M.2 nvme ssd heatsinks

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by zombo, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Hey guys, been a while since I posted. I'm actively seeking to DIY heatsinks to my SSD.
    I understand that under normal usage scenarios, the typical user browsing the internet or gaming, should not need cooling for their Ssd. I built a powerhouse gaming rig maybe 2 years ago and my m.2 Ssd has always ran a bit hotter than I'm comfortable with.

    It's a BPX M.2 nvme 480 gb. It's my understanding that the throttling threshold should be around 70c. Mine runs near that under light load. Last weekend it reached 60 after a few hours at idle.

    Not sure if you require this but quick breakdown of my system :

    Gigabyte Z170X gaming G1
    Core I7 6700K
    Gigabyte GTX 1070
    DDR4 RAM 16gb (2x8)
    Noctua NH D-14

    Case is huge EATX case with at least 7 fans. Three top fans, 2 front, 2 rear. No side fan but it stays cool as a cucumber. None of my other components ever stray above 40c. Most don't reach 40.

    SSD is all alone near the bottom of the Mb, just beneath the graphics card. Graphics card never runs because I work too much to game. Lol.

    Most here may say it is overkill but after reading this thread I would like to add those huge heatsinks that darrpara mentioned in this thread lol, I would have to find something comparable because he found those at work. And I would like to use the Fujiopoly thermal pads recommended by MixManSC.

    Just want to make sure I can extend the life of my SSD as long as possible. My wife already ribs me all the time saying my computer costs as much as a car. Lol. So when it comes to extending the life of the components, there's no such thing as overkill to me. My SSD is used only for the os. On a side note, my pc stays powered up 24/7 for 2 years. Is that a concern?

    Thank you guys

    Edit: Also, I'm away from home, does anyone know the exact dimensions of the chips on the BPX? I want to make sure I get the right size heatsinks.

    Also all wires are tucked away nice and tidy. I have great air flow
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  2. x509

    x509 [H]ard|Gawd

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    And my wife is always telling me I spend too much time "fixing" all our PCs. :coffee:

    Airflow is good on my desktops. Can't do much about all the wires in the laptops. ;)
     
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  3. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    I feel where you are coming from lol
    Our wives should appreciate the fact we can fix them.
    I replaced the screens in her laptop and my son's laptop. Kept us from having to buy new ones :)
     
  4. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    I just use Raspberry Pi hestsinks or chunky copper RAM heatsinks on the controller.
     
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  5. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    I saw those. Thank you for the advice.
    The Raspberry pi heatsinks I've found on Amazon come with 2. One tiny and a larger one. Is that the normal amount in a pi kit?
    What kind of results have you seen?
     
  6. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    I got the EK m.2 heatsink and it works fine
     
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  7. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Thank you Soareversor. I looked at those too. Just wasn't sure how effective they were.
    What kind of temps are you getting?

    Also, I noticed thesmokingman in a thread from last year said thermal pads only transfer heat from one source to another.
    He was talking to Phixzet who said he was just gonna stick a fujipoly pad on top of his SSD and nothing else. I would be interested to learn the results of his test.

    Also MixManSC said he didn't even have to use adhesive. He just zip tied a fujipoly pad and heatsink to the SSD and it worked great.
     
  8. MixManSC

    MixManSC ║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█ Staff Member

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    I did..... in my case it was going in a HP Wave which is a crazily tiny and cramped pc and it will never be seen. So looks did not matter to me as much as functionality. :) Still running great too! Those particular pads are pricey, fiddly, and fragile. Sort of a one shot deal but they do work great. At 17.0 W/mK there was not much of anything better available. Might be now but I've not looked. I do know that 17.0 is a very high thermal conductivity rating for a thermal pad. I think the only thing that was higher at the time were the actual liquid metal type thermal compounds (which are also very electrically conductive and not easy to work with). Out of curiosity it looks like the newer graphite/carbon based pads are ever better now.
     
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  9. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Lol yes I read your post where you said you had to dig into that HP Wave and still only made 1/4 inch room:confused:
    That's tight! I'm glad it worked and is still working good.

    I went ahead and ordered the fujipoly heat pad. It's a long strip (cut to fit) and I ordered a set of Raspberry Pi hestsinks. (On daglesj recommendation) Do you think that will be sufficient? Even though my rig looks nice I don't mind zip trying if it extends the life of my SSD. Don't think my wife would be very agreeable if I suggested purchasing a new Samsung Evo lol.
    Those Pi hestsinks have adhesive on the bottom. Do you think that's ok? I'm going to be zipping the whole thing to my SSD and the adhesive will only be coming into contact with the fujipoly.
    I know if I remove the label, I remove my warranty but it's a fair trade off for significant temp reduction. Removing the label is necessary right?
     
