The first SSDs with PCIe 50 cannot do without heat

The first SSDs with PCIe 5.0 cannot do without heat sinks – they quickly overheat and switch off

Corsair MP700 PCIe 5.0 SSDs get very hot when used without additional cooling. Tests by Phoronix and TechPowerUp have shown what can happen if a consumer does not provide a cooling system for the Corsair MP700.

    Image source: TechPowerUp

Image source: TechPowerUp

resource Phoronix Problems with the operation of the SSD in the form of errors in the operating system appeared just three minutes after actively using the medium. TechPowerUp experienced the hard drive shutting down in less than two minutes due to overheating. Tom’s Hardware contacted Phison, whose controllers are used in these SSDs, for comment and responded as follows:

“After carefully reviewing the reports from TechPowerUp and Phoronix, Phison would like to acknowledge the issues encountered when testing products based on the new Phison PS5026-E26 controller. We take this issue seriously and will do our best to resolve it as soon as possible.

Our software engineers have already managed to isolate the problem and make the necessary adjustments to the thermal settings of the SSD. However, new firmware must go through a rigorous review process before our partners can make it available to their customers. Our partners will notify their users as soon as a validated update is available.

It’s important to note that all E26-based SSDs that come without a heatsink are actually designed to use a heatsink. Most motherboards that support PCIe 5.0 for SSDs come with standard heatsinks designed specifically for PCIe 5.0 drives. We offer bare drives as an option, so customers can decide for themselves which PCIe 5.0 cooling solution is available on the market.”.

It was known from the start that PCIe 5.0 drives get very hot when operated without active and passive cooling. Even Phison, whose E26 controller is used in almost all existing PCIe 5.0 drives, has previously stated that the new standard SSDs require the use of active cooling systems. So it’s quite understandable why the very first E26-based SSDs came with cooling. Most SSD manufacturers now also advertise their new products with active coolers or very large passive heat sinks.

The higher performance of a PCIe 5.0 SSD also means higher power consumption. The same Corsair MP700s have a typical power consumption of up to 10 watts. In other words, they operate within the maximum TDP of 11.55W set by JEDEC for this media of this standard. It is therefore not at all surprising that these SSDs overheat if you do not use a suitable cooling system with them or if the PC has a bad one ventilation.

In early testing, the Corsair MP700 was always used with a large cooling system. However, when the product was launched, the company decided to abandon this decision. Instead, the manufacturer recommends using standard M.2 heatsinks that ship with many motherboards that support PCIe 5.0 drives to cool these SSDs.

Phoronix notes that without the use of a passive heatsink their Corsair MP700 overheated and caused system errors even when installing test programs on a clean Ubuntu 23.04. And three minutes after the start of this or that test, the drive turned off completely. According to the monitoring utility HWMON, the temperature of the SSD reached around 87 degrees Celsius at this point. In comparison, Corsair has set the MP700’s maximum operating temperature limit at 70 degrees Celsius. According to the error log, the drive controller fails at this temperature, which leads to errors in the system.

The SSD tested by TechPowerUp turned itself off after 86 seconds from the start of the read test. And during the admission test, after 55 seconds, errors appeared in his work. In both cases, the SSD was no longer recognized by the Windows Hardware Manager. Only after restarting the PC was it possible to make the media functional again. Curiously, no data written to the media was lost in this case.

As mentioned above, Phison acknowledges that the issue is related to the firmware of said SSDs. Ultimately, the drive should go through a proper and controlled throttling process, but it doesn’t. It can be assumed that the temperature selected for throttling was too high. Reducing this indicator allows you to start the throttling process faster and prevent the SSD from entering protection mode and turning off in case of overheating. Phison is preparing a solution for this, but the new firmware must be tested carefully. The controller manufacturer has not specified when the new firmware will be available, but SSD manufacturers will inform their customers as soon as it is available.

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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