SilverStone's New M.2 SSD Riser Card Fights Overheating

Credit: SilverStoneCredit: SilverStone

SilverStone has announced the new ECM23 M.2 PCIe SSD riser card. The company hasn't revealed all details about the device--pricing information still isn't available--but it's likely released just enough to pique the interest of those wanting better storage performance.

Specifications

Model No. SST-ECM23
LED indicator PCIe M.2 SSD Read / Write LED: Blue blinking
Interface PCI Express x4 via full size x16 pinout
SSD Interface M.2 (NGFF)
Module Key PCIe x4 NVMe-based M key
Operating system support Microsoft Windows 7 (32 bit/64 bit), 8, 8.1,10 (32 bit/64 bit) or future release versions
Mac OS 10.2.8 or above
Linux
Support Length of M.2 SSD 30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm
Dimensions 
(WxHxD) and Weight
Heatsink with PCB: 4.1 x .4 x 1.7 inches (105 x 11 x 44mm), 52g
Thermal Pad
Thermal Conductivity1.5W/m.k
Operating Temperature-40°C ~ 220°C
Dimensions (WxHxD) and Net Weight

Charcoal Pad:2.8 x 0.02 x 0.8 inches (70 x 0.5 x 20mm), 2g  

Blue Pad:2.8 x 0.04 x 0.8 inches (70 x 1 mm x 20mm), 3.6g

Gray Pad:2.8 x 0.06 x 0.8 inches (70 x 1.5 x 20mm), 5.5g

The ECM23 allows M.2 storage to run via PCIe connections, so performance chasers don't have to buy new motherboards (most probably don't mind buying new components, but the budget-constrained might like to simply buy a riser card and SSD instead of upgrading much of their system). Many motherboards are often limited to just one M.2 slot, but using a riser card like the ECM23 can help get around that limitation.

The ECM23 is compatible with AHCI over PCIe and NVMe but doesn't support plain-Jane SATA connections, according to SilverStone, which said the AHCI support is "used for PCIe SSDs and interfaced through the AHCI driver and provided PCIe lanes, providing backward compatibility with widespread SATA support in operating systems at the cost of not delivering optimal performance."

SilverStone also tested the ECM23 with several Samsung SSDs: the Samsung SM951 and S961Samsung 960 EVO and Samsung 960 Pro were all said to "work optimally" with this riser card.

In addition to offering PCIe compatibility, the ECM23 offers a thermal pad and aluminum heat sink to improve the connected SSD's performance and help prevent it from overheating. Three pads are available: a small charcoal pad, a medium-sized blue pad and a large gray pad  (good luck telling the difference between "charcoal" and "gray")that are 0.5, 1 and 1.5mm thick, respectively, and vary considerably in weight.

SilverStone's announcement comes after Gigabyte revealed two new riser cards of its own, the CMT4034 and CMT4032, in July, though neither is currently available, and their prices also have yet to be revealed. So it's clear that people interested in M.2 riser cards will soon have more options--the question is how much that extra performance will cost them. 

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