With the launch of Intel’s Kaby Lake processors for desktop computers hardware manufacturers have released a number of new motherboards with varying improvements.

One of these manufacturers is MSI and one of the new features on its latest Z270 motherboards is an M.2 Shield.

The shield is – by MSIs own claims – a means to lower temperatures of an M.2 solid state drive and “avoid any possible throttling, causing it to slow down.”

The idea sounds great in theory. A shield with cooling pads should help to dissipate heat but when we first saw the motherboards something struck as, shall we say odd.

MSI claims the M.2 Shield will lower the temperatures of an M.2 SSD.

For those that aren’t aware an M.2 SSD has flash storage chips on both sides of the stick.

Editor in chief at Gamers Nexus, Steve Burke has tested the claims that MSI makes about its M.2 Shield and found that contrary to the manufacturers claims, the shield actually increases the temperatures of the drive.

To be clear the shield does reduce the heat on the side of the SSD (nominally) which is touching the thermal pads but where the SSD is not touching the thermal pads Gamers Nexus saw a heat increase.

“The claim is that this would reduce the chance of thermal throttling, and from this , it could increase,” says Burke.

After testing a Kingston HyperX Predator SSD with and without the shield, Burke found that temperatures at the bottom of the SSD with the shield fitted were four to five degrees warmer than without the shield.

“The only thing that this is shielding the SSD from is proper cooling. MSI should either ditch it altogether or they should make it wrap around the entire M.2 stick,” says Burke.

At this point we need to offer a bit of perspective. These tests were conducted with just one SSD and may not hold true for all M.2 sticks. There’s also the fact that MSI’s marketing team and development team weren’t communicating clearly, something Burke points out as well.

You can watch Burke’s full analysis in the video below and then let us know. Is this just a marketing gimmick that could damage your components or do you think more testing needs to be done? Let us know in the comments below.


[Image – CC BY 2.0 Soreen D]