Unmasking the Power and Heat of PCIe 5.0 SSDs: A Crucial T700 Series Examination

The advent of PCIe 5.0 SSDs in the marketplace has already been witnessed, with the distinguished Crucial T700 series, a collaborative effort between Micron and Phison Electronics, now open for pre-orders. Despite the undeniable enhancements in performance associated with PCIe 5.0 SSDs, one must not dismiss the significant thermal output. Some storage or cooler manufacturers have even resorted to designing active coolers equipped with fans specifically for PCIe 5.0 SSDs. Recently, the performance of the Crucial T700 series PCIe 5.0 SSD was evaluated under conditions devoid of a cooler by ComputerBase.

Data and temperature readings were procured using CrystalDiskinfo and HWiNFO64, with performance assessed via the AS SSD Benchmark software. The test was conducted on a 2TB version. The initial sequential read speed was approximately 12,385 MB/s, which then plummeted in a cliff-like manner. Nevertheless, the system did not crash, exhibiting a performance reminiscent of a mechanical hard drive, at which point the drive’s temperature reached 86°C. Such a high initial sequential read speed is likely due to the drive’s temperature being in the ascending phase, not having triggered the controller’s thermal protection. Upon triggering the thermal protection, a prominent decline in performance was observed.

This demonstrates the crucial role of a cooler in maintaining the optimal performance of a PCIe 5.0 SSD. However, compared to the commonplace vest-style heat sink of PCIe 4.0 SSDs, the cooler for a PCIe 5.0 SSD will inevitably be thicker, posing a challenge for space-constrained laptops and mini PCs. With the ever-increasing size of graphics cards, motherboard manufacturers must also take into consideration the installation of a cooler on the SSD to avoid conflicts with the graphics card when designing PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 slots. Even though PCIe 5.0 SSDs offer superior performance, considering factors such as price and thermal management, it is anticipated that PCIe 4.0/3.0 SSDs will continue to dominate the mainstream consumer market for a substantial period.