Question NVMe M.2 SSD laptop cooling upgrade options?

Jun 17, 2020
I have a Dell Latitude 5501 (bought March 2020) which has an NVMe M.2 SSD. For the last week or so my laptop fan has been running more often than usual, and I've suspected the SSD as the culprit. The SSD temperature usually hovers around 55C (SpeedFan). It doesn't help that the fan is annoyingly responsive, turning on and off several times as it hovers around a threshold, but that's a different matter...

When I first got the laptop I replaced the SSD with another, but it was faulty, so I went back to the stock one. That was in March 2020.

Last night I took the back off the laptop and poked at the SSD a little. The next morning, after being on and idle for a few hours, my laptop was repondingly extremely sluggishly. After a reboot I found the SSD temperature (reported by SpeedFan) was around 70C. I shut down the laptop, took the back off, had another look at the SSD and realised that what I thought was just a black plastic cover is actually a heatsink (seems to be a flat sheet of metal under a plastic or possibly magnesium cover). I reseated it - there's a blue pad which is not particularly sticky which I probably loosened last night - and everything seems okay so far, but still the fan is running more than I'd like so I was wondering if I could do anything to improve heat transfer.

The SSD position can be seen on this page:

There is a label on the chip side of the SSD (which faces towards the case, away from the motherboard). I'm not sure if this has any thermal properties, e.g. copper strip.

Should I try adding some (non-conductive) thermal paste between the SSD and the heatsink pad to improve transfer? Or replace the heatsink entirely, possibly for a slim finned one? Or could I try adding a heat conductive pad UNDER the SSD (that side has no chips) so heat can transfer to the motherboard? Or even something that could conduct heat from the top of the heatsink to the case?

Any other suggestions?


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