M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

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BrianF
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M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by BrianF » Sun May 13, 2018 9:07 am

Not sure if this is a motherboard topic, or an SSD topic...

How much concern do we as quiet PC buffs have with M.2 sockets which place the SSD right under the heatsink of a typical 2-slot GPU card? Thats a pretty big source of heat on top of it (perhaps the biggest generator of heat in the PC) but even if the gpu uses a blower, the SSD still gets "boxed in" and wont see any airflow.

I googled it a bit and found a fair number of people saying it is not an issue...but they seem to be the ones with a zillion case fans. Saw a couple anecdotal reports if it being so bad as to cause chronic throttling of the SSD, even outright crashing.

And apparently heat sink "plates"are not the answer? :)
Last edited by BrianF on Thu May 24, 2018 4:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

CA_Steve
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by CA_Steve » Sun May 13, 2018 11:26 am

<shrugs> Here's a different review that shows benefit. Not all heatsinks, reviews, test conditions are the same.

The biggest thermal problem with M.2 PCI-E SSDs is the memory controller. I think this was mostly resolved with the last two generations of parts where the mfgr put a foil tape over the chips for some cooling. In most situations, users aren't hammering the SSD with as many reads/writes as reviews are doing, so less thermal rise. Finally, don't expect the GPU to cause extreme shifts in the case's local ambient temp. Maybe a few degrees over the average case temp.

Summing up: no, probably won't be a problem for most users. If it is, then go buy a heatsink for the SSD.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

yakuman
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by yakuman » Mon May 14, 2018 7:36 pm

I researched this before as I had the same concerns before deciding to go with Samsung 850 EVO over the 960 EVO: that specific M.2 heatsink from MSI mobo was one of the few or only one that was detrimental to overall temps of the SSD, but they improved it on the new gen and other heatsinks can reduce load temps up to 10C from various anecdotal reports.

We obviously can't confirm the impact without actual testing, but I suspect Steve is right about a few degrees of impact. For instance, my PC's airflow setup is fine, but my mobo PCH (chipset) heatsink is blocked by my GPU being right in front of it (which is typical of today's GPU card length). This blocks 95% of its surface area from receiving the cool intake air. PCH temp is around 48-49C with PC idling and powered on for at least 30 minutes with GPU fans spinning at lowest 490 RPM (19% using MSI Afterburner custom fan curve) and it increases to 52C with GPU fans off. I was a bit surprised that cooling my GPU would also cool its neighbouring mobo component, but that satisfied one of my curiosities.

whispercat
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by whispercat » Mon May 14, 2018 8:48 pm

Here are a couple of NVMe coolers that are reasonably priced and with good reviews:

https://www.amazon.ca/NGFF-PCIe-Adapter ... B00RTSFLBY

https://www.amazon.ca/EK-3830046991737- ... B073RHHYCM

The famous Angel Wings is much more expensive: https://www.amazon.ca/Angelbird-Wings-P ... B018U79YQK

JazzJackRabbit
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by JazzJackRabbit » Tue May 15, 2018 11:05 am

There are two separate issues being asked.

Putting m.2 drives right under a videocard is never a good idea. All current NVME drives run hot under sustained load, and all of them throttle, some worse than others. They say they're designed to handle high temps, but heat kills. Losing a drive is very disrupting, even devastating if you don't have backups. MyDigitalSSD BPX for example is a fast drive that won't break the bank, but it runs extremely hot at 70C in idle. I wouldn't dream of putting it under a videocard. All I can say is chose another motherboard with a better layout.

As far as m.2 heatsinks go, there is big difference between crappy heatsink like the one that was used on early MSI motherboards, and good one. I've used EK-M.2 heatsinks, and they reduce temperature by 15 degrees C. Integrated heatsink on my Asus X470 Prime Pro motherboard is even better at around 20 degrees C lower. I've also used Aquacomputer Kryo M.2 PCIe card with integrated heatsink with great results. Crappy heatsinks result in crappy temperatures, good heatsinks are great.

https://www.amazon.com/EKWB-EK-M-2-NVMe ... B073RHHYCM
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZZX417T

BrianF
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by BrianF » Tue May 22, 2018 7:10 am

JazzJackRabbit wrote:Putting m.2 drives right under a videocard is never a good idea.
Do we think that moving it just one slot over would make all the difference? Almost all the boards I'm looking at (example) are positioning the "prime" (x4) M.2 socket there. That has to be better than RIGHT under a 2-slot GPU? It'd be a shame to go with an ATX build just to get a x4 M.2 slot away from the GPU. :)

Hrafn
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by Hrafn » Tue May 22, 2018 8:46 am

BrianF wrote:Do we think that moving it just one slot over would make all the difference? Almost all the boards I'm looking at (example) are positioning the "prime" (x4) M.2 socket there. That has to be better than RIGHT under a 2-slot GPU? It'd be a shame to go with an ATX build just to get a x4 M.2 slot away from the GPU. :)
The ASRock H370M Pro4 has its 'prime' M.2 between PCIE-1 and the CPU. Probably better airflow than under the GPU, but less accessible (as it's easier to remove the GPU than the HSF). It also has a second full-length M.2 slot between the Chipset and the lower edge of the case.

BrianF
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by BrianF » Tue May 22, 2018 10:21 am

Hrafn wrote:ASRock H370M Pro4 has its 'prime' M.2 between PCIE-1 and the CPU. Probably better airflow than under the GPU, but less accessible (as it's easier to remove the GPU than the HSF).
Thanks. I looked at that one but ASRock is not available to me.

The MSI B360M Mortar has x4 M.2s both above and below the GPU slot. The bottom one is a write off (kills the bottom PCIe slot if you use it) but the upper one as you say might not be a bad position. On mATX its still a little "boxed in" as compared to a similar spot on an ATX board (because ATX boards usually put the prime x16 slot one down from the top). Of course the Asus H370-F has its x4 slot miles away from the gpu...but is that worth an extra $50 (and a bigger case)? :)

MichaDoH
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by MichaDoH » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:43 am

My m.2 was under my gpu but I never experience any failure or thermal issues.

Olle P
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Re: M.2 SSD under GPU: Bad idea (in a quiet PC)?

Post by Olle P » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:07 am

I think this isn't a simple yes/no question.

As long as the heated air from the video card is sufficiently cool there shouldn't be any problems.
For that air to be cool enough a good combo of low power video card an high fan speed.
No 250+W video card rigged for quiet running will fulfil that prerequisit.

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