Do you use m.2 heatsinks supplied with motherboards?

Och

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These heatsinks with the thermal pads look like they do more bad than good. Looking for advice whether I should use them.
 

Zepher

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I use them.
Why would they do more bad than good?

IMG_1648.JPEG
 

doubletake

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I use them.
Why would they do more bad than good?
Probably because some of them are terribly designed, e.g. almost every lower-end ASRock board has what are little more than aluminum slabs, with few or any cuts, making them more heattraps than heatsinks due to almost no additional surface area. I guess it also comes down to the quality of the included thermal pad and how much case airflow there is, but in general most factory sinks are ok and not really any worse than leaving the drive bare. I think this mattered a bit more back before mfgs started including those integrated heatspreader-like labels that have foil in them to help greatly increase heat dissipation with even the slightest bit of airflow pointed at them.
 

SmokeRngs

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The heatsinks which came with my Gigabyte Aorus x570 Pro Wifi work just fine. The temps at idle alone are at least several degrees C cooler than when the NVME was installed in my Asus B450-f Gaming motherboard and no heatsink. I don't remember the exact temp at idle without heatsink but I think it was round 34C. At the moment with the heatsink it's idling at 28C.
 

TheSlySyl

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I'm using the one on my Asrock X570 Taichi, the thing is a gigantic aluminum slab and seems to cool just as well as basic coolers from my experience. Pain in the ass to remove the whole thing to replace a single m.2 unit though (and requires me removing the videocard and other PCI-E devices.)
Two of my M.2's that are underneath it are Gen 4 PCI-E that are known to be super hot. (Corsair MP600 and WD Black SN850)

I am using better and thicker thermal pads than the ones that came with the motherboard - but they're still pressing against the same heatsink.


1625542543919.png

Look at the size of this thing.
 
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Nicer MBs tend to come with slightly better stock M.2 heatsink setups - and it really boils down to what you are doing with your SDD... As long as the MB stock SSD M.2 heatsink has thermal pads and is providing a bit of mass to help radiate heat, I can't see them being worse than not using a heatsink at all. If you are just gaming/surfing, odds are they'll be more than sufficient with what's provided stock with your MB... and they'll definitely be better than using nothing! If you are running apps where your SSD is being hammered non-stop, then you may want to look into how hot things are getting and possibly upgrading your M.2 SSD cooling solution. I'm fine with just running the stock MB M.2 heatsinks provided with my Dark Hero... they seem to work well.
 

Zepher

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This is my 980 Pro 1TB plotting Chia on my Dark Hero (D Drive and it's in the lower M.2 slot under the video card).
the room is 85*f, the USB drives are hotter than the 980 Pro plotting.

980-rpo-Chia.jpg
 

dvsman

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Running the OEM heatsink that came with my x570 Taichi - has an integrated fan so I assume it'll do better than a non-fan heatsink. Though sharing a heatsink with other heat generating IC may prove me wrong.
 

Burticus

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My Asrock 470 mobo came wth a m.2 heatsink, it looks better than nothing... but the Samsung 970 has this huge sticker on it I didn't want to remove and void the warranty.
 

3dprophet

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Mine is just a slab of metal with pads. Idle temp is 5C lower.

If the slab has decent thickness it will work. If it's just a thin piece of metal it won't do much.
 

Johnx64

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My Asrock 470 mobo came wth a m.2 heatsink, it looks better than nothing... but the Samsung 970 has this huge sticker on it I didn't want to remove and void the warranty.


Removing a sticker won't void a warranty. At least not here in the U.S.A
 

GotNoRice

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Yes I use the heatsinks on my x570 board.

Ironically, the flash memory actually prefers higher temperatures. The main reason for using a heatsink is the SSD controller, which is basically like any other processor in that it generates heat and will throttle if it gets too hot. If using a heatsink means the difference between your SSD controller throttling or not, then that would make it more than worth it.

So you want to make sure that the heatsink is pulling heat from the SSD controller, but it's actually counter-productive to cool the flash modules. Usually you don't have that much granular control over what the heatsink cools, but it might be a consideration regarding where you put the thermal pads. If your SSD controller is staying cool even without a heatsink, then you might consider leaving the heatsink off and allowing the flash to run at hotter temperatures (again, the flash itself prefers higher temperatures).
 

TheSlySyl

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Yes I use the heatsinks on my x570 board.

Ironically, the flash memory actually prefers higher temperatures. The main reason for using a heatsink is the SSD controller, which is basically like any other processor in that it generates heat and will throttle if it gets too hot. If using a heatsink means the difference between your SSD controller throttling or not, then that would make it more than worth it.

So you want to make sure that the heatsink is pulling heat from the SSD controller, but it's actually counter-productive to cool the flash modules. Usually you don't have that much granular control over what the heatsink cools, but it might be a consideration regarding where you put the thermal pads. If your SSD controller is staying cool even without a heatsink, then you might consider leaving the heatsink off and allowing the flash to run at hotter temperatures (again, the flash itself prefers higher temperatures).
This has been tested, as long as your flash basically isn't actively chilled (far below ambient) it won't make a difference.
More cooling on the controller, however, does make a difference.
 

mda

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Hmmm quick question -- is the adhesive on the removable M2 heatsinks reusable?
 

