Heatsinks for M.2 NVME drives

So, I have a “Samsung SSD 960 EVO 250GB” as my boot drive in one of my TrueNAS SCALE systems.

I’m not sure why, but after upgrading to scale it started reporting as being very hot… 70-80C.

I think actually it just started reporting :wink:

Anyway, I did some searching, and it turns out that this SSD is fairly famous for its controller running hot, and I also checked the datasheet, and it turns out that its operational temperature is not supposed to exceed 70C… and its supposed to have an integrated copper heat spreader label

And various threads talk about it throttling above 70C.

ANYWAY, I couldn’t get the SSD to run below 70C without cranking the fans in my little home nas to objectionable levels…

So I decided to purchase a heatsink for it :slight_smile:

Just a small cheap one… only 3mm high

As part of installing it I found that the “copper heat spreader label” on the samsung appears to have been cost-downed, and now its just a label. Which probably explains why the flash chips don’t get hot, but the controller does…

ANYWAY2, with the heatsink installed, the controller now runs at 30-40C with the fans at their regular speed.

A happy ending, and shows just a little heatsink with minimal airflow is all it really takes, but also, heatsinks are important for modern M.2 drives… and with all the gamer grade motherboards coming with m.2 coolers, don’t be surprised that the manufacturers are no longer including thermal solutions.


Every little bit helps keep the machine around longer and more reliable. Great result.

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PCIe 3.0 needing an aftermarket heatsink? You must be slamming crazy that drive baby!



Just a scale boot drive.

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I put a copper heatsink on my SLOG (P4801x) for the same reason.

My CPU cooler is even weirder - I have a side-mounted funnel + 120mm Noctua fan that bathes the CPU heat sink with outside air. The funnel terminates about 1/2" from the CPU heat sink, which also has a separate blower. The CPU never goes more than 15*C over ambient.

Now the hottest items in my rig are the HDDs as they get qualified in a 3x HDD hot swap array mounted in the two 5.25" bays of my tower. Despite featuring a dedicated blower, those drives are 10*C warmer than the drives further down in my Lian Li case. Likely has to do with much better airflow down there.

My p4801x is in a PCIe carrier card with a good heatsink so never noticed :slight_smile:


A SLOG I totally understand due to the intense workloads, but… a boot drive?

Anyway @Stux, the heatsink looks sick!


Yes, a boot drive :stuck_out_tongue:

I know right.

But the key is Samsung 960 Evo.

You got yourself a hot girl there.


I have come to accept that all m.2 form-factor drives should use a heatsink by default.

Sadly, the crammed nature of some motherboards + GPUs and CPU coolers can prevent you from installing a heatsink. (I should know…) :confused:

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I have found that NVMe drives get hot seemly based on the interface speed (Gen 1,2,3,4,5). It seems like Gen3 and below are fine without a heatsink (kind of like USB 3.x get hot, 2.x are cool), however Gen 4 absolutely needs a heatsink, and I have zero experience with Gen 5 but I’ll bet it requires a heatsink as well. Even with my Gen 4 and with a heatsink, I have to make a slight case modification to add a slow air moving fan just to remove a little be of that heat. Air flow is a must.

When it comes to TrueNAS, I personally do not think anything faster than a Gen 3 is required, however whatever has the best sale price is often the winner of my money. If heat is a concern, plan it before you buy.

@Stux Nice low profile heatsink, loved the image depicting Ice :snowflake:


Welcome to the new forums joe!

Thanks, Took me a while, been very busy at work this past several weeks.

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So, as a bit of an addendum to this

My fans kept on kicking in periodically, and then the DragonFish swap issues came to light.

I disabled swap… fans stopped… and haven’t kicked in since.

Seems the hot drive was due to a continuous stream of swap writes even with memory free.

This is fixed in the current nightlies I believe.

Still. The heatsink is good :slight_smile:

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