MSI shows off its first PCIe 5 SSDs, but some benchmarks don’t impress

MSI lifts the lid on its first wave of PCIe 5 SSDs with its Spatium M570 and Spatium M570 Pro, but the latter struggles to hit PCIe 4 figures in one benchmark

MSI Spatium M570 SSD with PCIe 5 support

MSI is one of the first brands to ready a tried and true consumer PCIe 5 SSD based on Phison’s new controller and showcase it to the world, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. While the new generation has an upper limit that’s double the sequential speeds of PCIe 4, tests of these early models show that some figures fall flat even compared to what’s already on the shelves.

We’ve heard a lot about PCIe 5 SSDs over the past two years, but most brands are either enterprise-driven or have been all talk without releasing the damn things. Announced at CES 2023, the new MSI Spatium M570 and Spatium M570 Pro should be two of the first consumer models based on the new tech that you’ll actually be able to buy sometime in Q2 2023. Of course, rivals might well be on a similar roadmap as competition heats up, so time will tell who’s truly the first.

They’ll be available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, and come with or without a heatsink. If you opt to keep MSI’s beautiful cooler, the standard version features an aluminium heatsink in bronze, while the Pro version opts for matte golden fins, each with an MSI shield near the NVMe connector.

Both run on Phison’s E26 controller, but it’s Micron’s latest 232-layer NAND flash that puts the ‘Pro’ in the flagship model, as Tom’s Hardware says benchmarks run sequential read and write speeds of 12,000 and 10,000MB/s respectively. This is all nicely above PCIe 4’s maximum throughput of 8GB/s and comfortably under PCIe 5’s upper limit of 16GB/s for early models, and they’ll only get better throughout the year as the tech progresses.

Read (MB/s) Write (MB/s)
SEQ 1M Q8T1 12,342.11 11,814.84
SEQ 128K Q32T1 12,220.23 11,813.43
RND 4K Q32T16 5,777.33 5,209
RND 4K Q1T1 76.29 252.59

The IOPS, however, are a little disappointing with just 76.29MB/s random 4K QD1 reads and 252MB/s writes. The importance of IOPS is often disputed because there are several factors at play with different configurations and usage meaning the numbers rarely reflect exactly what you’ll get, but it’s the fact these are lower than the best SSD currently on the market that puts the MSI Spatium M570 Pro in the underwhelming column. The WD SN850, for example, rates at around 86MB/s read and 264 write.

These are CrystalDiskMark figures that MSI hasn’t yet quoted in its marketing material, so there might be some tweaks ahead of release that address exactly this. Otherwise, it’s simply a waiting game to see how quickly PCIe 5 develops throughout 2023.