New SSDs Are Melting and Crashing

Some of the finest SSDs available, particularly the PCIe 5.0 drives utilizing the Phison PS5026-E26 controller, have encountered crashing instead of thermal throttling when operated without proper cooling. However, it’s important to note that all affected drives are explicitly designed and marketed to be used with a heatsink. When used correctly, following the manufacturer’s specifications, the conditions that trigger thermal shutdown are unlikely to occur.

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

The PCIe 5.0 SSDs based on the Phison PS5026-E26 controller, considered among the best in the market, have experienced crashes when used without adequate cooling. It’s essential to utilize a heatsink with all impacted drives to prevent the occurrence of thermal shutdown issues. The Corsair MP700 was initially the only SSD displaying this behavior, but other Phison E26-based SSDs designed for heatsinks have exhibited similar issues in subsequent tests conducted by German news outlet Computerbase.

German news outlet Computerbase discovered the issues

Computerbase discovered that the Seagate FireCuda 540, Gigabyte Aorus Gen5 10000, and Adata Legend 970 also face shutdown problems, which was not unexpected considering they use the same Phison E26 controller. Seagate is yet to respond regarding the availability of a new firmware, while Gigabyte has promised a prompt release.

(Image credit: Digital Trends)

Phison has provided a statement to Tom’s Hardware, clarifying that all SSDs based on the Phison E26 controller are designed to be used with a heatsink, even if they are initially shipped without one. Furthermore, many motherboards supporting PCIe 5.0 come equipped with cooling solutions tailored specifically for Gen5 SSDs. To resolve the problem of PCIe 5.0 SSDs crashing, the company has introduced a new firmware (v22.1) that enables controlled throttling instead of sudden crashes.

The new firmware raises the thermal threshold

The new firmware, version 22.1, raises the thermal threshold to 85 degrees Celsius, as reported by Computerbase. Even the Crucial T700 initially experienced problems, throttling when reaching high temperatures but not thermally shutting down. The Computerbase tests revealed similar failures in the Crucial T700, indicating the need for the firmware 22.1 update.

Image credit: Seagate/Club386

With the new firmware 22.1, Phison E26-powered SSDs are expected to maintain acceptable performance levels even at high temperatures. The Corsair MP700, without a cooler, demonstrated sequential read and write speeds exceeding 10 GB/s and 2 GB/s, respectively. However, it is crucial to use a cooler with your PCIe 5.0 SSD as a safety measure to prevent excessive heat buildup.

Use heatsink with new SSD and update firmware

The meltdown issue is specific to PCIe 5.0 SSDs used without proper cooling. When the temperature rises excessively, the SSD shuts down to safeguard the controller, NAND, and data. This problem can be easily avoided by using the included heatsink or the M.2 heatsink from the motherboard. Phison has addressed this concern by releasing a new firmware (version 22.1), ensuring that PCIe 5.0 SSDs throttle instead of crashing, thus reducing the risk of data loss.

In case you are using any of the above-mentioned SSDs, or any SSD that uses the Phison E26 controller, it is highly advisable to use it with a heatsink and keep the firmware up to date to ensure the safe operation of your SSD.

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