4TB - 8TB SSDs for Librem 14 - Heatsink Requirements

Dear all,

I urgently need larger SSDs for my Librem 14 (4TB - 8 TB), but most modern SSDs require a heatsink, which Librem 14’s SSD slot does not accomodate. The SSDs are used primarily for storage, not large gaming apps, videos, etc. I use my Librem mainly for office use. Speed is not of the essence (being used mainly for storage), but, for me, endurance is important, as is the quality of the product.

For instance, Sabrent’s Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 8TB SSD has very good specs and sports an impressive endurance. It comes in 2 versions (with and without heatsink), but the documentation Rocket 4 Plus - Sabrent states that this SSD needs a heatsink, which can be either on the SSD itself or on the motherboard. Now I see from the pictures that the Librem 14 has a large heatsink over the motheboard, but I am not sure whether it is located over the SSD slots as well. Unfortunately, nobody at Purism so far could authoritatively tell me whether this means that I could use this SSD on the Librem 14. Unfortunately, nobody likes to release detailed specification datasheets either. When I ask the SSD manufacturers for details, they invariably refer me to Purism.

I am not an expert on SSD engineering, so I would be very grateful if anyone, perhaps with an engineering background, knowledgeable about SSDs could tell me:

  1. whether the Librem 14’s heatsink is sufficient to cool down an SSD which needs a heatsink (albeit on the motherboard).
  2. If not, do you have any other ideas how I could cool it down, for instance by regulating the cooling fan via my PureOS?

Perhaps I should say that Sabrent was kind enough to write in their answer that the Rocket 4 Plus will support the following temperature ranges:

Operating Temperature: 0 - 70 C
Storage Temperature: 40 - 85 C

  1. So perhaps one of Purism’s engineers could advise on how to make sure that the Librem’s temperature could be maintained between these levels and whether the Librem 14’s heatsink on the motherboard and the 2 fans would achieve this ?

  2. Specifically having regard to the fact that using a PCIe 4.0 SSD on a PCIe 3.0 computer will mean that the full speed of the Sabrent SSDs will never be reached but will remain at the PCIe 3 speeds. Does that mean that, perhaps, a heatsink is not even needed (even if it were needed in a PCIe 4.0 laptop)?

Thanks a bundle!

You might go for a lower speed SSD that presumably will generate less heat.

For example, this SSD from Crucial looks like it will fit in the L14:

Dear Amos,

Thans a lot. I don’t mind buying a lower speed SSD (as noted, speed is not my main concern). Unfortunately, Crucial seems to have low endurance as a result of using QLC memory, but, even more importantly, they don’t seem to support 256 bit encryption, as per this review from 2022 Crucial P3 Plus Review | PCMag , and to me, that is fatal.

There are indeed a number of (even 8TB) SSDs out there that I could use, but I am looking for something more modern with a longer endurance, as preservation of data quality is very important to me (plus, 8TB SSDs are still quite expensive!). Most importantly, though, I would like to understand from an engineering point of view how hot the SSDs would get in the Librem 14 when used for normal office applications and up to what technical specs I could take the risk to buy a more modern SSD while still being compatible with the Librem 14’s engineering specs (given that the Librem 14 seems to have a relatively large heatsink and 2 fans, from what I can see…). Unfortunately, Purism doesn’t disclose these things in their specs, and neither do Sabrent, Corsair, Crucial, etc…

Anyway, thanks for replying so quickly and very best regards

In any case, I believe that the NVMe slot in the Librem 14 is PCIe 3.0. So if you bought a PCIe 4.0 SSD, you won’t be able to benefit from the speed (other than in the future if the SSD is migrated to a subsequent computer).

Does that mean that a PCIe 4.0 SSD would be safe without a heatsink? I don’t know.

It does seem to be more difficult these days to get PCIe 3.0. Most manufacturers seem to be doing mostly PCIe 4.0.

I think a lot of commentators would not recommend encryption in the drive, since it is then unable to be audited and may be difficult or impossible to upgrade if an encryption algorithm becomes too weak / deprecated / cryptographically broken.

If you are using e.g. LUKS (encryption by the operating system software) then you don’t derive much, if any, benefit from encryption in the drive.

You would probably want to contact Purism for that.

Dear Irvine,
Thanks for your comment on encryption - I did not know that upgrades were not possible on an encrypted drives and will read more about this. At any rate, your concerns will not apply in my case since I plan to install a VeraCrypt container as a repository only for my document files, and not for the OS, Virtual Machines and other apps installed on the Librem.

I had contacted Mladen on my question but, unfortunately only got very general answers - e.g. that the Librem 14 ‘presumably’ does not support SSDs with a heatsink due to its slim M.2 slot, that allowing SSDs to heat up will degrade them; that Purism hasn’t tested Sabrent and Corsair SSDs on the Librem 14 but that Mladen ‘did not see any reason why they wouldn’t work’. So this was not an answer from an engineer’s perspective.

