With every generation of ROG motherboards created, ROG pushes performance and innovation to the next level. The latest Z270 motherboards are no exception, as more motherboards offer dual M.2 slots as standard. Power users want more speed and usually look to M.2 PCIe SSDs (as opposed to 2.5-inch SATA SSDs) as they can be up to four times faster, but being power users - one may not be enough for the OS and all your games and programs. Some may upgrade to dual M.2 for the speed you get from two PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration. Others may use M.2 SSDs purely for aesthetic reasons or chassis restrictions, since there are no power or data cables required and M.2 SSDs barely take up any space. Whatever your reason may be, dual M.2 is going to make a lot of people grin from ear to ear. So there's the performance, now where's the innovation?
Well, it just so happens that ROG came up with not one, but four new innovative solutions for M.2 cooling. Each of these four solutions are ASUS-exclusive. As M.2 SSDs increase in speed and storage capacity, naturally they also get hotter. The engineers at ROG got to thinking and the first solution may come across as a little extreme, but on the ROG Maximus IX Extreme, what else did you expect? This motherboard was created for liquid-cooling and is the first motherboard to come with a monoblock, not only does that cool the processor and VRMs, it cools the M.2 SSD! There's separate section at the bottom (aptly labelled ''Extreme') where you can liquid-cool your M.2, liquid-cool! This is the most extreme solution out of the four; the SSD controller temperature can to lowered by up to as much as 42.8°C and can sustain full load for the longest without throttling.
All four solutions have been tested to perform within 3% of max performance (using Samsung 950 Pro 512GB), sustaining full-load without throttling for at least 350 seconds. In such a demanding test, if without any cooling the SSD can throttle within merely a few seconds.
DIMM.2 + Memory Cooler
On the Maximus IX Apex, the second solution consists of a daughterboard dubbed DIMM.2 to hold up to two M.2 SSDs which slots into a modified DDR4 slot (please don't insert memory into this decoy slot) wired directly to the PCh, and is situated next to the actually DDR4 memory slots. The DIMM.2 slot is intentionally designed to be reversed to avoid accidental insertion of DDR4 memory.
Such a design allows for memory coolers to be installed over the top to blow directly onto the M.2 SSDs.
3D-Printed M.2 Fan Holder
Selected ASUS and ROG motherboards such as the Maximus IX Hero allow for a 3D-printed M.2 fan holder. All you need to do is have it printed in the color and material of your choice. Here is the free downloadable design. Learn more about 3D-printed parts or join the community to discuss or contribute with your designs here!
Finally we have the ROG Strix Z270I with a new Double-Decker heatsink design. This mini-ITX motherboard introduces a new way to cool the M.2, and that's by combining that heatsink with the PCH heatsink - two heats with one sink (or something like that). This space-saving design is innovative and the premium finish looks great. As you as reading it, you might be thinking - isn't that one heatsink dissipating heat from two things? Don't worry, the middle section is insulated so heat is evenly distributed.
For more info about the latest Z270 (Kaby Lake) motherboards, click here.