  10. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Cooling the controller helps prevent thermal throttling, especially with sustained writes. Most SSD controllers are based on the ARM Cortex-R5 which can handle plenty of heat but they are usually designed to throttle in the 70-80C range. Cooling the NAND can be detrimental, however, depending on the usage. This is because NAND is easier to program/write when it's hotter but data retention is better when it's colder.
     
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  11. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Ok thank you. So just cool the controller and leave the NAND alone?

    By the way, I had an idea, my GTX 1070 sits right above my M.2 slot. The GPU rarely ever sees use. Even though my case has good air flow, do you think it would be effective if I run my GPU fans constantly? It should blow directly down onto the SSD.
     
  12. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Generally, yes, if you have otherwise good airflow you should focus on the controller. Technically a heatspreader can be beneficial because it will take heat from the controller to the NAND (for example) and also overcooling the controller can lead to it not throttling when it should (the NAND and DRAM still have their limits, you can cool the DRAM too if you want), however I don't consider those substantial issues usually. I just cool the controllers on my SM961, EX920, etc. with a copper ramsink, something you'd use on a Raspberry Pi for example (which is also ARM-based).

    If you threaded all my text there and want a more succinct statement: basically, most consumer usage won't be too trying on the drive so you can focus on aesthetics. However cooling the controller to prevent throttling with yield more consistent writes.
     
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  13. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Thank you for the advice. I'm going to cool the controller and see what results I have.
     
  14. MixManSC

    MixManSC ║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█ Staff Member

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    Personally - I would not use the Fujipoly on top of an adhesive strip. I'd wager that the fujipoly has a far higher thermal conductivity than the thermal adhesive on the heatsinks. Generally speaking, (I'm sure there are some rare exceptions) any sort of thermal adhesive or thermal paste that comes preinstalled on a heatsink is the cheapest crap they can get or the bare minimum at best. Additionally the label on top of any of the chips will dramatically reduce the thermal conductivity of anything you put on it to try and cool it. I'd think most anyone would recommend removing any sort of labels. If done with extreme care with a brand new razor blade a label can often be removed intact and carefully placed on a silicone backing to re-apply it to somethign else. Some types of labels do have tamper evident features built into the label or the adhesive though which generally cannot be removed without destroying the label.

    On the comments on over-cooling. That is actually true but it is also quite complicated. This sums it up pretty well... (taken from this article - https://www.eeweb.com/profile/eli-t...al-temperature-and-nand-flash-in-ssd-products)

    "NAND is subject to two competing factors relative to temperature. At high temperature, programming and erasing a NAND cell is relatively less stressful to its structure, but data retention of a NAND cell suffers. At low temperature, data retention of the NAND cell is enhanced but the relative stress to the cell structure due to program and erase operations increases."

    That being said as the controllers continue to advance they are implementing strategies in the controllers to mitigate these issues. Throttling being the most visible and obvious know effect. But they are also using methods of determining temperatures of the nand chips and adjusting the voltages to modify the cell temperatures to assure they are within their optimal margins during write operations. Where cooling and SSD too much might actually come into play is if were so cool that it actually is below the range that the controller can adjust to compensate. With the ambient temperatures of a typical home or even an office I very seriously doubt one would be able to make the controller or nand chips "too cool". Where this would likely ever be an issue would likely be in an industrial or some unusual setting like a system used in the cold storage freezer section of a massive warehouse or something.

    I'd think that in a typical home that the ambient temperatures are at that you would really have to be trying hard and taking some extreme measures to make your SSD so cold that it could have any sort of negative effect on it. Heat is the greater enemy in typical environments and is where the throttling comes into play.

    Me - I'd remove the adhesive from the heatsink. I'd remove the label from the SSD. I'd make sure both are clean without and adhesive residues and then I'd install the heatsinks with just the fujipoly strip. One thing that also has to be verified as well though is that often times the chips and other components on a board have differing heights. This is where using a single long flat heatsink can often be problematic and where a thicker (but less efficient) thermal pad can help but a single long heatsink cannot sit perfectly flat on both the nand chips and the controller chip if those are different heights. In that scenario, separate heatsinks can generally give the best result, other options would be individually placing two different thickness thermal pads, or an even thicker single thermal pad that can span the varying thicknesses. The latter would probably be the least efficient.

