to maintain the SSD and make sure it’s performing the best. 

As we stated at the beginning of this review, MSI has come into the SSD market very strong.  It offers choice, and the best part is that you can find these SSDs available at MSRP even now.  Here is the MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB HS version we reviewed today available and in stock at MSRP of $449.99.  It is by no means the cheapest 2TB NVMe SSD, but keep in mind this is a different tier of NVMe SSD, it’s NVMe 1.4 Gen4x4, at 7000MB/s read and 6800MB/s write, and it comes with a heatsink and 5-year warranty.   

If you need an ultimate performing SSD, and performance is key, with up to 2TB of capacity, and a custom heatsink in the package, the MSI SPATIUM M480 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 HS SSD is a must.


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Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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