Och

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Ok, so the reason I asked this is because my daughters SSD has failed after two years. She brought it to me earlier today (she lives in a different state) and I am replacing it and fixing her computer. Her board is an Rog Maximus XI, and I used the heatsink supplied with the motherboard on the drive. When I removed the heatsink, the thermal pad was kind of gooey, and I wonder if this is what caused the drive to fail.
 

Och

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Also, regarding temps. If you use Samsung Magician software, it only shows once temp, usually about 50-60C, but if you use software like Aida 64 that reads more sensors, it shows two temperatures for the Samsung m.2 NVME drives. My 970 Evo Plus usually idles at 50C/70C. I think the 50C is the flash, and the controller is at 70C. The controller is the metal part, and its much hotter to the touch.
 

Comixbooks

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My Z690 motherboard comes with slabbed Heatsinks the Manuel says to use these sticky contact pads on top of the controllers not sure if it's a thermal pad or what they are like 1/4 squares. I just read in the Manuel says it's just a cushion because they tell you not to use it on a double sided SSD.
 
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bonehead123

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In my current rig, I have 2x WD SN750 blacks, 1 with the custom EKWB heatsink & thermal pad, and the other with the stock ASUS heatsink and pad that came with the mobo....both are in a huge case with tons of airflow over them, and neither drive is under the GPU.

The one with the EKWB heatsink is always running ~4-6c lower than the other one, but neither one ever gets over 38-40c...
 

nthexwn

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Ok, so the reason I asked this is because my daughters SSD has failed after two years. She brought it to me earlier today (she lives in a different state) and I am replacing it and fixing her computer. Her board is an Rog Maximus XI, and I used the heatsink supplied with the motherboard on the drive. When I removed the heatsink, the thermal pad was kind of gooey, and I wonder if this is what caused the drive to fail.

Did you learn anything more about this? I seem to be in the same situation and your post is the only relevant thing I could find on the whole internet. I just had a BSOD and after rebooting my BIOS recognizes the M.2 drive (Samsung 970 EVO), but no longer thinks it's bootable. I peeled the integrated motherboard heatsink off (also applied for ~2 years) and found that the thermal pad had turned all gooey and was secreting tiny bits of grease onto the drive.

I cleaned that off as best as I could, but now the heatsink is bare. I don't have any idea where to find a replacement pad for this particular motherboard (Asus Z-390M), so I'm probably just going to have to leave it like that.

As far as getting the drive fixed, I'm hoping this is a Windows 10 problem and not a hardware failure. Going to go try out a recovery drive and see what happens next...
 

trick0502

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heres my two nvme drives. the wd has the mb heatsink on it and the sabrent has a $3 amazon "heatsink" on it. i dont know if the wd runs hotter than the sabrent normally.

1645202432311.png
 

3dprophet

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A big factor is the proximity to the GPU. Under a GPU load the drive temp will go up a lot. This is the main reason I use the heatsink.
 

Och

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If my memory serves me right, I put a different heatsink on it, a bit more substantial than the stock one.
 

djstarfox

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FWIW, I recently got a PCIe 4.0 NVMe device (bare), and I'm using the included motherboard heatsink. Temps are higher than the older NVMe, but range between 37C and 47C. From the temperature history graphs, the CPU blows a little hot air in the area, but it's not enough to be a problem. I'm comfortable with keeping it below 50C.

However, to your original question, if the NVMe came with a heatsink, use that. Otherwise, the motherboard-included one is probably better than nothing.
 

Dan_D

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Yes. I always have. I do it on all the boards I review as well.
 

Bullitt

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Yes. I always have. I do it on all the boards I review as well.
I've got a question, since the thread is somewhat active:

I'm running an Asus Pro WS X570-ACE with 2 NVME drives. Both are Crucial P5's (yeeeep). The box has no GPU to speak of (Nvidia gt 710 for framebuffer output only), and the P5 in the lower slot, is running, idle @ 63C (or whatever, "smartctl -a" output.

Code:
Temperature Sensor 1:               64 Celsius
Temperature Sensor 2:               79 Celsius

the one in the primary slot, runs
Code:
Temperature Sensor 1:               48 Celsius
Temperature Sensor 2:               53 Celsius

Under a modest load, the 2nd will spike above 85C and I'm suspecting some sort of drive issue as the box locked up and BIOS did not recognize the 2nd NVME, until I re-seated it.

If the thing is overheating, would it only throttle, or is there a probability that it would introduce system instability?

If temps are my culprit, what is the ranking of the following solutions?

Bare drive with fan directed at it
Heatsink on the NVME drive
both fan and heatsink

Case is a Fractal Meshify 2 XL chocked with 140mm 1000rpm fans (purewings fans) running max and a BeQuiet DarkRock Pro (running with a conservative curve in the BIOS.
 

TheSlySyl

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85C is pretty damn hot for an nvme drive, my PCIE Gen 4 SSDs directly under the exhaust of my super hot 1080Ti don't get that hot. They max out, in summer, around 62C.