    If you have ever removed many factory heat sinks from video cards or other things you will likely have seen this issue dealt with in various ways using various different thickness thermal pads, the heat sink itself being machined with higher and lower spots specifically for contacting different chips, etc... Generally in mass produced things they settle on a compromise between the minimal heat transfer needed and costs with the latter playing a large part of that compromise.
     
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  15. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Thank you for the detailed advice. I am very grateful as it was exactly what I needed to hear.

    You spoke something that has been on my mind too. I wondered if the average user with heatsinks, thermal pads and or fans would ever be able to achieve the degree of cooling necessary to harm the NAND.

    So in regards to your advice, I shall remove (carefully) the sticker, remove the adhesive from the heatsinks and zip tie them to my SSD.

    Also, the chips on my SSD are, just as you said, varying heights. I ordered THIS fujipoly. It is 1 inch thick. Is that too thick?
    I think I will apply separate heatsinks.

    By the way HAPPY 4th of July to everyone at Hard Forums!

    Edit: oops I meant 1 millimeter thick :LOL:
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  16. MixManSC

    MixManSC ║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█ Staff Member

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    1mm thick.... 1 inch would be gigantic! lol - I know what you meant though. ;)

    I'd think that would be fine. 1mm is close to 1/32 of an inch which is pretty darn thin.

    All that being said - I'm not expert on any of this so don't take what I say as absolute gospel. Other also have great advise and of course using some common sense is always good too. So take heed to what other have also said and experienced. Best thing I can say it to be very very careful when working with a razor blade. One slip can either or both cut you or damage your SSD.
     
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  17. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Yes you are right, there seem to be a large number of very intelligent members here. Sometimes it's a little intimidating lol.

    I will definitely listen to and consider their advice. Again thank you for advising me.

    By the way, I'm not an expert when it comes to computers and technology as a whole but I've been tinkering with my gaming systems as far back as the NES. Taking them apart and repairing them. Also occasionally hacking some of them. Rooting my android phones and things like that. Replacing screens on my family laptops and one used Nintendo switch that was so beaten and battered I had to replace the digitizer, back plate and joycon shells.

    But I've always been fascinated with computers and the components that they are made of. It was only in 2017 when I built my dream gaming rig, that I really started to learn what makes them tick. It's the only pc I've ever built.
     
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  18. TheSlySyl

    TheSlySyl n00b

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  19. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    I use something like this or this with adhesive thermal tape on the drive controller.

    SSD controllers are ARM Cortex-R5 microcontrollers. Typically they're in the 300-500 Mhz range, for example Samsung's SATA SSD controllers have been dual- or tri-core from 400 MHz (850 EVO variants) to 500 MHz (860 EVO). Their NVMe controllers are similar - the UBX (950 Pro) was a tri-core R4 design at 500 MHz but the newer Polaris (960) and Phoenix (970) are penta-core R5 with the latter being higher-clocked. They throttle in the 70-80C range (with the upper-end being considered critical) although they can handle far higher temperatures of course. But the point is, these don't need ridiculous cooling if you have airflow. The DRAM for its part, since it's used for FTL and not as a write cache, generally does not get hot enough for concern, but you're free to put a small heatsink on it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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  20. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Thank you Maxx. I had left my PC powered off all week last week because I was worried about my SSD running hot.
    I am still waiting on my heatsinks to get here. Amazon says they will not be here until tomorrow. I'm gone all week through the week so it'll be next weekend before I can try it.

    In the meantime, this weekend, I tried running my Gpu fans at full speed to cool the SSD which is directly beneath it.
    When I first powered up, my SSD started out at 60c. Then after 2 minutes it rose to 67c. Next I activated the Gpu fans to 100% and it helped my SSD temperature to run at 57c. Then I tried it with the side panel off and it ran at 47c.
     
  21. TheSlySyl

    TheSlySyl n00b

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    Sadly, most of these won't fit under the videocard or other PCI-E add in cards, nor would they fit on the backside of the motherboard, which somewhat limits their viability with most motherboard layouts. My main NVME drive is sandwiched directly between the GPU and the motherboard on my case, for example.
    This location is also part of why I decided on those thin aluminum fins I mentioned in my post.
    Related: My GPU fans turn completely off when they're idle, and the temperature of my NVME SSDs are never worth worrying about during mostly idle use either.
     
