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Heat Concern between M.2 SSD and GPU?

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DaCurryman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 7:20am
So I recently ordered the Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4/D3 board shown here.  I'm planning to get an M.2 SSD to use as my boot drive.  In looking at the drive placement on the mobo, the drive would sit right under the heatsink of my GTX 1070 assuming I'm using the slot closer to the CPU.

My question is whether the heat buildup will be an issue.  M.2 drives tend to run hot and the GPU will have decent heat when under load also.  What are people's thoughts on this and have other run into a similar issue?

If I use the GPU slot that's farther away from the CPU, will it still perform as an x16 slot (if I'm not using the other one)?

Thanks in advance.
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wardog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wardog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 10:49am
Phew. Yea. A two slot 1070 in the top slot may prove detrimental heat wise on the M.2

Looking at pg17 of the manual, unfortunately that top PCIe2 is the only x16 slot

Quote
PCIe slots:
PCIE1 (PCIe 3.0 x1 slot) is used for PCI Express x1 lane width cards.
PCIE2 (PCIe 3.0 x16 slot) is used for PCI Express x16 lane width graphics cards
PCIE3 (PCIe 3.0 x1 slot) is used for PCI Express x1 lane width cards.
PCIE4 (PCIe 3.0 x16 slot) is used for PCI Express x4 lane width graphics cards.
PCIE5 (PCIe 3.0 x1 slot) is used for PCI Express x1 lane width cards

Nothing here. Move on!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 11:12am
Originally posted by DaCurryman DaCurryman wrote:

So I recently ordered the Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4/D3 board shown here.  I'm planning to get an M.2 SSD to use as my boot drive.  In looking at the drive placement on the mobo, the drive would sit right under the heatsink of my GTX 1070 assuming I'm using the slot closer to the CPU.

My question is whether the heat buildup will be an issue.  M.2 drives tend to run hot and the GPU will have decent heat when under load also.  What are people's thoughts on this and have other run into a similar issue?

If I use the GPU slot that's farther away from the CPU, will it still perform as an x16 slot (if I'm not using the other one)?

Thanks in advance.


First of all, the question is impossible to answer, unless we have a PC that is identical to yours. That includes the PC case, and the number of case fans, their model, location, and usual speed.

I can guess a little given your video card. Seems to be an EVGA model, with zero fan speed at idle. That situation does not cause much extra heat being spread to the SSD, but when gaming, it might be a problem.

The M.2 SSD being used is also essential information. I use Samsung 950 Pros, SM951, Intel 600p, and an OCZ RD400. All operate at different temperatures. As the OS drive, they run a bit warmer, since they are alway active. Your M.2 SSD is?

My 950 Pro's are usually at ~30C, but I make sure they have good air circulation and have a small heat sink on the SSD controller chip. Other owners I have read about apparently have their 950's hit their throttling temperature, which starts at 70C. But in some cases they are running long term benchmark tests that are not the same as standard usage for 99% of users. So many PC builders use 950 Pros now, and if everyone had a problem with them over heating, you could find it discussed all over the Internet.

The location of the M.2 is significant. Under a video card is typical, but not ideal. My SM951 used as a data drive sits under an EVGA video card, with zero fan speed at idle, and the SSD's temperature is under 30C most of the time.

Your second PCIe 3.0 x16 (physical) PCIE4 slot is x4 electrically. While PCIe 3.0 x8 is an insignificant performance hit to a video card, PCIe 3.0 x4 will not be insignificant.

My advice is to simply see what temperature you get from your mystery M.2 SSD in actual use. Then if you have a problem, work on fixing it. Most users don't have problems with their M.2 SSDs. One I have currently in an ASRock board where the M.2 slot is just above the PCIe x16 slot, is at 32C, without any extra cooling directed at it. But I have two or three 140mm high speed intake fans in the case, so I get good airflow across the board.

Don't forget the original purpose of M.2 SSDs were for use inside laptop PCs, that have terrible ventilation. While that does not seem to make sense, it is true.
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DaCurryman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaCurryman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 11:12am
Thanks for the response!  Looks like I'm going to have to forego the M.2 then - which is a real shame.  Especially since I don't think I can let go of my 1070 STRIX or change it to liquid cooling.

My follow-up question is regarding the claim of that 2nd slot being an x16 slot.  What's the point of having a 2nd x16 slot if it can't operate at x16 speeds?  I understand you can't have 2 of them active at the same time because of there not being enough bus lanes supported by the chipset/CPU, but I would think that if the slot is x16 and there are enough lanes available (because you're not using the other slot), then you should be able to get the full x16 out of it.

Is there something technical I'm missing as to why this wouldn't be the case or why it wouldn't be designed that way?
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DaCurryman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaCurryman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 11:19am
Sorry, just saw the second reply (we posted at same time).  Here's some additional info.

M.2 SSD I'm looking at: Samsung 960 EVO M.2 250GB NVMe PCI-Express 3.0 x4
GFX card: ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 1070 STRIX OC
Case: Corsair 400C
CPU: i5-6600K
CPU Cooler:  Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Also, I know there's no way to have a definitive answer without trying it in the specific rig, but more along the lines of getting people's opinions and seeing if anyone encountered any similar issues.

Hope that helps.  Thanks.


