In a bit of offbeat news this afternoon, SilverStone has announced a set of thermal pads for M.2 SSDs, the SST-TP01-M.2. These pads are designed to eliminate (or at least reduce) throttling of modern, high-performance drives under high loads. The pads are made of silicone and Silverstone claims they can reduce temperature of SSDs by over 10°C.

M.2 SSDs have a number of advantages over drives in traditional 2.5” form-factor: they are smaller, they are faster (because they use the PCIe interface with the NVMe protocol), they are (sometimes) cheaper to make, and so on. However, one of the main drawbacks of higher-end M.2 SSDs is the high heat dissipation of their controllers (and memory chips) despite their small form factor, which can lead to thermal throttling and reduced overall performance. Manufacturers have been aware of this for a bit now and have been addressing it in a couple of different ways. Plextor, for example, installs aluminum heat spreaders on their M8Pe drives, whereas Samsung’s latest HDDs come with other types of heat spreaders. However since not all SSD suppliers equip their products with sufficient cooling, SilverStone has developed an aftermarket thermal pad that should work with most drives.

The SilverStone SST-TP01-M.2 thermal pads are made of electrically non-conductive silicone – a material that offers decent thermal conductivity (up to 4 W/m.k) – and can fit M.2 drives that are up to 110 mm long. The SST-TP01-M.2 package includes both 0.5 mm and 1.5 mm thick pads for accommodating different setups.

According to SilverStone, usage of the thermal pads can reduce temperature of Samsung’s SM951 SSDs from 86°C to 71.4°C under high loads, thus ensuring they operate at peak performance more often. The actual performance of SilverSone’s thermal pads will heavily depend on the SSD and the surrounding system – the heat still needs to go somewhere – but there's some potential here as silicone heatpads are by no means a new thing in PC hardware and have proven themselves to be useful.

SilverStone has already started to produce its M.2 thermal pads, and in Japan stores in the famous Akihabara district are already demonstrating them. Unfortunately, pricing has not yet been announced. But M.2 SSD owners who suffer from thermal throttling of M.2 SSDs will want to keep an eye on this.

Source: SilverStone

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  • Vatharian - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    Literally one M.2 SSD (951 and 950 are virtually the same) suffers from throttling, and whole new class of products are shipped. Way to go. I have 950 Pro, and I haven't, and I will never notice the throttling, since I am not sitting with my nose in the benchmarks. I have work to do. Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    The Samsung 950 pro is not at all unique in its thermal behavior. It's certainly not the hottest M.2 NVMe SSD and it is not the most susceptible to thermal throttling. ALL of the M.2 NVMe SSDs I've tested so far hit a thermal limit during at least one of the synthetic benchmarks. None of them throttle during ordinary desktop usage. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    Like many others, I find the claims pretty dubious, though I'm inclined to trust SilverStone moreso than a lot of other companies that would make the same claim. It does look a lot like any other space-filling thermal pad that I've seen used in laptops in various places. Is AT planning any kind of testing for this thing? Reply
  • vladx - Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - link

    Indeed I would also be interested in that. Care to comment on that, @Billy Tallis? Reply
  • Laststop311 - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    Highly skeptical of this product. A thermal pad does no good if the pad is not connected to a heat sink to allow the heat to be dissipated. Maybe if they were double sided adhesive thermal pads that allowed you to pop on copper heatsinks above the highest heat producing parts and give it IC a little more surface area to dissipate heat.

    The proper solution is for companies to design custom heat sinks for all their fast nvme drives. Put a little R and D into it and find the absolute coolest design and go with that, preferably made from nickel plated copper.
    Reply
  • Arbie - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    "Launching" a small strip of plastic? A little more perspective, please. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    86 or 71° after fix should not be permitted. How hard is to simply offer the m.2 with a low profile heatsink?

    It's like you're running a really low power gpu with no cooling at all.
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    So m.2 ssd's add another huge source of heat to your pc... Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    Is "huge source of heat" sarcasm? NVMe SSDs use more power and thus generate more heat than SATA SSDs and focus that heat in a smaller area, but even at peak workloads I don't think they'd be something you could consider a huge source of heat. Compared to a even a low budget GTX 1050 or even a mobile CPU, they're still generating a much smaller amount of heat. Reply
  • HomeworldFound - Friday, February 24, 2017 - link

    I wonder how worthwhile all of this is. If you have a dedicated graphics card or even two, surely they create the turbulence and airflow to remove the heat away from the M.2 area anyway. Add a few case fans, a PSU fan and a radiator or some kind.. is it even that much to worry about? Reply

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