I'm running a Fractal Define 7 XL, so I have similar, but less airflow than you. I'm also using the built in heatsink on 3 of these drives, the 4th one (the SPCC) is using a PCI-E to M.2 expansion slot with a heatsink so it gets way more airflow than the other 3 drives.

That's my hottest drive (Gen 4 WD Black SN850 directly underneath the GPU.)
1645587932197.png


My other drives, for comparison: Corsair MP600
1645587968902.png


PCIE-Gen 3: Silicon Power SPCC (This is by far my coolest NVME)
1645588045886.png


Oldest drive in my system: A Gen 3 Sabrent Rocket 1TB
1645588144241.png


Note: Measurements taken and recorded by HDsentinel.
 

Bullitt

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85C is pretty damn hot for an nvme drive, my PCIE Gen 4 SSDs directly under the exhaust of my super hot 1080Ti don't get that hot. They max out, in summer, around 62C.

I'm running a Fractal Define 7 XL, so I have similar, but less airflow than you. I'm also using the built in heatsink on 3 of these drives, the 4th one (the SPCC) is using a PCI-E to M.2 expansion slot with a heatsink so it gets way more airflow than the other 3 drives.
Right, I get you. I know my 2nd slot is running warm. No doubt about it, its one of the downsides to that particular model. Are the heatsinks actually worth a damn, or would I be better served with a directed airflow option ?

My other gaming rig, uses a WD SN750, crammed underneath my graphics card, with the motherboard's token heatsink (MSI Tomahawk B550) and the system is AIO cooled, so there's not much flowing directly at the slot, but that thing runs 42c, might max out @ 48c if I spam crystal diskmark on while the GPU is on a Furmark run. Does that crappy heatsink actually make that much a difference? If so, that's $10 and done. If its a situation of directed airflow towards that 2nd slot, that'll be a different beast to tame.
 

TheSlySyl

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I've used the super cheap $5 aluminum slab heatsinks and they made a noticeable difference for my early PCI-E ADATA SX8200. I think that a $10 heatsink would be more than enough to cool things down, and there's no way that it could make things any worse.

The closest I have to a direct airflow on my nvme drives is my GPU exhausting on them (usually air way hotter than ambient.) and the fact that I have a 120mm slim fan underneath my GPU.

1645596363455.png

You can see what I mean here, honestly, if you have space under your GPU, (and with a Mesh 2 XL, you might have the exact same clearance that I have.) that one little 120mm exhaust fan did more for my temps than any other fan in the system. Didn't change the nvme drives all that much though, but it did stop the gpu from recirculating the hot air that it creates.
 

Bullitt

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I've used the super cheap $5 aluminum slab heatsinks and they made a noticeable difference for my early PCI-E ADATA SX8200. I think that a $10 heatsink would be more than enough to cool things down, and there's no way that it could make things any worse.

The closest I have to a direct airflow on my nvme drives is my GPU exhausting on them (usually air way hotter than ambient.) and the fact that I have a 120mm slim fan underneath my GPU.


You can see what I mean here, honestly, if you have space under your GPU, (and with a Mesh 2 XL, you might have the exact same clearance that I have.) that one little 120mm exhaust fan did more for my temps than any other fan in the system. Didn't change the nvme drives all that much though, but it did stop the gpu from recirculating the hot air that it create

I'll give it a shot. What got me onto this rabbit hole was a message in my syslog where some of my spinning rust drives were throwing:
Code:
Feb 22 22:56:29 is smartd[1403]: Device: /dev/sdc [SAT], SMART Usage Attribute: 194 Temperature_Celsius changed from 113 to 112
only to find out that those were a range of 1-255 (in actuality, the temps were in the 30's).
Code:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   112   102   000    Old_age   Always       -       38

My NVME drives gave me an actual output with the same command, and the one in the 2nd slot was hot to the touch, as well as in the ballpark, when hitting it with a laser thermometer. Looks like I'm off to Bezos-land for a cheap HS assembly.
Code:
Temperature Sensor 1:               64 Celsius
Temperature Sensor 2:               80 Celsius

vs
Code:
Temperature Sensor 1:               49 Celsius
Temperature Sensor 2:               54 Celsius
 
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Okatis

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Probably because some of them are terribly designed, e.g. almost every lower-end ASRock board has what are little more than aluminum slabs, with few or any cuts, making them more heattraps than heatsinks due to almost no additional surface area.
I use the included AsRock heatsinks on their ITX line and the temps are better than I've seen generally reported by other ITX users. Via HWInfo: idles at 29C and have seen it go to 52C while gaming with Cyberpunk.

Weird thing is, with that Gamers Nexus piece about the heatsink brand they tested making temps significantly worse it seems to have caused some to consider any stock heatsinks a bad idea yet my experience has been positive.
 

Dan_D

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I've found that the heat sinks are somewhat restrictive for air flow but also work as intended. In the best cases, where no active air flow crosses them I've seen basically the same temps with and without the heat sink. I've only seen one motherboard that did it better and it still wasn't great. But that one had air that flowed over the drives and heat sinks. It was still barely better than breaking even.
 
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