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An M2 SSD Card is smaller than its predecessors. You can mistake it for RAM at first glance due to its size. However, these portable drivers are known to be more expensive than the original 2.5 inch SSD. It might be small, but it can do greater things than the heavy hard drive such as faster performance.
Because of its small size, the M.2 SSD requires cooling since it uses a lot of power due to its high-performance features. Because of this, a heatsink is oftentimes required when operating the M.2 SSD card.
Therefore, a M.2 card is more sensitive. I will explain the reason M.2 SSDs overheat quickly, as well as the best tips on how to take care of them. For sure you will also become more attentive to your computer once you learn how to cool your M.2 SSD.
After all, permanent damage is what I always want to avoid when teaching how to maintain a computer.
The body of an M.2 SSD is almost as small as a RAM]. It powers up at a higher rate than SSDs despite the similarity to the build and internal parts of the two devices.
Since a M.2 SSD is smaller than its predecessor, along with being small, heat is easily distributed throughout the device as it works for hours. This quickly causes the card to overheat faster than hard drives.
When I first bought an M.2 SSD as an upgrade for my old SSD, I almost got the device damaged after a week of using it without reconsidering the setup of my unit’s airflow.
I noticed the lack of cooling when my M.2 SSD suddenly slowed down more than a week after neglecting it.
Because of this, I researched thoroughly until I could prevent the damage, plus make my computer’s airflow more optimized than before. Today, I will share everything I learned from that harsh lesson that I realized when handling this sensitive device.
The M.2 SSD is known to easily overheat. Some even say that it can overheat faster than the classic hard drive if the enclosure lacks proper airflow. Some may say that different factors cause this device to easily overheat.
To make it easier for you to understand, I enumerated the known reasons why the M.2 SSD overheats. The following reasons are all based on my experience, and what people I know shared with me when they had an issue setting up their own M.2 SSD.
Here are the different reasons an M.2 SSD overheats, as well as ways to resolve the issues:
It is dangerous to operate a computer that is an M.2 SSD, especially those with high-performance devices if it is inside a room with hot temperature or poor ventilation.
It is a well-known fact that computers should be set up in a room with cool temperature, or at least good airflow.
It is also not wise to place your computer in a narrow space just because you have a good airflow inside your unit.
Using fans is an excellent choice, but installing an air conditioning system inside your room is what most usually recommend. In that way, the M.2 SSD’s temperature will become stable at all times, preventing permanent damage.
As much as possible, avoid any dirt and dust from building up inside the enclosure of your computer. If you’re using a laptop, consider cleaning the sides to prevent the M.2 SSD to heat up.
Never neglect any dust or dirt in your unit because it might get stuck in some of your computer parts, which can also cause further damage.
Your M.2 SSD will easily overheat if there is too much dirt and dust buildup, particularly along with the fans or heatsink of your computer.
Other junk that might have gotten inside the enclosure should be removed since dirt, dust and any obstruction can disrupt the airflow that prevents heat from getting trapped in the enclosure.
All you have to do is clean the whole unit twice a year to prevent dust and dirt buildup. Check the fans for signs of any dust that is building up at least once a month to ensure excellent cleanliness to your computer.
Treat your computer like a pet that you invested a lot of money just to keep it from getting sick.
This is the harsh lesson that I was talking about when I noticed that my M.2 SSD was heating up quickly after a week of using it for several hours each day. I did not notice it until 7 days after I got the M2 SSD when it started booting by files really slow.
The position of your M.2 SSD might be the root cause of the overheating issue. This is what commonly happens even if you are fully aware that you have properly installed everything for the sake of cooling your unit.
Take note that the position has nothing to do with the airflow; the nearby devices are what you should be careful of.
The CPU and GPU are the top devices that generate the most heat when the computer operates. That is why exhaust fans are built or must be installed around them to stabilize their temperature.
If your M.2 SSD card happens to be positioned near these devices, expect the card to overheat faster even if fans are installed near it.
If this is the case in your unit, it’s best to reposition some of your computer parts. As much as possible, distance the card away from the GPU and the CPU so then the heat won’t get distributed around the casing of the M.2 SSD.
The card itself already generates heat due to the power that it uses to give you faster loading time.
It is best to understand the following main causes who your M.2 SSD might overheat. This time, you will learn the importance of installing a heatsink if you wish to maintain your M.2 SSD for a very long time.
Since M.2 SSDs are too prone to overheat, a heatsink is recommended to be purchased along with the card. Expect that you will spend a lot on both devices. But rest assure, your investment will all be worth it if you wish to maximize the performance of your computer.
A heatsink works exactly like its kitchen versions. But instead of water, it filters out the heat away from the hottest computer parts running inside your enclosure. Couple this with an exhaust fan, and you will never have to deal with sudden replacements ever again.
The steps on how to set up the hea sink vary by make and model. It is also best to seek expert opinion in handling this very delicate equipment. But as far as experience goes, here are some basic steps to get you started:
1. Apply thermal compound to your CPU.
2. Use the holes on your motherboard to correctly align the fan and the heatsink.
3. At this point, you can consider changing the position of your M.2 SSD if you want it to get the most out of the cooling capabilities of your heatsink.
4. Install the combined fan and heatsink to the CPU, be sure to tightly install them.
5. Connect the equipment to your CPU to get started.
6. Check if the CPU is securely plugged into the mother board’s socket. Once done, apply the thermal paste and test out your heatsink.
Note: Do not forget to thoroughly read the manufacturer’s manual if you need to learn more about the proper setup of your heatsink once you receive it. The steps I gave you are just the basics of handling a heatsink during installation. These are all based on the common steps done when installing a heatsink in computers.
The actual steps of the heatsink you purchased might be different depending on the contents of the manual. Take note that any error in setting up the heatsink can cause damage to your computer, which will cost you even more than just your M.2 SSD.
Aside from using the heatsink to cool down your M.2 SSD, here are some tips that I often teach to my clients when setting up their units:
If you cannot afford a heatsink in the meantime, you can just use the classic way of maximizing the airflow of your enclosure. All you need are more than 2 exhaust fans to get started. You may install the fans near your M.2 SSD for it to completely blow away the heat produced by the card.
Make sure that you regularly check the fans every week for any dust buildup to prevent the heat from getting trapped. Also, do not settle for the cheaper fans that might get bused after a few months, causing you to do needless replacements.
You are using an M.2 SSD already, meaning that you should never settle for cheap parts that may affect its performance. Even so, look for the most cost-efficient prices in the market to save a few bucks.
I often save more than a hundred dollars simply by comparing prices in the market by store, device make, and model.
Once you have the right equipment, be sure to install each part properly. When installing the M.2 SSD, be sure to put it away from the devices that produce the most heat.
Since the card easily heats up, it should be placed in a well-ventilated area of your unit’s enclosure.
Lastly, you should consider a room with a cool temperature. Apply an air conditioning system when needed, or if you are going to operate a group of computers that have the M.2 SSD installed.
The M.2 SSD compared to its predecessors if you keep it cool:
Since M.2 SSD cards cost a lot; preventing them from getting damaged because of overheating can save you hundreds of dollars.
If you also have business files in your SSD, then that means you can save a greater deal of money because you get to protect them from harm.
The M.2 SSD is already known to perform very fast. But to keep its speed consistent, you need to properly maintain it and prevent it from heating.
Much like the CPU, it also shuts off a part of it to slow down its performance, which prevents it from heating further once the temperature rises.
The M.2 SSD is the hardest to cool compared to its predecessors. It is also the most expensive to cool because the heatsink is oftentimes required when using this card. But expect high performance out of your computer once you follow all these tips!