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A Bad Firmware On Corsair’s PCIe 5.0 SSD Has Caused Overheating And Crashes

A Bad Firmware On Corsair’s PCIe 5.0 SSD Has Caused Overheating And Crashes

by Low Boon ShenMay 11, 2023
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A Bad Firmware On Corsair’s PCIe 5.0 SSD Has Caused Overheating And Crashes

PSA: Be careful with SSD temperatures, especially PCIe 5.0 ones.

A Bad Firmware On Corsair's PCIe 5.0 SSD Has Caused Overheating And Crashes

Corsair MP700 with heatsink installed – however this is not offered in the retail units. Image: Corsair

Corsair’s first PCIe 5.0 SSD, the MP700, is among the very few SSDs that runs on the latest PCIe standards – which usually requires significant cooling capabilities due to its high throughput. In the worse-case scenario, SSDs should thermal throttle itself should it detects overheating to prevent damage, however both Phoronix and TechPowerUp’s testing (without heatsink, since it doesn’t come with one) has saw the drive shutting down the system entirely in the event of overheating, crashing the system in the process.

While Corsair marketed the SSD prior to the launch with the heatsink installed (which includes a small fan to provide active cooling), the heatsink didn’t make the cut into the retail product. Instead, the company advised users to use heatsinks provided by their motherboards or any aftermarket solution available.

In Phoronix’s testing without heatsink installed, the drive can consume up to 10 watts (which is near the maximum limit of the M.2 slot itself, at 11.55W per JEDEC’s specification) and resulted in the drive climbing up to 87°C – which is an unsafe temperature for a SSD to operate on, as virtually all drives maxed out at just 70°C. TechPowerUp’s testing has managed to crash the drive in as little as 55 seconds of sustained writing, and causing the device to disappear from the system unless a power cycle is performed. Surprisingly, all data is still intact despite the crashes.

Phison, who manufactures the majority of PCIe 5.0 SSD’s controllers (including the one from Corsair MP700), responded to Tom’s Hardware as follows:

After carefully reviewing the recent reports from TechPowerUp and Phoronix, Phison would like to acknowledge the issue found in the reviews of products using the new Phison PS5026-E26 controller. We take this matter seriously and are committed to resolving it promptly. 

Our firmware engineering teams have already isolated the problem and made the necessary adjustments to the thermal throttle curve within hours of the report. However, the new firmware must undergo Phison’s strict validation process before our partners can release it to customers. Rest assured our partners will notify end-users as soon as the validated update is available.

It is important to note that all E26 SSDs shipped without a heatsink are intended to be used with a heatsink. Most motherboards shipping with PCIe Gen5 enabled also include cooling specifically designed for Gen5 SSDs. We offer the “bare drive” option to allow customers to use their existing cooling products.

We want to emphasize our commitment to providing high-quality products and solutions to our customers and will continue to work diligently to ensure their satisfaction. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.

The issue lies on thermal management, which the new firmware is expected to fix after it passes the internal validation process. It’s likely that the new firmware will limit on the maximum temperature allowed on the drive to prevent potential damage to the drives – so in the meantime if you happen to own one of these drives, hang tight and make sure your SSD has proper cooling available.

Source: Tom’s Hardware

Pokdepinion: I guess it makes sense now why some PCIe 5.0 coolers looked seemingly overbuilt, though this is technically the problem on the firmware anyways.

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Low Boon Shen
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