PCIe 5.0 NVME drives have begun to trickle out and it’s not good news for SFF rigs right now. It would seem that cooling is becoming an absolute necessity for consistent performance. In this instance, Gigabyte has launched the Aorus Gen5 10000 NVME SSD, and has an “optional” twin heatpipe cooler. Performance is, of course, impressive if the claimed numbers are true. Sequential read speed clocks in at 9,500MB/s while sequential write speed is a very quick 8,500MB/s. The drive also features DDR4 cache, which is something many drives have been cutting in recent days. However, all of this performance requires good thermal management.
NVME drives get hot, and they get hot fast. Now, a little bit of warmth is good for NAND memory on the drives, but too much quickly requires throttling. Remember that the controller on these drives are multi-core 64 bit processors in and of themselves. They need cooling. Gigabyte offers a large heatsink with their new drive, but they are far from the only one. Motherboard manufactures are now focusing on NVME drive cooling due to the necessity of it, and are including large heatsinks or active cooling systems with boards. Here at SFFN, we’ve been lucky enough to talk to several engineers directly. The engineers we’ve talked to have all expressed the need for cooling PCIE 4.0 and 5.0 drives to maintain their performance and longevity.
This leads to an interesting scenario for SFF users.
Most ITX motherboards do not support the use of these larger coolers as the integrated cooling assembly for the NVME drives often does double duty in cooling a second drive, chipset, or both. Moreover, the rear mounted NVME slot on the back of most ITX motherboards doesn’t support any type of heatsink at all due to clearance issues. If NVME remains the drive style of choice there will come a time when you can truly only mount one drive on the front of the board, and the rear boards will likely not support over PCIe 3.0 drives. There may have to be some redesigns for packaging and drive locations. Asus has been experimenting with this on some of their Slot-Q designs.
Additionally, it’s going to be important to really think about your storage needs when choosing your drive as there is a good chance that if you need to upgrade in the future, your only option will be to move the old drive to the rear slot which will limit speed. In other words, consider getting a bigger drive for the initial build.
As of writing, Gigabyte is offering this drive in sizes of up to 2TB, which is rapidly becoming a small drive.
You can check out the Gigabyte product page by CLICKING HERE.