M.2 Heat sink advice?

Hey GWJers,

I wanted to get your opinion on M.2 heatsinks and if they are necessary or not.

My current setup:
Samsung Evo 9709 Plus NVMe M.2 SSD
MSI MPG B550 GAMING PLUS
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor
ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO CPU Cooler
Crucial Ballistix 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory
RTX 3080 Founders Edition
Lian Li Lancool II Mesh
ADATA XPG CORE Reactor 750 W

Background

A while ago I had a constant BSOD issue which the solution ended up reseating all of the wires connected to the MOBO (I hope in the end it was just something loose).

One of the additional troubleshooting steps I took at the time was also swapping out the M.2 SSD (thinking it was maybe a bad drive)

While removing the M.2 drive to swap in the new drive, I accidentally touched the thermal pad of the M.2 heatsink that came with the MOBO. In my panic I thought the oils in my finger that were now on the pad would damage the new drive, I did some initial research on running the drive without the heatsink and it seemed to be ok so I left it off and threw it in a drawer somewhere (yes, it's pretty ridiculous but I was stressed out at the time so I wasn't thinking straight).

It's been running smoothly for the past few months but yesterday while playing Apex I got the BSOD again (albeit with a different message this time: "unexpected store exception")

My mind immediately went to: "oh crap, I'm running my SSD without a heatsink... maybe it overheated causing this BSOD?...."

Question

My online research on the subject is somewhat inconclusive: Are M.2 heatsink necessary and running without one could potentially harm the drive?

If it is necessary, can I just buy any old M.2 heatsink off amazon and it should be compatible with my MSI MPG B550 GAMING PLUS or are some M.2 heatsinks not compatible with certain motherboards?

Thanks!

You won't damage your SSD by running it without a heat sink. Worst-case, you may get some thermal throttling and reduced data throughput. Run the Samsung Magician software CrystalDiskInfo (link, or install via the Windows Store) once the drive is under load and check what temps you see.

Think about it this way: If Samsung thought that you would risk damaging the drive if you ran it without a heat sink, they would have provided one; otherwise, they would have a boatload of warranty claims to deal with.

Hey! I researched this last week after my son got a PC which didn't have heatsinks for the m.2 slots.

Ditto what merphle said along with this addition: Some m.2 SSDs won't even thermal throttle under the most torturous conditions.

For example, the WD Blue SN570 - https://www.techpowerup.com/review/w...

Now, the WD Blue isn't the highest performing m.2 SSD, which is probably a big reason why it won't thermal throttle. However, Samsung has had this to say to its customers about theirs:

Please note that Samsung does not manufacture nor recommend the use of a third-party radiator or heatsink on its SSDs, since it is not necessary.

This is because the 970 EVO Plus has advanced thermal control solutions that enhance performance with reduced heat risk. Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology proactively prevents overheating, and a heat spreader with an integrated thin copper film dissipates heat more efficiently. Additionally, a nickel coating on the Phoenix controller also helps to dissipate heat faster during heavy workload use in order to ensure the high levels of quality and reliability.

You, therefore, do not need a radiator specifically for your SSD 970 EVO Plus.

Edit: Can't italicize multiple paragraphs with one set of tags. Did it properly so the full quote shows it's from Samsung.

Thanks for the advice guys! Sounds good that a heatsink is not necessary (and possibly not recommended in my situation). I haven't had the issue since the first time so it's good to know it hopefully is not a reoccurring problem.