Duel of SSD coolers: Alphacool HDX M.2 vs. EKWB EK-M.2

Test procedures

With increasing IOPS, SSD cooling demands also increase. This applies even to powerful models (NVMe) for common customers. In most cases, controllers can take a lot, but high temperatures do not add to their performance nor lifespan and they can cause problems even in very quiet computers or in a room with higher air temperature. An additional heatsink can do wonders.

Test procedures

We started with 900 seconds in idle, then continued with 900 seconds of linear reading of 8MB blocks in Aida64 (with an average speed of 2GB/s). The SSD we used is OCZ RD400 with installed OS.

We  used mainly thermocouples and thermal imager. The tested SSD does have an internal temperature sensor, but it reports a significantly lower temperature than the temperature of the controller, which is the most important. Therefore, we used a thermocouple to detect the heating of the surface of the controller casing first, but, for safety reasons, the sensor was placed outside the area where the heating was highest (+ ~ 7 °C). It is attached by a glue which does not transfer heat very well.

The second part of tests focused on heating of the backplate (behind the controller) and the memory closer to the controller, which heats a bit more. We subtracted the temperatures by a properly calibrated UNI-T UT325 thermometer. We took thermal pictures of the heatsink. From the interactive photos, we chose the highest and the average temperature, and put it into the charts. We let the SSD cool down before every following test.

All tests were carried out in our wind tunnel with four NF-A12S PWM fans (2 – intake, 2 –outtake) regulated to approximately 550 rpm. The SSD was mounted in the PCIe adapter and it was in a vertical position.

   

The air temperature was in the range of 21 – 21.3 °C


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Comments (9) Add comment

    1. Not sure but i did use 3 on my GODLIKE MB and i have a close friend that did use them on his Maximus XI EXTREME

  1. The reason that the Alphacool did not properly cool the memory but cooled the controller a bit is because the controller gets hotter than the memory and because it is technically a ‘heat spreader’ not a ‘heat sink’ it was spreading the heat from the controller to the memory since they are all connected thermally & the ‘heat spreader’ is not thick enough & having fins/ribs etc. to properly sink the heat away.

  2. I have a Z390 Auros Extreme, and it has the same heat sink setup as the Ultra which I also have. I was concerned with the high temps with the beefy heatsinks both bords have, so I tried the EKWB. The results are very close to the same as the stock heat sink. The only real cure is massive airflow. I’ll be waiting for a reputable MFG to come up with an active cooler, shouldn’t be hard, similar to memory cooler. Currently, I just have a small 80mm fan sitting on my GPU backplate doing the job, but it’s kind of a hokey setup for $6K rig.

  3. I saw this a popular webstore where it was described as “Nickel”, as in the metal. Since Nickel dissipates heat better than Aluminum I was interested (my entire cooling loop is EK so why not one more emblem for them). I went to the EKWB website to the page for this specific passive cooler primarily to learn what the back plate was made of, I thought Acetal would be great with the Nickel top. Well, on their website they first mention that they have this in both Nickel and Black. It wasn’t until the very bottom, in fine print, that it informs you that the entire heat sink is made out of Aluminum, nickel I guess is a color here. Straps are Stainless Steel. Not the best configuration for an Aluminum block IMO, so I’m passing.

    1. Usually, when a product specifies “Nickel”, it isn’t made of actual nickel, but is merely nickel plated. It’s the same for gold and silver. You won’t find a product that states “Gold” to be actually made of gold. It’s gold plated, but not pure gold. That’s not economically viable.

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