Question M.2 NVME Heatsink Thermal Pad Only Over Controller?

Nov 14, 2020
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So I recently purchased an EKWB heatsink for my 970 Evo Plus 500GB and read basically everywhere that the NAND on the drives prefer to be hotter while the controller wants it to be cooler. My question is, would it be ideal for me to just cut enough for the thermal pad to cover just the controller before placing the top of the heatsink? Also, I know that removing the sticker voids the warranty but should I remove it if I were to apply the thermal pad in this way?

Or should I just apply the thermal pad across it all as it seems to be intended by the designers?
 

Phaaze88

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I'm pretty sure you have the NAND and controller tidbit backwards. It's called the Phoenix controller for a reason...

May as well cover the whole thing... but, where is the M.2 being installed? The slot above the gpu? That's typically the worse place to install it in most situations.
If there are other M.2 mounting locations available, I'd suggest using those; the heatsink isn't needed at all in those areas.
 
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I'm pretty sure you have the NAND and controller tidbit backwards. It's called the Phoenix controller for a reason...

May as well cover the whole thing... but, where is the M.2 being installed? The slot above the gpu? That's typically the worse place to install it in most situations.
If there are other M.2 mounting locations available, I'd suggest using those; the heatsink isn't needed at all in those areas.
The M.2 is currently installed above the GPU and between the CPU, I'm pretty sure that's why my temps idle so high at around 50-63 though mostly in the higher ranges of that. There is a slot on the bottom right with a heatsink shroud provided by the motherboard itself and I thought about moving it there but I don't know if the speeds would be different. Would I have to shave the thermal pads off the provided heatsink, at least to cover only the controller of the M.2?
 

Phaaze88

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Well, what does the motherboard manual say about installing the M.2 in either slot? There's usually an asterisk or double asterisk note if compromises are being made.

There is a slot on the bottom right with a heatsink shroud provided by the motherboard itself...
Would I have to shave the thermal pads off the provided heatsink, at least to cover only the controller of the M.2?
In that scenario, no. There's no need to shave anything off there.
Slide the M.2 in there, pop and secure the provided heatsink on it, and it's good to go.


In systems with axial fan cooled gpus - they dump their waste heat inside the chassis, and the top M.2 slot is right in the path of that heat, so it running hot there is a given.
 
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Well, what does the motherboard manual say about installing the M.2 in either slot? There's usually an asterisk or double asterisk note if compromises are being made.


In that scenario, no. There's no need to shave anything off there.
Slide the M.2 in there, pop and secure the provided heatsink on it, and it's good to go.


In systems with axial fan cooled gpus - they dump their waste heat inside the chassis, and the top M.2 slot is right in the path of that heat, so it running hot there is a given.
I can't seem to find anything on compromises. If it helps, I'm using the Asus Prime x570-Pro with a Ryzen 5 3600x. Maybe you'd be able to find something I can't?

In any case, I wouldn't have to remove the warranty sticker from the M.2 would I? I would much prefer not to in case I need to use said warranty. If I remember correctly, I'd probably also have to fix the boot settings within bios afterwards?
 

Phaaze88

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Asus Prime x570-Pro
Let's see...
Page 1-21
• For 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors, the M.2_1 socket supports PCIe 4.0 x4 mode and SATA mode M Key design and type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices.
• For 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™/2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics Processors, the M.2_1 socket supports PCIe 3.0 x4 mode and SATA mode M Key design and type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices.
• The M.2_2 socket supports PCIe 4.0 x4 mode and SATA mode M Key design and type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices.

Both slots support PCIe 4.0, so no issues there.

In any case, I wouldn't have to remove the warranty sticker from the M.2 would I? I would much prefer not to in case I need to use said warranty. If I remember correctly, I'd probably also have to fix the boot settings within bios afterwards?
1)No.
2)Depends on current settings; whether running Legacy or Windows UEFI boot mode.
 
Nov 14, 2020
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Let's see...
Page 1-21
• For 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors, the M.2_1 socket supports PCIe 4.0 x4 mode and SATA mode M Key design and type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices.
• For 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™/2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics Processors, the M.2_1 socket supports PCIe 3.0 x4 mode and SATA mode M Key design and type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices.
• The M.2_2 socket supports PCIe 4.0 x4 mode and SATA mode M Key design and type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices.

Both slots support PCIe 4.0, so no issues there.


1)No.
2)Depends on current settings; whether running Legacy or Windows UEFI boot mode.
For further clarification, since I know that sometimes using an M.2 slot can disable some SATA ports, no ports would be blocked off yes?