I didn’t say that upgrades to the firmware of the drive are definitely not possible. They may not be possible. They may be possible but the drive is abandonware and so no upgrade is available. They may be possible but only by running Microsoft Windows.

Edit: Paragraph edited to clarify that I am talking about the drive firmware - because that is relevant if the encryption is implemented in the drive itself.

Most people just use LUKS on at least the root partition.

Or at least … how to monitor the temperature of the SSD so that if it threatens to go out of operating range, you can take some action, in the extreme shut down the computer. Looks like smartctl can display the temperature.

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If speed isn’t an issue and cooling might be, why not get a small NVME external usb-c enclosure?

Of course, this would be the alternative, but I need to travel a lot and prefer to have everything safely compacted on one drive. It is easy to lose data if you need to be very mobile and you have all kinds of peripherals hanging about…

I will use the second SSD to implement a (software) RAID 1 system for added security.

Dear Irvine,
Thanks for the wink to smartctl.

Yes, I would use this to control the temperature or manage the fans, but before planning on fall-back solutions, I would like to understand, first, whether it even makes sense to use a modern SSD like the Sabrent on the Librem 14 from a heat perspective. So far, at Purism, nobody could tell me if the Librem 14’s heatsink covers the M.2 slots and, if so, (or even if not), whether the motherboard-based heatsinks and the 2 fans can bring down the operating temperature in the Librem 14 to 40-85 C as the Sabrent SSDs require. These (and other brands as well) still cost a hefty $1000 nowadays, so I would like to be sure that I am not blowing my investment.

I am contacting the community because Purism hasn’t responded in the level of detail which I need… If anyone knows the contact details of an engineer at Purism whom I could contact directly, I’d happily do that…

I am not sure I understand you: Are you saying that the currently sold Librem 14s are abandonware and cannot be upgraded? If so, why would you say this? And why would I want to use Windows in the Liberm?

Probably because they don’t know. Unless they have spent the time and money to go out and buy a $1000 NVMe drive and then monitor it for X hours or days under controlled load, they could not be sure. If a company is not sure, it is risky for them to tell you that it is OK - because you will get grumpy with them if it turns out that the $1000 drive runs too hot and destroys itself.

It would appear to be something of a misunderstanding. I edited the original paragraph above to make clearer what I was talking about.

No one would ever want to use Windows in any computer. :rofl:

What I meant is: It has been known to occur in recorded history that the firmware of a hardware component needs to be upgraded and the manufacturer provides new firmware but the manufacturer provides a program to apply the firmware upgrade that is a program that runs under Windows.

I agree, but as Purism does not offer higher capacity SSDs, they could still provide reasonable answers which their technicians would surely know but I might not, such as how to control the temperature in the Librem 14 to below 70 degrees Celsius or whether different SSDs generate the same broad heat spectrum when running at PCIe speeds such that they would need a heatsink if the cooling system in the Librem 14 is not sufficient, as this is general engineering knowledge which I do not have. I already know that they haven’t tested other SSDs on the Librem, so there is no way that I would be able to succeed in legal action, even if I wanted to (which I don’t - just trying to solve a problem !).

Couldn’t agree with you more !!!

Ahh, I understand, thanks for the edit. Yes, and this is indeed an issue to be considered because these kinds of firmware updates must be compatible with PureOS as well. Which would mean that it is not advisable to employ an SSD of a manufacturer with which Purism does not have a strategic (OEM) relationship… Good point ! Thanks…

One thing to keep in mind is that the Librem 14 only has a PCIe 3.0 connection, and heat sinks didn’t start to become common until PCIe 4.0 drives started appearing because their higher speeds generated more heat. For example, the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus has serial read and write speeds of 7000 and 6850 MB/s with PCIe 4.0, but only 3400 and 3000 MB/s with PCIe 3.0. See:

I don’t know if the Phison controller in the Sabrant Rocket 4 Plus allows you to enable APST (Autonomous Power State Transition) or not, but that will also limit the amount of power (and thus the amount of heat).

Install nvme-cli:
sudo apt install nvme-cli

Then get info about your drive:
sudo nvme id-ctrl /dev/nvme0n1
Where /dev/nvme0n1 is the name of the device file for your NVMe drive. You can use lsblk to discover the device file being used by the drive.

Check if APST is enabled:
sudo nvme get-feature -f 0x0c -H /dev/nvme0n1

Enable APST:
sudo nvme set-feature -f 0x0c -v=1 /dev/nvme0n1


Dear Amos,
A very belated thanks for your valuable comment regarding APST. I’ll try it out. I actually ended up purchasing the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB because the Sabrent 8TB SSDs which I had intended to purchase because they are less secure. For example, the Sabrent is only TCG Pyrite 1.0 compliant unlike the Samsung 970 EVO Plus which supports TCG Opal 2.0 drive encryption. However with regards to the latter, I found out that Samsung’s marketing claims have not been corroborated by the CMVP database, so one should take these with a grain of salt.
Very best regards

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Sure, but if you are using Linux, sedutil is no longer maintained by the Drive Trust Alliance.