Photos and Features
The packaging for the Spatium M480 Play stick with the same blacked-out look that we saw on the MSI MEG CoreLiquid that I recently reviewed. The Spatium M480 box has a flat black background with the word PLAY overlayed in a grey then a picture of the SSD over top taking up most of the front. I love packaging that has an actual picture of what you are getting inside. The model name is down at the bottom with the Spatium part in gold and the rest in white, the model name is also in the biggest font on the front other than the background play. Above that, they do let you know that this is a PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 drive and then the MSI logo is up in the top left corner. The drive size, which ours is a 2TB model as well as the drive speed which is different depending on which size drive you have are in the top right corner on a sticker so that the box can be shared across all of the capacities. This is a PS5 compatible drive and they make that known right on the front as well. On the back of the box it is mostly filled with a crazy number of certifications but they do also have a large gold icon for the 5-year warranty. Beyond that, they just let you this is a PCIe 4.0 drive in 21 different languages and then at the bottom have the UPC as well as the drive's serial number printed all in one area.
Once you open things up, the Spatium M480 Play comes in a cardboard tray which had two layers of foam cut out to fit the thick SSD. Under that, there is also the documentation which is a user guide printed on white paper. The drive itself comes with a sticker on top as a warning that taking the heatsink off can potentially damage the SSD.
The Spatium M480 Play is a PS5 compatible drive meaning not only is it a PCIe 4.0 drive and it is over the 5000 MB/s read speed that Sony recommends. It also comes with a heatsink out of the box which the PS5 needs for the drive to fit. With the heatsink, it is still PC compatible as well though I will say that with more and more higher-end motherboards using their own heatsinks it does limit the compatibility a little bit. The Spatium M480 Play has a grey and black aluminum heatsink with its fins overlapping each other in the middle, then on the right, the drive has the MSI gaming logo badge with its dragon design on it.
The backside of the heatsink does have a full shield over the drive as well. MSI used this space to put a sticker that runs the length of the back. This has all of the normal certification logos as well as the serial number and barcode as well as the drive model name and capacity.
The Spatium M480 Play is a 2280 sized SSD which is the standard SSD length. The drive with the heatsink is 10.7mm thick 24mm wide and 80.4mm long. This side view also gives a peak at the small screws on the side of the heatsink that hold it all together. The drive has two on each side.
Like MSI, I don’t recommend taking the drive apart. The heatsink itself isn’t hard to take apart, but MSI uses more of an adhesive than the normal thermal pad so even once the heatsink is unscrewed everything is still held together, and pulling it apart can damage things if you aren’t extremely careful. Because of the paste, however, I didn’t want to remove it from the drive and it stuck to the back side of the drive so we will have to focus on the front side of the drive for the model information on everything. The back side does have four NAND chips and one ram chip for the cache.
The top of the drive has a similar configuration to the back of the drive. But on this side, they have also tucked in between everything the controller as well which sits in the middle next to the ram in between the four other NAND giving us a total of 8 NAND. The controller is Phision branded with PS5018-E18-41 as the model number meaning it is a standard E18 controller. For the cache, MSI went with SKhynix H5AN8G6NCJ which is an 8GB DDR4 giving the M480 two in total. Then the 8 NAND chips all say IA7BG94AYA which is Micron 176-layer 3D TLC FortisFlash NAND and our 2TB capacity tells us that each of the 8 chips is a 256GB chip. The Spatium M480 Play is available in up to a 4TB capacity which would switch those up to 512GB NAND.