MSI has announced that it is to add a heat spreader to the M.2 storage slot on selected future motherboards, as a means of addressing concerns surrounding thermal throttling of high-performance storage in heat-heavy gaming rigs.
Due to arrive on the company's next-generation MSI Gaming-branded motherboards, the M.2 Shield - as the device is known - is designed to mate with any M.2 solid-state drive (SSD) in order to reduce the chances of performance throttling as a result of thermal load. Considering the company's positioning of the M.2 slot right in amongst the more traditional PCI Express slots, where it will be exposed to heat from the system's graphics processor, that's perhaps more of a requirement than you may think.
The M.2 Shield, according to a promotional image posted to the company's Twitter account late yesterday
, takes the form of a simple metal cover with pre-applied thermally-conductive gap-filling pad. Designed to be compatible with any length of M.2 SSD, the Shield is hinged at the bottom and clamps down over the top of the device in order to give the chips a larger surface area to bleed off excess heat. Oddly, though, the M.2 Shield isn't exactly a heatsink but more of a heat spreader: you'll find no fins on its surface, which at least means it won't run the risk of fouling on the bottom of a graphics card or other PCI Express device.
Full details on which models of MSI motherboards will be getting the M.2 Shield feature, for which the company says it has applied for a patent, are not yet available.