MSI Upgrades Heat “Shield” In Response to Tests

By Published June 06, 2017 at 7:21 pm

MSI representatives were excited to show us the company’s new AIC M.2 adapter & cooler combo, noting that it should address our previous concerns (that the company had validated, with some SSDs) regarding the M.2 heat “shields.” The AIC is a PCIe x8 device that can run 2x M.2 SSDs (at full throughput) in RAID, or can mount a 2.5” drive to the back-side of the card. Each M.2 SSD is mounted under an MSI heat sink, which they still erroneously call heat “shields,” which is made of a yet-unknown material. If it is the same as the first generation of heat “shields,” it is a stainless steel. If it is the new generation, MSI has gone to aluminum, following our earlier complaints of poor thermal transfer and dissipation. The AIC also carries with it a small blower fan, which pushes air through the chamber and out the back. An acrylic cover and LED offer some more interesting visuals.


MSI has also changed the M.2 heat shields found on the new X299 motherboards, switching from stainless steel to aluminum (a major improvement) and to thermal pads with greater thermal conductivity. The pads will also be thicker on the X299 boards, using 3mm options to help ensure contact with all drives. Technically, a fatter thermal pad is worse – you don’t want more travel distance through a weaker thermal interface when you could just get straight into the metal. In this case, though, because SSDs are so varied, the fatter thermal pads will help ensure contact and won’t require as much mounting force.

msi aic m2 1

msi frozr shield 1

msi frozr shield 2

This video shows them on the floor at Computex:

There’s not much else to talk about here – we’ll have to do testing to learn more. For now, though, the motherboard heatsinks will still have the same issue of trapping radiative heat under the SSD, but should theoretically be to a lesser degree. Without a fan embedded in the chipset (with an air channel to the SSD), it’s not easy to get air into that area of the board.

We’ll test these eventually. It is good to see attempts at improvement in all departments by MSI, though.

Host: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick

Last modified on June 06, 2017 at 7:21 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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