Sometimes a tiny little thing can drastically improve performance and the user experience. Atlast! has developed just this kind of thing for one of its latest designs — it now uses a heat-pipe cooling system to passively cool both an SSD and the motherboard chipset.
The performance of modern high-end SSDs depends heavily on their cooling as high-end controllers tend to throttle when they overheat under high loads. Normally, SSD makers equip their products with heat spreaders that can do the job well, assuming the drives are not installed adjacent to a high-performance graphics card, and there's sufficient airflow inside the case.
Fanless systems by definition do not have airflow from an active cooling solution (like a fan), instead relying on the air brought in naturally from the outside. As such, higher-end SSDs can easily overheat in passive PCs, which causes performance loss and frustration.
Atlast!, a fanless PC specialist, this week has announced (via FanlessTech) that it now equips its Sigao Model B desktop with a special cooling solution that uses a heat pipe to cool the motherboard chipset and an M.2 2280 SSD. The solution is basically a specially-machined aluminum plate that covers the chipset and the SSD.
Also, the Sigao Model B now uses an Asus B560 Mini-ITX motherboard and can be powered by Intel's 10-core Core i9-10900T 'Comet Lake' or 8-core Core i9-11900T 'Rocket Lake' processor.
According to a test conducted by the manufacturer, the tiny device works quite well. At a room temperature of 21C, the Samsung's 980 Pro SSD idled at 36C. After a few minutes of running an 'intense read/write test at 1GB/s,' the temperature rose by 3C. Meanwhile, after using the drive for two hours under 'a constant heavy load', its temperature only rose to 45C, which is well below levels when an SSD starts to throttle. Unfortunately, Atlast! didn't disclose the temperature of Samsung's 980 Pro SSD in its Sigao Model B system when it uses only its graphene-based heatspreader.
It is necessary to note that since the Asus B560I motherboard used by Atlast! supports two M.2-2280 SSDs, the new Sigao Model B can be equipped with two drives. Meanwhile, the second SSD located on the underside of the motherboard is also thermally connected to the case for cooling.
The SSD cooling plate is now installed into Atlast!'s Sigao Model B desktops by default without an upcharge.