SSD coolers will become new norm as Phison says future drives will get hot

I hadn’t given much thought to the idea of ​​an all-in-one cooler that features both CPU and SSD cooling before today, but now it’s all starting to make a little more sense. Phison CTO Sebastien Jean said that with SSD controllers and chips getting hotter and hotter as performance improves, heat output will also increase. Thus, requiring more robust cooling solutions.

“As speed continues to increase with each new generation, our challenge is to manage heat. With Gen4, sometimes people need a cooler, sometimes it’s okay with a sheet metal label. has enough airflow, that’s fine,” Jean tells MSI Insider and StorageReview.

“…I would expect to see heatsinks for Gen5,” he continues. “But eventually, we’re going to need a fan that also pushes air over the heatsink.”

My condolences to all passive PC fans.

In a blog post (via Tom’s Hardware), Phison describes the measures needed to keep modern SSDs cooland how heat management has become critical to performance.

“For every additional GB/s of speed, an SSD also requires approximately one more watt of power,” he says, quoting Jean.

“We’re trying to maintain roughly the same power envelope as a 7GB/s SSD as we scale up to 14GB/s by making a lot of other changes.”

Power means wasted heat, so trying to minimize extra power consumption will be critical to keeping SSDs cool. O best SSDs for games at the moment they don’t necessarily require specific thermal solutions, but even then they often come with heat sinks or require adequate case fan cooling to stay on the cooler side.

If power demands increase, and it looks like that could happen soon, what that means in terms of SSD build is potentially larger heatsinks, even more focus on motherboard-based SSD cooling and active cooling solutions, which will include those with fans or even liquid cooling.

TeamGroup recently announced a all-in-one liquid cooler which connects to CPU and SSD for proper cooling of each. At the time, I didn’t really see the appeal, as my PCIe 3.0 SSDs rarely get into the thermal danger zone for very long, but it seems like this might happen more often as SSD performance improves.

And what is the thermal danger zone? Phison says that 0–70/80°C is probably the limit of where you want your NAND chips to stay for a long time, although a more favorable temperature is between 25–50°C.

“As the heat increases, the data retention on the NAND decreases.”

The actual SSD controller itself, the bit Phison is famous for, can run much hotter, but it turns out that NAND is not. That means you might see lower throughput with a hot SSD. So if you’re about to significantly increase bandwidth on an SSD using PCIe 5.0 or the upcoming PCIe 6.0 – at 32GT/s and 64GT/s per lane, respectively – you might want to think twice before cooling it down properly.

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