Sabrent Rocket Q 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 14

Sabrent Rocket Q 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD Review

Windows 10 Startup & File Compression »

Thermal Throttling

Due to the compact form factor, M.2 drives lack the ability to cool themselves and usually have to rely on passive airflow instead. All vendors include some form of thermal throttling on their drives as a safeguard, which limits throughput once a certain temperature is exceeded.

On this page, we will investigate whether the tested drive has such a mechanism, how high temperatures get, and what effect this has on performance. We will test the drive in a typical case and the M.2 slot between the CPU and VGA card. A second data point shows the result with a 120 mm fan directly blowing on the tested drive. Each of the charts has time moving from left to right, with the blue line displaying transfer speed in MB/s and the red line showing the temperature in °C (measured using SMART).


Temperature Test Read
Temperature Test Read with Fan

In a pure read scenario, the drive doesn't throttle at all.


Temperature Test Write
Temperature Test Write with Fan

When heavily loaded with writes the drive does see some throttling despite the heatsink. The loss in performance is quite acceptable though, as it still achieves over 1 GB/s when thermally throttled.

Thermal Limits

The tests above represent a worst-case scenario for the SSD since we're running it at maximum speed for an extended period of time. Beyond that, it becomes important to look at how storage performs when it's under lighter load, which is the case with many consumer applications. For this test, we're sending a fixed-rate stream of data to the drive until temperatures have stabilized. As long as there is no thermal throttling, we'll increase the data rate and chart it below.

Sustained Write Thermal Limits

Maximum Speed before Overheating

Thermal Image & Hot Spot

Thermal Camera FLIR Image during Write Test

We recorded a thermal image of the running SSD as it was completing the write test. The hottest part reached 85°C, while the drive's own thermal reporting claimed temperatures of 68°C. We've seen this wildly inaccurate temperature reporting on other Phison SSDs before. It seems the reported temperature is the temperature of the flash chips, not the controller itself.
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