Guru3D NVMe Thermal Test - the heatsink vs. performance

Memory (DDR4/DDR5) and Storage (SSD/NVMe) 368 Page 14 of 14 Published by


Summary and conclusion

Summary and conclusion

It’s time for the conclusion. Do NVMe M.2 SSDs need heatsinks? The answer is simple – yes, they do. As we’ve checked, if you don’t want your NVMe SSD to overheat, you’ll need a cooler. Luckily the main ones are passive. The NVMe SSDs are very easy to install, but you need to remember to keep the temperature in control, as they don’t like the high temperatures in high workload usage, and for sure, it’ll impact the period of life of the drive to some extent. Of course, the NVMe drives have even a 5-year warranty, but you probably don’t want to check how it works, especially if you have some crucial data on them. As for the checked scenarios, below you can find a summary:

  • Bare NVMe – you’ll get toasty temperatures, the drive’s longevity, and the performance could be degaded.
  • Asus Maximus Z690 Apex M.2 heatsink – did very well by bringing the temperatures even by 25 degrees down.
  • be quiet! MC1 M.2 heatsink – this aftermarket radiator performed decently but, in this case, wasn’t any better than the (big and solid) Z690 Apex heatsink
  • be quiet! MC1 Pro M.2 heatsink – the Pro version was doing fine, and this one we can recommend, especially if you don’t have such a massive motherboard radiator, as is the primary one on the Asus motherboard that we’ve used
  • Sabrent M.2 2280 SSD Rocket Heatsink (SB-HTSK) - even more performance (the best from the tested, aftermarket bunch), but it’s rather bulky.
  • ElecGear EL-80P Heatsink – performs better than the be quiet! offerings, but takes up more place. 



If you have several M.2 slots, then there’s a chance that one of them is positioned relatively close to your GPU – like the one we used in the test. However, your GPU is usually the most heat-generating component in your PC case, and it would be better not to have NVMe near it. It’s not always possible, but if you have a choice (and don’t have many M.2 drives) – then take it.


As previously stated, the faster the drive-tested disk was, the hotter it ran. The radiators/heatsink helped bring the temperature down, and it was easier to maintain the correct level of performance. Even a motherboard radiator does a great job, so as these (maybe not so fancy) are available in even budget products, you are advised to use them. Is it worth it to use an aftermarket cooler? Well, the be quiet! MC1 didn’t impress us, but the Pro version looked more attractive, especially since it’s not much more expensive than the non-Pro model. Imagine you want your drive to work as long as possible without losing performance. In that case, it’s better to have even the simplest motherboard radiator than nothing, but if you’d “invest” in a Sabrent or ElecGear heastink - you won't be disappointed. These were good enough even in the worst-case scenario, with a CPU/GPU up close and quite hot NVMe drives like the ones used in this review. It’s all as simple as that, but it was well worth a check.

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