Some of the best SSDs, especially PCIe 5.0 drives based on the Phison PS5026-E26 controller, crash instead of thermal throttling when run without a cooler. Initially, only the Corsair MP700 exhibited this behavior. However, it became clear that the problem was more widespread and was also affecting his other Phison E26-based SSDs.
german press computer based Seagate FireCuda 540, Gigabyte Aorus Gen5 10000, and Adata Legend 970 were also found to have shutdown issues. This was expected since the PCIe 5.0 SSD uses the same Phison E26 controller. FireCuda 540, Aorus Gen5 10000, and Leged 970 are still on firmware 22. Seagate has not responded to Computerbase as to when the new firmware will be available, but Gigabyte has promised it will arrive “soon.”
In summary, this issue only occurs when using PCIe 5.0 SSDs without cooling. If the drive gets too hot it will shut down to protect the SSD controller, NAND and data. If the PCIe 5.0 drive is properly cooled by the included heatsink or his M.2 heatsink on the motherboard, this shouldn’t be a problem. In any case, Phison has released new firmware (version 22.1) that ensures throttling of PCIe 5.0 SSDs rather than just crashes that can lead to data loss.
Firmware 22.1 introduces link-state thermal throttling which essentially slows down the PCIe interface speed. For example, going from PCIe 5.0 to PCIe 4.0 to PCIe 3.0 to lower the physical layer (PHY) temperature without throttling the processor clock. This obviously impacts the performance of PCIe 5.0 SSDs, but we also need to prevent shutdowns to protect the integrity of the SSD controller. According to Computerbase, the new firmware 22.1 has a temperature threshold of 85 degrees Celsius.
Initially, the Crucial T700 had no issues. PCIe 5.0 will throttle until the drive is running at hard drive speed, but will not thermally shut down. Computerbase he ran further tests on a Crucial T700 and had similar failures, so it’s possible the drive also needs the firmware 22.1 update.
With the new firmware 22.1, Phison E26 based SSDs should provide acceptable levels of performance even at high temperatures. The Corsair MP700 delivered sequential read and write speeds of over 10 GB/s and 2 GB/s respectively, even without a cooler. Note that this is a safety measure in case temperatures get out of hand and you should always use a cooler with PCIe 5.0 SSDs.