Unboxing, Heatsink installation, and Temperatures Under Load

The T-FORCE CARDEA ZERO Z440 comes in a small box that advertises PCIe 4.0 and a copper graphine heatsink as pictured on the front. Here is the back of the box which warns the buyer that the up to 5,000 MB/s / 4,400 MB/s transfer speeds can vary according to hardware/software conditions and are only to be used for basic reference.  It offers a 5-year warranty and demonstrates the heatsink – a thin copper-colored Graphene foil – that will allow the SSD to be placed behind a video card, under an integrated motherboard heatsink, or into the PS5. Here is a closer look at the CARDEA ZERO Z440 in its inner packaging with the heatsink on top of the NVMe SSD. The front of the CARDEA ZERO Z440 carries a sticker which warns that the warranty may be void if removed.  It’s pretty meaningless as a restriction since there are modules on both sides of the PCB.

The ICs are on both sides of the PCB and the Z440 Pro uses a second-generation 96-layer 3D BiCS4 NAND manufacturing process.  It uses Phison’s PS5016-E16 to achieve its rated speeds.  

The CARDEA ZERO Z440 comes with just one heatsink unlike the regular A440 which comes with a second finned heatsink.  The graphene heatsink is covered with a lot of unnecessary text, but it is designed to be thin and hidden behind a video card.  It is also ideal for installation in a PlayStation 5.  

The graphene heatsink is good-looking and easily attaches to the SSD.   Installing the heatsink is simple; remove the plastic covering from the sticky thermal interface material and apply it to the heatsink taking care to cover all the modules. It is important to use a heatsink as temperatures will easily exceed 80C without one.  But using the graphene heatsink behind a video card only drops temperatures by about 5C.  Stressing the ZERO Z440 by copying 100GB over and over resulted in temps of 80C.  The ZERO Z440 is as difficult to cool as CARDEA Ceramic C440 (5,000MBps/4400MBps) which also has ICs on both sides of its PCB and which also runs too hot to be cooled by its supplied graphene heatsink.  A ceramic heatsink would have been a better choice.

We measured the temperatures using Crystal Disk Info and Hardware Info 64 which were in agreement, and the SSD became much too hot to touch.  In fact, we saw significant loss of performance as the SSD throttled its speeds in an attempt to cool down.  We also tested the CARDEA ZERO Z440 with the finned heatsink the A440 came with, and temperatures stayed well below 70C under the most demanding conditions without throttling. 

Just as with the CARDEA A440 Special Series, we didn’t know why TeamGroup decided not to include an additional heatsink with the regular A440 but not with the ZERO Z440, so we let them know that we found the graphene heatsink inadequate.  They replied (regarding the A440 Special Series which also applies to the Z440):

“We suggest that you use the NVMe heatsink that comes with ASUS ROG Maximus Apex motherboard, and also please suggest users do it this way also.

The CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD is originally designed within the PS5 environment, so when it comes with higher data transfers, the temperature will go higher than expected.”

It would have been far better to include a T-FORCE heatsink that is supplied with other PCIe 4.0 SSDs which will tame temperatures to below 70C.

So the Z440 should be fine with a PS5 but not with a PC.  If your motherboard has an integrated NVMe heatsink, you will want to use it.  If not, buy an aftermarket NVMe heatsink if you are doing intensive SSD work.  They should install easily over the ZERO Z440‘s graphene heatsink to keep it cool and it will never throttle due to heat. Using the massive NVMe heatsink included with the ASUS ROG Maximus Apex motherboard (above), we never saw temperatures rise above 50C.  After installing the CARDEA ZERO Z440, the user may need to format it before use.  If you are planning to clone it, make sure both disks are GUID or convert one of them first. Lets look at our test configuration next.


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