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  22. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Good point. If you don't have the room beneath your graphics card or if it's on the back of the mobo, you just have to work with the space you have and buy a heatsink that will fit.

    I have an EATX mobo with 2 m.2 slots at the bottom of the board. I can land an aircraft on it. :LOL:
     
  23. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    I currently use a copper BGA ramsink on my EX920's controller and it's in the M.2 socket below my GTX 1080 on this board. So I guess it depends. There's nothing wrong with the thin, aluminum option, except that it cools the NAND.
     
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  24. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes, should of course measure first (twice, even), but I consider that obvious. Of course I didn't measure for my CPU cooler and took the word of the case and heatsink manufacturers that the height would fit... (it didn't, I have to cut a fan shroud)

    I more meant that you don't need any sort of drastic solution generally.
     
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  25. TheSlySyl

    TheSlySyl n00b

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    If the heat is adequately distributed among the heatsink, wouldn't it actually warm the NAND given how much heat the controller is putting off? I know that the full 15c isn't purely disappearing into the air considering how tiny the fins are. Maybe I'll see if I can laser thermometer it when I get home to see just how centralized the heat is...

    uj6rIy55cOW-qZFZBS2LHdcY7O37O3Cgz4B-c__CXQBpPteu4Cv0YWeOTKzxpREmj4sitEmlFTBqQSnP0u=w1250-h937-no.jpg
    This is an older picture of my setup, but the red finned aluminum coolers are covering my two nvme drives, you can see the one at the bottom which is super open and I could probably cool with a tower cooler if I wanted (lol.) However the "ULTRA FAST" nvme drive is that tiny thing sandwiched between the CPU cooler and the GTX 1070, I can't even access it without removing the GPU at this point.

    The next motherboard I'm looking at has a giant plate that covers all the nvme drives, I'm curious how that will actually function in practice, but it seems like a fucking pain in the ass if I ever want to add or remove an NVME drive...
     
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  26. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes, heatspreaders can warm the NAND, this is covered in a Gamers Nexus video with advice from Malventano (SSD reviewer) based on JEDEC (Intel data). Can check that out for specifics on the topic. As MixManSC states, NAND programs better with heat and retains data better with cold. JEDEC/Intel suggest specific temperatures for client (40C active, 30C idle) usage but as I said above it's not really an issue for consumers. You just want to cool the controller to prevent throttling for more consistent writes. Although that can also be outside the realm of consumer usage in some cases.

    Most motherboard M.2 shields are basically just slabs of aluminum with thermal padding, it's really for aesthetics more than anything. Your solution looks (and fits) better than mine and ultimately it should be practical. I just take a more...retro approach I guess, I use the same type of heatsinks on all sorts of things (RPis for example, MOSFETs, etc). So I tend to have the things sitting around. The DIYer should be able to make something work even if it's just direct airflow (fan).

    As for my EX920, it maxxed at 53C, it's not gonna overheat anyway. My SX8200s maxxed in the 40s. This is with 200GB of writes sustained, so yeah. Newer drives can hit higher speeds but you need fast sources. Which I will have on my X570 Aorus Master...but we'll see...testing in the near future.
     
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  27. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Yes sir, shouldn't have to get drastic.
    I noticed on my GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Windforce OC it has a fan control chip so even though I don't normally run the card I was able to use a program by MSI called afterburner to turn on the fan separately. I cranked it up to the max and (with the side panel off) my SSD ran 13 degrees cooler. With the panel on it only ran 3 degrees cooler.
    Wow! Your top M.2 drive IS in a tight place. Your bottom one has room to breathe.

    What type of CPU cooler do you have? Looks neat. Wow! Do you have 7 HDDs?

    I'm kinda easy to please, I like the more retro approach and more modern methods too. Even though, when I built my rig in 2017, I built it with as many high-end components as I could afford, I am in no way opposed to using DIY solutions to make it better or solve issues. Especially since my wife would be opposed to my sinking anymore money into it. :LOL:
     
  28. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well as an example there are a lot of SM961 drives on sale lately (OEM version of the MLC-based Samsung 960 Pro) - I have a thread here on the topic - and the heatsink typically used for the SM951/SM961 is this. So my point in this thread is that something like that is not only overkill but it could even be detrimental. That isn't usually the case with consumer drives but the SM961 (for example) is made for sustained/steady state workloads (I use it for server write caching) and in that scenario you don't generally want to be cooling the NAND. That drive specifically has two temperature sensors, one for NAND and one for the controller, and it likes the NAND at 50C (which is close to JEDEC's enterprise active temp ideal of 55C). So that cooler would help keep you from throttling - in fact, Chris Ramseyer (a fellow SSD enthusiast) tested it on Tom's Hardware - but it could induce more NAND wear in that kind of workload. But anyway...

