NVMe SSDs: The Need for Heatsinks and Optimal Temperature Range

The Need for Heatsinks in NVMe SSDs

NVMe SSDs are commonly used in modern computers due to their faster read and write speeds compared to traditional hard drives, with speeds up to 7000. However, the debate on whether or not to use a heatsink for NVMe SSDs has been ongoing. In this article, we will discuss the need for NVMe heatsinks, distinguish between controller and NAND cooling, and debunk the myth that a passive heatsink can effectively cool an NVMe SSD.

Anatomy of an NVMe SSD

Before we discuss the need for heatsinks, it’s important to understand the anatomy of an NVMe SSD. An NVMe SSD has several components, including a controller, NAND flash memory, and DRAM. The controller manages the data flow between the host computer and the SSD, while the NAND flash memory stores the data.

Do NVMe SSDs Need Heatsinks?

The debate on whether or not to use a heatsink for NVMe SSDs is centered around the NAND flash memory. Some argue that the NAND flash memory needs to be cooled to prevent data loss due to high temperatures, while others argue that a heatsink is unnecessary since the controller is the component that generates the most heat. PC Mechanic recommends a heatsink in most cases, but it does depend on your temperature range.

Controller Cooling

It’s widely accepted that the controller needs to be cooled, as it generates the most heat. Failure to cool the controller can lead to thermal throttling, which can result in reduced performance or even data loss. Therefore, it’s recommended to use a heatsink or a cooling solution that can effectively cool the controller.

NAND Cooling

The debate on whether or not to cool the NAND flash memory is more complex. Some argue that cooling the NAND flash memory can increase its lifespan and prevent data loss, while others argue that the impact of high temperatures on NAND flash memory is minimal.

Passive Heatsinks Require the Presence of Airflow in order to Function Properly

Passive heatsinks are heatsinks that do not have any active cooling mechanisms, such as a fan or water cooling. Passive heatsinks rely on convection to dissipate heat, which means that they can become less effective when the trapped heat is not able to dissipate fast enough. Therefore, it is paramount to have airflow for the passive heatsink to function properly.

Optimal Temperature Range and Affordability

It’s important to note that most NVMe drives are designed to operate within a specific temperature range to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage. The temperature range for most NVMe drives is between 35 to 70 degrees Celsius. It is crucial to keep the temperature within this range to prevent overheating and premature failure of the drive.
In addition to the information provided in the original article, the cost of NVMe drives has dropped significantly over the past few years, making it much more affordable to clone and upgrade your existing storage. This means that cloning a drive to an NVMe drive is no longer an expensive process, and it’s now within the reach of most computer users. With the increased speed and performance offered by NVMe drives, it’s definitely worth considering upgrading your existing storage to take advantage of these benefits.


In conclusion, while the controller of an NVMe SSD needs to be cooled, the need for cooling the NAND flash memory is more complex. While some argue that cooling the NAND can increase its lifespan, the impact of high temperatures on NAND flash memory is minimal. However, it’s important to note that a passive heatsink is not an effective cooling solution for NVMe SSDs unless it is used with proper case airflow. Instead, use proper airflow, such as fans, to ensure the appropriate cooling of both the controller and the NAND flash memory with your heatsink, potentially increasing the lifespan of the SSD and preventing data loss due to high temperatures in conjunction with a passive heatsink. On the other hand, if the temperature of your device stays between 35-70 degrees, you might not require a heatsink. However, if the temperature goes above this range, it can cause a shorter lifespan for your SSD and result in throttling.