Edited by DaCurryman - 28 Nov 2016 at 11:20am
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wardog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wardog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 2:34pm
Originally posted by DaCurryman DaCurryman wrote:

GFX card: ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 1070 STRIX OC


Awesome card Wink

Go for the 960 SSD. Still plenty fast.


Edited by wardog - 28 Nov 2016 at 2:35pm
Nothing here. Move on!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2016 at 2:47pm
The GPU you listed has a very large, powerful cooling solution on it that does in fact blow air out the bottom of the card, directly onto the M.2 slot location. At low GPU usage this should keep the SSD nice and cool but once your GPU temps ramp up to the high 60s and beyond that air will then serve to heat up the SSD rather than cool it. I don't know what temps the GPU you mentioned runs at under load but if it is over 50c then the air coming off the cooler will be detrimental to your M.2 drive.

However, if your GPU is anything like my GTX 960 with regards to cooling performance you shouldn't often see temps over 45c or so during regular gaming/graphics intensive tasks. 

Maybe Wardog can run something like furmark on his GTX 1070 (the same model I think) and see what the temps top out at. 

Ultimately however the safest route would be the standard SSD version.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Aristoc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2016 at 8:03am
Maybe I am completely wrong but the OP  wants to use the M.2 as the boot drive. Therefore even under load, it's not the M.2 that is going to be working hard and heating up? I've been watching my M.2 that is underneath my video card (Evga 1070) and it's temperature does not move from 45'C
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wardog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2016 at 8:21am
Originally posted by Aristoc Aristoc wrote:

Maybe I am completely wrong but the OP  wants to use the M.2 as the boot drive. Therefore even under load, it's not the M.2 that is going to be working hard and heating up? I've been watching my M.2 that is underneath my video card (Evga 1070) and it's temperature does not move from 45'C


This is the input/feedback that makes a Forum groove right along. Thanks for sharing.

I gave you a Thanks for that there.
Nothing here. Move on!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2016 at 9:32am
You are really worrying about nothing using an M.2 SSD in that M.2 slot. Otherwise, you could get an M.2 to PCIe adapter card, and use it in the PCIE4 slot. That would give it more breathing room. I added a tiny aluminum heat sink on the SSD controller chip, which makes a big difference. Plus I have plenty of cool air coming in the front of the PC case, blowing over the video card and 950 Pro.

Standard 2.5" SSDs have a nice metal case for their heat sink, which we take for granted. Take that away, and SATA SSDs would be hotter too.

The Samsung 960 has an added thin copper plate over the SSD controller and NAND chips, that the 950 Pro and other Samsung M.2 SSDs do NOT have. That is claimed to improve cooling, which I imagine it will, but the only users that have problems with the 950 Pro are those that do not have adequate PC case ventilation. Samsung has sold so many 950 Pros and SM951s, if everyone had problems with over heating, they would not be selling well.

The reality of all the PCIe x16 slots not being x16 electrically is this:

All Intel CPUs of the "Mainstream/Performance" type (not X99/socket 2011 v3 HEDT processors) only provide 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes to the board. Your 6600K is of that type, and gives 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes to the board.

The Z170 chipset has a few PCIe 2.0 lanes left over, but those are used by the PCIe x1 slots. Trying to combine the CPU and chipset PCIe lanes is apparently not easy or worth it.

Splitting the 16 PCIe lanes is only done in multiplies of two. So if a board had three PCIe x16 (physical) slots, the lane allocation is 16 0 0, 8 8 0, or 8 4 4.

Wiring three or even just two PCIe x16 slots to all of the PCIe 3.0 16 lanes costs money. While I too would prefer having all or just two of the PCIe x16 physical slots being all x16 electrically, there is a tradeoff in flexibility and price of the board to consider. Plus there must be switching chips added for each PCIe x16 lane.

Then the limitation of only 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes is there too. It can be asked, what is the point of having two or three PCIe x16 slots all connected to the 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, since as soon as you use more than one card of any kind in an x16 slot, you just split the lanes into two x8 lane, x16 slots, even if you only use one or four PCIe lanes in the second x16 slot.

Also the difference in performance of any modern video card with 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes compared to 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes, is 1% difference.

There are valid points to both sides of this, I am simply giving you the reasoning about why things are the way they are. The two biggest motivators are reducing the cost and complexity of the board, and the limitation of only having 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. I'm not saying you are wrong, I actually wish all lanes were x16 electrically too. But I can also understand why they aren't.

You must study the PCIe lane to PCIe slot allocation on a board very closely, if that matters to you. Adding those extra connections is not free at all, and doing that would cause the expense to be passed on to the buyer. Assume nothing about a PCIe x16 slot on ANY board, you would need to really search for a Z170 board that had even two x16 slots both connected to all of the 16 PCIe lanes. If you find one, you'll know it by the price.

Plus ONLY on Intel 100 series chipset/Z170 boards, for the first time the M.2 slots are NOT using the PCIe lanes from the CPU. The Z170 chipset has the equivalent of PCIe 3.0 lanes that are used by the M.2 slots. On all earlier Intel boards, the M.2 slots used the CPU's PCIe 3.0 lanes. Add one M.2 SSD, and your video card is running at x8 electrically (except X99/HEDT boards.) Why have all the PCIe x16 slots connected to 16 PCIe lanes, in that situation?
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