Are SSD Heatsinks worth it or a waste?

So I’m just curious, I’ve seen other people ask about it but I am not entirely sure: are there Heatsinks for Gen4 SSDs and are they worth it? Like if my games start slowing down and I notice my CPU speed slows down, getting a Heatsink for my SSD wouldn’t help with that, right? Sorry if this is a relatively simple question, just trying to figure out…

nvme heatsinks do exist and are highly recommended. usually you’ll get one with the ssd or there’ll be one provided with the motherboard. not sure in framework’s case

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The issue with the Framework laptop is two fold: there’s no space and there’s little airflow.

You can fit a copper sheet which would act like a heatspeader, wicking heat away from very small, hot areas and dissipating it throughout. It might provide some benefit but it’s not really much of a heatsink.

Apparently this fits:

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There should be consideration regarding space as the NVMe is mounted under the keyboard.

Referring to the DIY guide (as I have two Framework laptops - both the 11th and 12 th gen), it is shown no heat sink is used. Link is here: Framework Laptop DIY Edition Quick Start Guide - Framework Guides

The original 11th unit that I order from Framework came with a NVMe unit without the heatsink. I do not use heat sinks on my two laptops that I ordered (11th and 12th DIY models).

As I do not see any other information within this post, I cannot give any suggestions to why you experience this issue.

This could be game issue due Windows (and it’s software updates ), number of CPU cores, and/or the graphics in relation to the games requirements or it’s needs based on the game settings. Generally speaking the graphics card has in the laptop is part of the CPU. The 11th gen vs 12th gen have different performance experiences, but these default Intel graphics are limited if the game is trying to use higher quality graphics . There are GPU enclosures that can improve any performance issue due to graphics.

Hope the post helps…

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@Peter_Schofield Gotcha, thanks!

@Fraoch I think I get it, so if there was more air circulation it would be a lot more recommendable for the Framework? I guess I ask because I noticed recently that a laptop I was looking at prior to the Framework had a SSD Heatsink like the one you posted, and… Oh I got mistaken and thought the Steam Deck used one as well but it turns out it was just a Anti-Static shielding… Thanks for the explanation!

@Patrick_Corey Gotcha, thank you very much for that explanation! That’s what I was figuring, so I just wanted to confirm that, thanks!

@SlashFuture, you are welcome.

While I use an Linux operating system, I noticed a big difference in playing games using Steam using my 12th gen (vs the 11th gen). I play mostly solo games (such as Cities Skylines). The game would have issues after hours of playing (before I switched to the 12th gen laptop for playing this game).

For me as I got the higher performing CPU in each model, my upgrade to the 12th gen increased the cores from 8 to 20 (yes there are performance and efficiency cores with the 12th gen Intel CPU).

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It would help, but it would still be limited.

Heatsinks work by transferring heat to the air. You can only transfer so much heat per unit surface area though. This is why heatsinks have fins, to increase surface area for heat transfer.

There’s not enough space for fins on a heatsink on an M.2 drive inside a Framework laptop, so you have to use a plain copper sheet like the one I posted. This has very limited surface area. Air circulation would help since it removes heat by convection, but without a high surface area, it only goes so far. The copper sheet provides some thermal mass, but once that thin sheet “soaks up” the heat, it can only dissipate it slowly.

It’s better than nothing, but nowhere near a finned heatsink in a vented desktop case.

It works here because the heat gets produced in a small area, the controller, and gets taken up and radiates away. If it were one big heated surface it wouldn’t do much at all.


@Fraoch Okay, I think I’m starting to understand now, thank you very much for explaining it to me! It’s probably not worth it in my case then… Thank you very much again!

@Patrick_Corey Gotcha, I’ll have to look into that… Thank you!

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@SlashFuture To provide even greater context, since I actually use one. There are basically 2 components on an SSD that matter for performance, the NAND flash dies themselves and the controller. The flash actually prefers warmer temps (around 80C iirc) but the controller, like any CPU prefers cooler temps. Different SSDs will have different controllers, some companies create their own SSD controllers, like Samsung, WD, and SK Hynix. Others will grab a controller design from Phison for instance and use that. Some SSDs run hot, like WD drives do at the moment. The controller will work more if you do large file transfers so if you see yourself using the SSD regularly, then it is more likely the controller will get hot and slow data transfer as it throttles its own performance. If all you are doing is gaming, then it won’t matter too much…for now. Once DirectStorage becomes ubiquitous and drives start sending large chunks of asset data to the GPU directly, then I expect SSD performance to matter more. I don’t plan on upgrading often so it was worth it to me to purchase the inexpensive copper shim and put it on an already cool/efficient SSD. It isn’t at all necessary but I like the peace of mind. It won’t affect boot times since the SSD will be cold at boot and the shim will do nothing there. Random I/O requests shouldn’t heat the SSD enough to matter.

TL;DR - Buy an efficient or known cool-running drive and the extra cooling will largely be unnecessary. Doesn’t hurt anything if you have one though. For your games slowing down and CPU temps, get a Honeywell Thermal pad. They aren’t expensive and will last a long time. That’s the most you can do. That an eGPU but that’s a whole 'nother range of expense.


@GhostLegion Gotcha, yeah I was wondering if it was the controller on the SSD that may have been the issue, but it sounds like it’s most likely the CPU then, so thanks for helping clarify that! Yeah I know Direct storage is still rolling out, but definitely not something to upgrade for yet… If I decide to upgrade my SSD I’ll definitely consider those features, and I’m starting to learn that the CPU part for gaming is fine, but yeah the only real way for the GPU to get better is a eGPU, so I’ll have to look into that for the future… Thank you very much for the help, much appreciated!

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I own one, it’s expensive and on top of that, I’ll likely be forced to upgrade the whole enclosure plus my mobo once TB5 rolls out. So it is not for the faint of heart. Having said that. I fucking love it. I’d love it even more if I had a high-end display.

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@GhostLegion Heh yeah I’ve tried pricing one out for myself and it comes close to the price of a new motherboard lol…I didn’t realize you would have to upgrade with a new TB version though, so that’s interesting… Yeah it must be nice to use with a good resolution display, with a good monitor… or it would kinda be interesting if Framework came out with a Higher Resolution display…(If it’s possible… I don’t know much about displays to be completely honest)

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You do…and you don’t. You can use old TB equipment with newer and vice versa but as you might expect, it’s limted by the slowest component in the chain. Just upgrading the mobo or the enclosure would be the same as doing nothing. You need to upgrade both to get the doubling of bandwidth.

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@GhostLegion Ah I see, yeah if you are paying good money for your setup you want to make sure it runs the best it can… I didn’t realize that the Enclosures update the ThunderBolt Version with each newer one, so that’s good to know…

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I just slapped a full length thermal pad to the top of the SSD and that was that. It makes contact to the keyboard as it has to be gently pulled to free it from the pad.

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Yes and no.

Unless you do large amounts of I/O, you will likely never overheat your drive controller and therefore won’t see it throttling. As mentioned above only the controller benefits from cooling while active, the flash chips want to be warm while in use and cool before power down. See here for more info The Truth About SSD Data Retention.

It could be argued that spreading the heat from the controller to the flash chips is beneficial (warming the flash while cooling the controller) I would just ignore thermals completely.

Despite above advice I have used a few old ram chip thermal pads (1.5mm thick) on top of my SSD and it sinks heat into the top cover below the “B” key. This cools the controller only and I never throttle even in synthetic tests.

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Just to underline this statement:
I’ve cloned my old NVME to the new one, so I copied 1TB of data within 1000 seconds (around 960-980MB/s) and the drive became hot, but not hot enough to throttle.