Disk cloning to SSD in M.2 USB Adapter - too fast, too hot!


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lrc
lrc
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Hello Macrium Development Team,

I want to suggest that you add some way to throttle/limit data transfer speed when cloning from one local drive to another.  Especially when cloning to a SSD drive in external M.2 USB Adapter this is very much needed - because modern SSD drives with extremely fast transfer rates can become extremely hot during long/continuous operations such as a drive clone.

I encountered this as a severe problem recently.  I have an older SSD in my notebook PC and wanted to upgrade to new/larger model.  I used an external M.2 USB adapter for the "to" drive (which I think is a pretty typical situation).  Some minutes into the cloning procedure (only about 10% complete) the new SSD in the M.2 adapter failed which cased the Macrium cloning process to fail. The M.2 adapter was extremely hot to touch, I'm sure the new SSD stopped working due to its internal thermal protection being tripped.

The fact that the new SSD became hot is not a problem/failure in itself - modern SSDs consume lots of power to achieve their fast transfer rates - it is usual and expected that they generate lots of heat.  The problem is that there's not enough heat sinking capability in a simple external M.2 USB adapter to dissipate all the heat being generated. 

The only practical solution here would be to throttle the data transfer speed during the cloning process,  so that the new SSD in external M.2 USB enclosure does not become too hot.  Unfortunately Macrium Reflect does not offer this option.

I think more and more of your customers will be encountering this same situation as cloning to faster M.2 SSDs becomes the norm.  How will we be able to accomplish this cloning using external M.2 USB adapters if the SSDs always become too hot?

I know it is counter-intuitive to suggest a data transfer speed throttling (down) capability in backup/cloning software - usually we want the cloning/backup process to go as fast as possible.   But in the case of cloning to a new M.2 SSD in external USB adapter,  we need a way to control the heat generated and the only way to do that is by throttling the data transfer rate down - by a lot!  In my case I don't care about the speed - I care much more about actually being able to complete the operation successfully without my new SSD going into thermal shutdown.

Please consider adding a data rate throttling feature to your cloning so that we can manage the thermal problem.

Actually,  I recommend you add data rate throttling capability to all of your operations:  Backup, restore, cloning.   Reason:  We might even experience thermal problems with internal/installed M.2 SSDs - especially if they have just started to fail with read errors (bad blocks).  Having some control to make a slower/cooler last emergency backup would be a wonderful way to help avoid disaster.

Thanks for your consideration on this!

LRC





Beardy
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Easy way to throttle the speed of the clone in the interim:

Plug USB to M.2 adapter into USB 2.0 port.

You might also wish to contact the drive manufacturer, cloning an old drive to a new one is surely an expected first use of the new drive, and arguably throttling writes due to thermal constraints/conditions is the job of the device firmware, rather than random software which could be as dumb as dd under Linux.  If the device can't sustain being written to, that strikes me as a problem with the device.
Edited 28 December 2020 6:22 PM by Beardy
jphughan
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I personally don’t think it’s reasonable to expect all developers who offer I/O-intensive applications to offer ways to work around what seems like improper thermal management on the SSD itself. Yes, M.2 SSDs get quite hot — which is why many USB enclosures are made of aluminum and/or include thermal pads that can be placed on the SSD to help with heat transfer. But that’s meant to allow SSDs to perform better for longer. It is NOT meant to keep them from failing. It’s the responsibility of the SSD manufacturer to throttle their product’s performance appropriately to avoid failure if temperatures get too high. That’s how CPUs and GPUs work. If I play a game on my PC and my CPU and GPU overheat, I don’t blame the game developer for creating a graphics-intensive game. That would be ridiculous.

So no, “the only practical solution here” is not to implement application-side throttling. Another solution would be to get an SSD that has better performance management based on temperatures. And even that sets aside the fact that you claim to be certain that the failure during cloning was caused by heat even though it was apparently a single failure, which is not really enough data to be certain of anything. I have M.2 SSDs in enclosures like yours. They also get quite hot, but they don’t fail.
Edited 28 December 2020 7:24 PM by jphughan
lrc
lrc
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You guys are correct that the SSD (a brand new Samsung 970 EVO Plus) should be able to manage its thermal conditions.   But that's a "perfect world" scenario where the SSD manufacturer has correctly modeled their design for the thermal behavior of the USB adapter/enclosure (which they probably don't - they model it for the final use scenario where the SSD has a thermal sink to a much larger motherboard),  the USB enclosure designer has done a good job designing thermal transfer between their internal PCB (which is what the SSD heat-sinks to) and the surrounding aluminum enclosure - which is impossible for the usual type of design where the internal PCB simply slides into the enclosure.

In a situation like mine,  where I'm trying to deal with "imperfect world" situation and the SSD/adapter are clearly not handling the thermal conditions well, it would be so nice to have a knob to throttle back the transfer rate so that I could complete the clone successfully.  Without this,  my alternative is to go out and buy a bunch of different M.2 USB adapters hoping I can find one that's got a superior heat sinking design - this is not a very practical solution.   A simple throttle in Macrium Reflect would be so much better/easier.  



jphughan
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I have this one. I found it on Amazon for appreciably less than the price advertised on the vendor site: https://plugable.com/products/usbc-nvme

If I were looking now, I might try to find one with a Thunderbolt Titan Ridge chipset for high performance with TB3 systems and backward compatibility with USB systems — or wait for a USB4 enclosure — but if performance is the enemy in your scenario, then you might find this enclosure useful. It’s served me well.
lrc
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Thanks for the link - looks nice.

Nonetheless, I would still like to suggest a data-rate throttle feature.

Beardy
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Well you've requested it, we'll see if the devs decide it's needed or not.

Since I got curious though, I did a little digging, & it turns out Samsung already implement temperature based throttling on the controller itself, based on measured temperatures, rather than user guesswork with a slider in software that doesn't know the drive temperature. Temperatures from 50°C up to 70°C are considered "normal operation" & it's not critical till the high 90s.

They also claim that the copper heat spreader/label they supply factory fitted is sufficient heatsinking for their NVME drives all on its own & shouldn't be removed or replaced, they're sufficiently adamant about that that removing it to make e.g. a motherboard or other third party heatsink fit actually voids their warrantee.

This leads me to suspect you're an unfortunate victim of an early failure, which is unfortunate, but goes with the "bathtub curve" the reliability of electronic devices follow & the early failure you suffered was probably coincidental.  At least Samsung offer a decent warrantee, so all should not be lost, at worst a delay for the RMA process.


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