In case you have not heard of a brand akasa, here is a bit of an introduction to the brand. Akasa designs and manufactures a multi-range of products including CPU coolers, storage drive cooling solutions, heatsinks, fans, and PSUs in addition to the plethora of accessories including card readers, cables, external enclosures, notebook coolers. Their design and development facilities are located in Europe, Hong Kong, and Taiwan with a manufacturing facility located in China. Akasa is a leading supplier of thermal solutions to the global electronics industry: PC, IPC, electronic manufacturing and contract manufacturing.
About time that we reached out to Akasa for the provision of their high-end cooler for our upcoming round-up content. They have also sent us their M.2 SSD cooling solution for the review along with their top of the line Venom Medusa CPU air cooler. We will soon be testing that beast for its dedicated content. There is no particular name of this M.2 SSD cooling solution but a model number which is A-M2HS01-BK. The naming convention is easier to decode. A stands for akasa, M2 stands for M.2 SSD, HS stands for the heatsink and BK stands for black. This is a simple cooling solution that is passive in nature as we have a finely machined aluminum heatsink with a pre-applied thermal pad on it and that is all that you will get in the box. This kit is compatible with single-sided M.2 SSD of type 2280 only.
Product: M.2 SSD Cooler A-M2HS01-BK
Price: 7.98 USD on Amazon
*Prices are taken from respective websites at the time of the review.
Packing and Unboxing
The product is shipped inside a small size paperboard box.
Akasa brand name and logo are printed on the top followed by the description of the cooling solution. This is a passive cooling kit for M.2 SSD. The picture of the heatsink is printed in the main section.
Installation instructions are printed in 7 languages. Installation is literally a walk in the park as you are only required to peel off the safety cover from the heatsink and placing the heatsink on the PCB with alignment. That is it.
The product is made in China. The company’s website address is printed.
A serial no sticker is printed along with the model no of the solution. This cooling solution is RoHS compliant.
You will find a heatsink with a pre-installed thermal pad wrapped inside a bubble sheet.
Much like the case with the CPU and graphics cards, the very concept of thermal throttling applies to the SSDs as well. As the M.2 SSD comprises a controller, Cache, and Memory ICs. These can run hot depending upon the load. As long as the operating temperature remains within the specified thermal range, the performance of the drive will be steady. But if the temperatures cross the thermal junction or limit the frequency will be lowered till the time, temperature falls down within the specified/standard thermal range. This will impede the rated performance of the drive. The solution is to keep the M.2 SSD cooled enough to remain within the specified thermal limits to prevent throttling. This is where M.2 SSD cooling solutions come in handy. Let’s take a closer look followed by the thermal testing.
The akasa A-M2HS01-BK is a passive cooling solution for M.2 SSD Type 2280. The heatsink is made of the fine machined aluminum material. It has a dimension of 71x22x6.4mm where the length of the heatsink is 71mm. 22mm is the width and 6.4mm is the height of the heatsink. This heatsink has more height than what we saw on the GELID Subzero XL with only 3.0mm height. The more heightened solution may cause interference with the graphics card installation depending upon the location on the motherboard. Better, keep this in mind while planning a build or upgrading it. This passive cooling solution is compatible with single-sided PCB M.2 SSD type 2280 only.
The complete unit is made of a single sheet of aluminum with the top side having cutouts. Three cutouts have an angular surface covering half of the heatsink area the rest of the area has a single solid cover. There is an akasa brand logo on the lower right side of the heatsink.
The backside of the heatsink has a thermal pad pre-installed/pasted on it. Though it is not mentioned in the specifications, the thermal pad seems to have 0.3mm thickness. I wish they had at-least provided a 0.5mm thick thermal pad but can’t complain as this cooling solution costs a few bucks. The user has nothing to lose as such. The thermal conductivity of the pad is not known. There is a protective transparent cover on the thermal pad which needs to be peeled off before the installation.
The width of the heatsink is 22mm. This side better shows the layout of the cutouts on the heatsink. The bulk portion is facing the opposite side’s cutouts. The thickness of the thermal pad can be gauged from this angle.
