Solid state drives (SSDs) are a pretty staple in most modern PC builds nowadays. Even SATA SSDs offer speeds much faster than hard disk drives (HDDs) do. And NVMe SSDs take that to another level as they are able to utilize the faster PCIe interface. However, it does come at a price. NAND flash memory inside SSDs is pretty heat-sensitive compared to mechanical HDDs. And with the latest generation (Gen5), NVMe SSDs are overheating, thermally throttling and even shutting down.
We had already covered such cases before where Crucial's T700 and Corsair's MP700 were seen as severely underperforming and thermally throttling, respectively, due to the enormous amount of heat produced that the NAND chips couldn't cope with. The issue was happening with Phison's PS5026-E26 controller which is fairly common in PCIe Gen5 drives, and hence, back then, we speculated that other SSD models using the E26 would likely be affected as well.
German tech site ComputerBase (CB) tested the Seagate FireCuda 540 and found that the drive was throttling heavily under load and was eventually shutting down. As you can see in the image below, the drive reached 87C which is prime throttle territory. The read speed of the drive drops heavily once such temperatures are reached. After encountering a shutdown, CB notes that the FireCuda 540 requires a cold (hard) reboot as a simple restart is not enough.
Last time, Phison had stated that a heatsink is a must with PCIe 5.0 SSDs. In a statement, it explained:
It is important to note that all E26 SSDs shipped without a heatsink are intended to be used with a heatsink. Most motherboards shipping with PCIe Gen5 enabled also include cooling specifically designed for Gen5 SSDs. We offer the 'bare drive' option to allow customers to use their existing cooling products.
And this wasn't the first time either. Previously the company had suggested that for cooling Gen5 NVMe drives, even active cooling with fans may become necessary.