    Go with what works! I just picked up a X570 Aorus Master for NVMe testing since that's my thing, I will definitely be testing all kinds of stuff incl. 4.0 drives and the chipset temp, including with adapters and bifurcation, the board comes with M.2 shields so using my own DIY solution will make it look ghetto as heck for a $360 board. But you know, I also got OEM HP RAM - CL19/2666 - that's Hynix CJR, which I got at CL16/3600, and they're green and ugly as sin...so naturally I put on copper heatsinks to make them even uglier (and you generally don't need/want heatsinks anyway, airflow is superior as it is on SSDs). tl;dr of that is, for consumer usage it's all about aesthetics, if you want to be practical you should tailor your solution to your workloads.
     
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  29. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Wow those SM961s, even for a 1TB is less than $200. My BPX 480GB was over 200 if memory serves. I will keep that in mind.

    Lol, your copper and green may not be very pretty but it's the performance that counts.

    Question, on my old PC, built in the mid 90s, Can't remember the exact processor but it was 2ghz. Nothing fancy. Had 1 case fan and a small heatsink fan. 250gb HDD. It ran daily, 24 hours per day and was still running strong when we retired it.

    With my powerful gaming rig built in 2017, besides the 480gb m.2 ssd, I have a 4tb a 3tb internal drive and an 8tb external drive. With that much storage space for video, games and photos, could that be a strain on My M.2 SSD? It normally stays powered on 24/7 also. Although it idles 90-95 percent of the time.
     
  30. TheSlySyl

    TheSlySyl n00b

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    https://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-814256001052-Macho-Rev-B/dp/B00PKJ21LW
    Cooler is a Thermalright Macho Rev B, performs within a few degrees of the beloved noctua d15 and it's roughly half the price. Huge fan of it. (Pun!)

    I have 6 HDDs and 2x nvme, also an external. I need more, sadly.
     
  31. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Oh yes it's definitely a great cooler if it gets close to noctua. I really like my d14 even though it's not the King anymore. Lol "huge fan of it!"

    Wow, I always used to think, once we reached storage capacities in TBs that I'd never need anything bigger but I've got 3 HDDs who between them, Total 15TBs and they are already half full :eek:
     
  32. TheSlySyl

    TheSlySyl n00b

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  33. honegod

    honegod [H]ardness Supreme

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    It sounds like a combo heatsink/heat spreader might be appropriate.
    Like a single slab of silver with fins skived on the bit over the controller with the part over the 'don't cool too much' bits finless.
     
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  34. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    The 1TB SM961 has been going for $149.99 (you can offer this on their eBay page for auto-acceptance).

    SSDs are fairly resilient otherwise.
     
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  35. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    That does sound like a good idea.

    Does anyone know, maybe Maxx or someone else, how much of an impact your amount of internal storage has on an M.2 NVME SSD?

    For instance, if you have 15tb that's available yet empty vs 15tb that's full.

    Any difference in stress and heat?
     
  36. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Malventano covers it here a bit at the end (trimming thermal pad).
     
  37. zombo

    zombo n00b

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    Good news guys.

    Finally got my heatsinks and fujipoly and I finally had time to add them to my SSD.

    The results were pleasantly surprising. Before, my temp would start at 60c and in a few minutes jump to 67 during idle.
    Now it stays between 33 & 39 at idle.

    Since I'm kind of inexperienced at this, I am not sure how to stress test it but I've noticed some sites use crystal disk mark in their testing so I ran that and throughout the test it never got hotter than 53c.

    One thing of note is my Gpu fans (3 of them) were at 100% (2100rpm) during idle and throughout the CDM testing.

    After that, I first decreased my Gpu fan speeds to 75% and it was still ok on temps so I dropped it down to 60%.
    For the last few hours it is idling at 45c.

    I ended up only applying one heatsink and that was on the phison 7 controller (as Maxx suggested)

    So thank you MixManSC, Maxx and everyone who shared your advice. I am thankful.
     
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