The thermal pad is of white color. The above picture shows the Lexar M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD along with the backside of the heatsink with the protective cover removed.
Assembling the cooling solution is literally a walk in the park. Here are the steps need to install the cooling solution:
- Peel off the safety cover from the thermal pad.
- Now, carefully align the heatsink with the M.2 SSD Type 2280 and place it over the SSD so that the thermal pad is sandwiched between both. The connector end of the M.2 SSD Type 2280 and the holed side should not be covered.
- This would complete the installation.
Here are the pictures of the assembled unit.
There are certain observations that I have made, which are:
- There are no silicon band fixtures to securely hold the heatsink onto the M.2 SSD. We are totally relying on the thermal pad to hold the M.2 SSD to the heatsink.
- The thermal pad seems to have 0.3mm, this could be problematic in case the components on the M.2 SSD PCB are of uneven height as 1.0mm or thicker thermal pads would be beneficial. But, you can press the assembled solution until the thermal pad fills in the gaps.
The testbed configuration is:
- Intel i7 8700k
- Asus ROG Strix Z390E Gaming
- CORSAIR Vengeance RGB PRO 16GB
- Noctua NH-U12S
- Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD
- GELID Solutions Subzero M.2 XL with 0.5mm Thermal Pad
- Thermaltake TP 750W Gold
In order to determine the thermal difference if any the Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD was first tested without any cooling solution. A single run of storage drive test benches was in a series. HWInfo64 was used to monitor the temperature of the drive throughout the testing. The maximum temperature after the tests is reported on the graph. The system was left on idle for 15 minutes before taking the idle temperature. The same process was repeated with akasa A-M2HS01-BK installed on the Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD.
Let’s take a look at the graph:
Without a heatsink, the maximum temperature on the Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD was 67°C. This was with the ambient temperature of 21°C. With akasa A-M2HS01-BK, the maximum temperature was 40°C with an ambient temperature of 10°C. We ran the tests on the drive when it came to us earlier and saved the results for later use. Since the ambient temperature is not the same for both testing, we can’t compare the results directly. Hence, delta temperature needs to be calculated which gives the 16°C drop in the thermals of the Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD using the akasa A-M2HS01-BK. Impressive performance for sure!
We have taken a spin on the budget-friendly M.2 SSD cooling solution from akasa named as A-M2HS01-BK. This is a passive cooling solution designed for M.2 SSD type 2280 [single-sided]. The solution comprises of a heatsink and high-performance thermal pad which is already pasted on the heatsink. The heatsink is in black color and is made of a single aluminum block. This kit improves the cooling of the M.2 SSD. Therefore, the operating temperature of the supported SSD becomes much lower. This passive cooling solution helps to maintain a temperature within the normal range under any workload and prevents thermal throttling.
The heatsink has a dimension of 71x22x6.4mm (LxWxH). The heatsink is made of aluminum and it has cutouts on the top forming a properly shaped heatsink with more surface area for effective heat dissipation. The other side has a flat surface to make solid contact with the thermal pad. This solution is for single-sided M.2 SSDs (SSDs with all the components on one side of the PCB). The thermal conductivity of the thermal pad is not mentioned. The thickness of the thermal pad seems to be roughly 0.3mm which in my opinion should be minimum 0.5mm though can’t really complain given the wallet-friendly price of the kit. Surprisingly, there are no silicon band fixtures provided with the kit as they help secure the M.2 SSD on the heatsink. In this kit, we are totally relying on the thermal pad to do this job. The height of 6.4mm is relatively higher than the few other models that we have taken a look at. This height could hinder the graphics card depending upon the motherboard layout and port being used.
The akasa A-M2HS01-BK is listed at USD 7.98/ Euro 5.99 at the time of the review. This is a killer deal for sure for any user. We have tested the kit on Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD. In our testing, the akasa A-M2HS01-BK has improved the thermal performance of the Lexar M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD by a difference of 16°C showing the power of the kit. Given this performance level at such a budget-friendly price tag and two years of warranty, it is hard not to give this kit a Must Have Award!
We are thankful to akasa for giving us the opportunity to review their A-M2HS01-BK.