I have no clue what the difference between the two is, I apologize. But I figured out how to check and it is UEFI.
 

Phaaze88

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For further clarification, since I know that sometimes using an M.2 slot can disable some SATA ports, no ports would be blocked off yes?
On this particular motherboard, there was no such designation.

I have no clue what the difference between the two is, I apologize. But I figured out how to check and it is UEFI.
That was something I recently had to look up myself.
It apparently sports better security than Legacy, and it supports storage drives larger than 2TB.
I had been on Legacy mode for the longest; it was my mobo's default boot mode, and as I said, I didn't know the difference between the 2, nor did I bother to find out until recently.
 
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On this particular motherboard, there was no such designation.


That was something I recently had to look up myself.
It apparently sports better security than Legacy, and it supports storage drives larger than 2TB.
I had been on Legacy mode for the longest; it was my mobo's default boot mode, and as I said, I didn't know the difference between the 2, nor did I bother to find out until recently.
Well, that just means more knowledge for the both of us. I'm quite glad I don't have to move any Sata drives around but I take it I still have to re-select the boot drive since I'll be moving the slot. Hopefully it doesn't get chilled too much since it does sit in front of the fan, I would like to be able to use it for the next few years comfortably.

One more question though, what is the difference between SATA and PCIe in terms of storage drives? I never knew the difference and what it would do for the M.2 since it can run either or.
 

Phaaze88

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View: https://imgur.com/txhPbhe

This is an older pic, but... see that white/silver 'lip' just below the Kraken G12? My 970 Pro sits just under that.
It has been running just fine according to Samsung Magician.

It's more of a indirect cooling scenario than a direct one; the gpu's fans pull heat away from it.

One more question though, what is the difference between SATA and PCIe in terms of storage drives? I never knew the difference and what it would do for the M.2 since it can run either or.
Next to none.
PCIe starts to leave SATA in the dust only in scenarios when transferring large packs of data from one SSD to another. There aren't too many use cases for that currently.
So for most users it's better to go with whichever device has the better price at the time.
 
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View: https://imgur.com/txhPbhe

This is an older pic, but... see that white/silver 'lip' just below the Kraken G12? My 970 Pro sits just under that.
It has been running just fine according to Samsung Magician.

It's more of a indirect cooling scenario than a direct one; the gpu's fans pull heat away from it.


Next to none.
PCIe starts to leave SATA in the dust only in scenarios when transferring large packs of data from one SSD to another. There aren't too many use cases for that currently.
So for most users it's better to go with whichever device has the better price at the time.
View: https://imgur.com/txhPbhe

This is an older pic, but... see that white/silver 'lip' just below the Kraken G12? My 970 Pro sits just under that.
It has been running just fine according to Samsung Magician.

It's more of a indirect cooling scenario than a direct one; the gpu's fans pull heat away from it.


Next to none.
PCIe starts to leave SATA in the dust only in scenarios when transferring large packs of data from one SSD to another. There aren't too many use cases for that currently.
So for most users it's better to go with whichever device has the better price at the time.
My eyes must be playing tricks on me because I see a silver plate but no 970. I'll take your word for it however. My worry now is since I have two fans pulling air in through the front (I have a Meshify C case) while the M.2 would sit right behind it, it'd be cooled too much which would damage the life expectancy? I'm probably overthinking it but I would rather not have to replace my drives sooner rather than later.

And I see. Thank you for enlightening me on that. I suppose I'll just let the PC decide, lol.
 
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It's under that plate.

You're likely overthinking it. I'm also using a mesh airflow chassis; Cooler Master H500P Mesh.
Well. I'm going to go swap and check the thermals after the fact. Will reply when able. Fingers crossed everything goes well and results are as intended. Thank you very much for the help!
 
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Nov 14, 2020
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Well, booting didn't seem to be an issue though I forgot to plug in my DisplayPort monitor all the way in so I had to turn my head 90 degrees to navigate through the bios. Didn't have to change the boot order? Seems the M.2 was the only drive it saw for boot(?) or does it only recognize the drive with an OS to boot off of. Anyways, seems to have worked in lowering the temperature to a comfortable point. It was 45 when I first started this post and is now just sitting around 50 rather than around the high 50s and low 60s. I guess this is a win?
 
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1)That's the only drive Windows UEFI needs. The other drives will be there when you open File Explorer.

2)Win.
Once again, thank you so much for the reply and the help! I guess I should probably either ship the heatsink I purchased back or just hold onto it in case I decide to purchase another M.2 just for storage which I may do down the line. It's sitting at 51 right now so as long as it doesn't go back to sitting around 56-63, I think I'm good.
 

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