Unboxing and a Closer Look

The T-FORCE CARDEA IOPS 1TB PCIe SSD arrives as a module that will fit most motherboards that support 2280 (W:22mm x L:80mm) PCIe M.2 drives using the graphene cooling solution.

The CARDEA IOPS is a PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD.  Unlike most SSDs that arrive in a blister pack, the IOPS arrives in a small box.  It gives some details and highlights T-FORCE’s new 5-year SSD warranty.  Emphasis are placed on the both the super-slim graphene heat sink and the aluminum finned heatsink which will provide significant cooling improvement over a bare drive – 9% graphene/15% aluminum.

The other side of the pack gives some specifications that show it is certainly fast for a Gen 3 x4 NVMe 1.3 PCIe SSD. The CARDEA IOPS specs many times faster than many SATA III based SSDs with Read speeds up to 3400MB/s and Write speeds up to 300MB/s which are the limits of current enthusiast 10th generation Intel motherboards.

The Team Group CARDEA IOPS PCIe 1TB SSD modules are set onto a blue PCB with a very thin graphene heatsink that measures approximately 4mm total width in thickness.  The aluminum finned heatsink has a much higher profile around 13mm thick, but gives 6% better cooling over the thick graphene heatsink.

A sticker warns that the 5 year warranty will be void if it is removed.  There is no purpose to removing it since all of the memory modules and controllers are on the other side.

The controller and the flash memory modules are installed on only one side of a blue PCB.  The IOPS is only available as a 1TB SSD.  3D NAND is featured and the it supports S.M.A.R.T. function, garbage collection (GC), TRIM, LDPC error correction, and Data Protection for a long life, hopefully well-beyond TeamGroup’s 5-year warranty.

Make sure to use a magnetic screwdriver for installation.  We actually lost our tiny screw at the very end of this evaluation and have to hunt for it even though we followed our own advice.

After installing the CARDEA IOPS, the user may need to format it before using it.  If you are planning to clone it, make sure the source and the target disks are both GUID or convert one of them so they are the same.  The almost paper-thin graphene heatsink helps keep temperatures lower by transferring the heat to itself and then radiating heat better than the individual modules can.  However, if you want slightly better cooling, then you would pick the much thicker aluminum heatsink with passive cooling fins that have a much larger area – but only 6% better cooling capabilities.

Graphene vs Aluminum Heatsink Cooling

We think the thicker heatsink is more for show or “looks” and more that is needed to be practical.  We never saw any thermal issues with the graphene heatsink, and we like it because it is so thin and will fit behind any video card, but if you want to show it off, perhaps this one will be more attractive.


Using an infrared thermometer we saw the graphene heatsink reach temperatures peaking in the very hottest area of the ceramic heatsink at ~68.9C which is acceptable. We would definitely not recommend running the CARDEA IOPS without any heatsink since temperatures above 70C are too hot, and an SSD’s speed will throttle. The temperatures of the IOPS cannot be accurately measured using an infrared thermometer since the aluminum heatsink is too thick.  It reached 60.6C in its hottest area.  However, the performance with either heatsink is identical so we have to surmise that the graphene heatsink is sufficient to keep the SSD from throttling.  However, hidden behind a video card, or in a very warm room, the aluminum heatsink may come in very handy.

We think that the CARDEA IOPS makes use of its graphene and/or finned heatsinks better than the CARDEA Liquid SSD does of its liquid filled chamber which appears to be primarily built for show.  We also think that either the graphene or the black aluminum heatsink looks awesome in any PC.

Lets look at our test configuration next.