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Industry's First Dual-Width NVMe Cooling Solution

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

HighPoint’s SSD7749 Series PCIe Gen4 RAID AICs feature the Industry’s First Dual-Width NVMe Cooling Solution

Historically, the term “Dual-width” has been synonymous with high-end PCIe GPU’s. This term refers to a PCIe card’s physical size, which as the name implies, requires the equivalent of two PCIe slots. It is rarely, if ever, even mentioned when discussing a storage or connectivity AIC (add-in card).

However, the continuous advancement of NVMe technology has resulted in a drastic rethink about the hardware architecture of your typical NVMe AIC. In just a few short years, the performance of a single SSD has doubled from 3500MB/s to 7000MB/s. And, in the very near future, this will double once more to 14,000MB/s. It is becoming increasingly obvious that conventional single-width HBA architecture will be unable to keep pace with demanding NVMe applications. Faster, high-capacity SSDs utilize increasingly higher-density NAND, and generate vast quantities of waste heat under load.

Simply put, a dual-width form-factor allows a significantly more robust cooling system; the added interior space can accommodate larger, more efficient heat sinks and powerful fans to promote superior air flow. If your goal is to unlock the full performance potential of NVMe media, these factors cannot be ignored. Our new series of PCIe Gen4 NVMe RAID AICs have adopted a double-width architecture for this very reason.

Introducing the Industry’s First Dual-Width NVMe AICs

HighPoint’s revolutionary SSD7749E E1.S RAID AIC represents a major leap forward in NVMe storage technology, and was designed specifically meet the demanding performance, reliability, and capacity requirements of industrial servers and edge-computing workflows. Adopting a double-wide form factor was the only logical choice for single-PCIe slot AIC solution, and enabled our engineers to develop the product without compromise.

Each AIC is enclosed within a full-length aluminum casing designed to protect critical hardware from high-stress working environments. The casing incorporates a powerful, precision engineered cooling system and ingenious, tool-less SSD loading system designed to accommodate high-density, dual-sided PCIe Gen4 E1.S NVMe media of any width and capacity.

The dual-width layout is not a new concept. Dual-width graphic adapters have been available for years, and could now be considered the “norm”. This is why the majority of modern workstation and server platforms are designed to accommodate this type of PCIe device. However, the SSD7749 design is rather unique in this sense, as it is the first commercially available NVMe AIC to utilize this layout.

It should be noted that SSD7749 Series AICs do not require the full physical space provided by two PCIe slots. In fact, the cards are only ½ inch or so wider than the SSD7540 M.2 RAID HBA, which uses a single-width form factor, and is approximately 1 inch wide. This additional space provided by reserving two slots provides a virtual “cushion” between the SSD7749 Series AIC and neighboring PCIe devices, which as a bonus, improves airflow within the system chassis.

Dedicated Dual-Width Cooling System Eliminates Thermal Throttling

As NVMe technology continues to proliferate across vertical markets, the demand for a faster, denser storage solution that utilizes compact form-factor M.2 SSDs and new DC class E1.S media, is on the rise. However, such solutions require a much more robust and efficient cooling system. High-density PCIe Gen4 NVMe media generates a considerable volume of waste heat under load; successfully managing this heat is the key to unlocking the full performance potential of NVMe storage. In response to this growing demand, HighPoint’s product development team have engineered an entirely new double-width cooling solution for SSD7749 series NVMe RAID AICs. Designed to drastically improve cooling performance over existing single-width solutions, this innovative new system ensures high-density PCIe Gen4 E1.S and M.2 22110 media consistently deliver maximum throughput for extended I/O sessions.

Precision Engineered “Ultra-Cooling” Fan System: SSD7749 Series NVMe RAID AICs are equipped with robust, high-quality, low-decibel cooling fans designed to rapidly inject and condense cool air within the casing,and expel waste heat from the ventilated PCIe bracket.

This “Ultra-Cooling” fan system was engineered to perform optimally in demanding 24/7 workflows while generating minimal noise.

Vertical SSD Slot Design: The dual-width architecture of SSD7749 Series NVMe RAID AICs incorporates a unique socket design that enables NVMe media to be arranged vertically, similar to how memory is installed into a conventional motherboard. This “upright” vertical positioning ensures that the cool, condensed air circulating within the casing reaches both sides of the SSD.

The “upright” vertical positioning enables the cool air circulated within the casing to reach both sides of E1.S and M.2 SSDs

Direct End-to-End Airflow Channeling: A pair of powerful, low-decibel cooling fans that are integrated directly into the casing’s “door” mechanism, which swings up and away from the AIC to expose the SSD loading bay. These fans draw in large volumes of cool air from the platform’s chassis, and direct it towards centrally mounted heat sink. The cool air is then condensed and circulated throughout the interior of the casing. Waste heat is drawn away from the SSDs and critical componentry and rapidly expelled through the “rear” of the AIC, via the vented PCIe bracket.

Waste heat is drawn away from the SSDs and critical componentry and rapidly expelled through the “rear” of the AIC, via the vented PCIe bracket.

The hardware side of this cooling solution was designed to work seamlessly with HighPoint’s SHI (Storage Health Inspector) software interface, which allows administrators to quickly assess the operating status, endurance rating and temperature of NV Me devices via S.M.A.R.T. technology, in real-time.

SHI allows administrators to change the temperature warning thresholds, which can be adjusted for each hosted SSD. These determine how and when the interface will notify you if one or more SSDs is running hot, and adjust fan speed accordingly. It can also be tied into the SSD7749’s audible (beeper) alarm and the WebGUI/CLI’s Event Log and Email notification system. This tool is essential for maintaining high data-throughput in high-stress workloads, and as it is another way to keep the threat of thermal throttling at bay.

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Our new series of PCIe Gen4 NVMe RAID AICs have adopted a double-width architecture for this very reason. drift boss

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