What is the ideal SSD setup in the Dan A4?

nightshift

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jul 23, 2020
131
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So it's a sandwitch-style case and frankly, my build is only missing this component and I still can't make up my mind.
Most ITX motherboards feature two M.2 slots and in case of a B550 board, the frontal slot is 4.0 while we have 3.0 at the back. Latter can supposedly be harder to cool as there's no heatsink, although 4.0 drives usually get hotter under load. With this in mind - along with their difference in read speed, which is better suitable to function as the boot drive? I figured since the price for having one M.2 SSD of 1TB to hold everything costs as much as buying two piece of the same kind with 500GB each, I might as well actually use two drives instead of one. Might even go for a 250GB for the boot drive so I'll come out even cheaper.

I'm a total noob in this area, don't have any experience with M.2 drives and I'm not sure if a boot drive is constantly reading data from the OS or just boots upon system start and then idles. Without any proper knowledge to back up my guess, what I have in mind is using a 250GB 3.0 at the back for boot drive and get my games to load from the 4.0 slot with the motherboard heatsink on. Hope that won't heat up that area too much. Btw, my mobo of choice is an Asus b550-i, so no fan or heatpipe in the M.2 area.

Alternatively (especially if having two M.2 is too toasty for this case) I can just use one of the M.2 slots for the boot drive and put the games on a SATA SSD mounted on the front of the case. Which one you recommend, which setup you're using? Thanks in advance!
 
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TunnelVision

Cable Smoosher
Apr 29, 2016
11
8
A thermal pad (this is the one I bought) between the rear M.2 SSD and the internal aluminium panel seems like a good idea, especially if you add it at the beginning rather than having to take everything apart.
 
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nightshift

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jul 23, 2020
131
69
A thermal pad (this is the one I bought) between the rear M.2 SSD and the internal aluminium panel seems like a good idea, especially if you add it at the beginning rather than having to take everything apart.
The problem with this is that between the backplate and the motherboard with the M.2, there are the riser cables.
 

Gilles3000

Cable-Tie Ninja
Oct 6, 2018
148
117
Don't worry about it, for normal usage SSD's don't need as much cooling as most people think they do.

Its only for specific workloads that put heavy sustained load on the that the controller needs a heatsink. The nand flash generally doesn't need a heatsink at all, it can even shorten its lifespan if you over cool it, usually around 50c during writes is recommended.

I'd say try it as is, and if you encounter any throttling, you can fix it. Even just putting a thermal pad between the ssd and the motherboard is often enough.
 

Gah Duma

Efficiency Noob
Dec 1, 2020
5
8
How thick of a thermal pad do you need for this? My SSD (960 EVO) reaches 105c during gaming and it throttles from rated 3200mb/s to ~2200mb/s
 

nightshift

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jul 23, 2020
131
69
Ok, since then I took the riser cable and routed it on the GPU-side between the plastic sheet and the metal plate. So it's no longer on the motherboard's side.

On the backside 3.0, I have an 500 GB WD Black SN750. It has the OS and it's 57'c.
I wanted to go M.2 to reduce cables as much as possible. Since then after much research, I bought a 500 GB Seagate Firecuda 520 for the 4.0 slot to hold my games and where the downloads go. The new Samsung 980 and even the WD Black SN850 is on the way, but who knows how hot those will be. Left the sticker on and with the original thermal pad + heatsink of the Asus b550-i, it's an unbelievable 42'c. This M.2 from Seagate is perhaps the only one that actually stays cool. Heard that other 4.0's can be kinda hot on their own - which is sad, because I wanted to use 4.0 if my mobo lets me. But this one's great and it has higher endurance too.
Before purchase, I seriously thought about installing a 40mm fan, but seeing how cool the Firecuda is, it's not necessary. Only drawback is that it's expensive.
 
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Gilles3000

Cable-Tie Ninja
Oct 6, 2018
148
117
How thick of a thermal pad do you need for this? My SSD (960 EVO) reaches 105c during gaming and it throttles from rated 3200mb/s to ~2200mb/s
Can depend on your specific motherboard and ssd, but Silverstone sells a kit that has both a 0.5 and 1.5mm pad its called TP01-M2, should do the job.
 

nice_big_cup_of_stfu

Caliper Novice
Nov 24, 2020
21
7


Here's a pic - you can see the blue thermal pad behind the motherboard and it shows how I routed the PCIe riser in this pic:
 
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Gah Duma

Efficiency Noob
Dec 1, 2020
5
8
Thanks. I got the pad you recommended and it dropped my SSD load temps to 85c. Seeing as the 960 EVO is known for being hot, this isn't a terrible result.