A Closer Look
A Closer Look
Team Group put together a nice attractive package for the Cardea Liquid. The drive also looks really good, and on the surface, you would believe this is a nice niche product that would look great in your system. The black area at the back slides with a firm click at each end and exposes the filler tap.
Where It Starts To Go Wrong
The Phison PS5012-E12 controller uses a 28nm manufacturing process, so the controller is very thin. In this image, you can see its highest distance from the circuit board is lower than the NAND flash packages (on the right) and the DRAM package (on the left).
When you hold the drive against a light, you can see right through where the comer should make contact with the Phison E12 controller. This makes the cooler ineffective. It's not just ineffective because it doesn't make good contact; it's literally not doing anything to cool the controller at all.
In the second image, we can see there are only two places where the thermal pad actually touches the surface mount components. The first is a tiny sliver of the far left NAND package where there is very little heat (because in the package the actual die is in the middle). The other point of contact is with the ID sticker on the right NAND package. The sticker alone adds an insulation layer.
There isn't a reason to cool the flash on consumer SSDs. The controller, the square package in the middle with big PHISON spelled on it. When this part reaches 80 degrees Celsius, it throttles, which is a protective measure that decreases performance.
A Disaster Waiting To Happen
Even though we were extremely careful removing the SSD from the cooler, the plastic tab nearly broke off. We noticed the thin plastic when we started and were very careful about removing the circuit board.
Before we even removed the SSD from the cooler, we noticed stress cracks in the plastic housing. The closer we looked, the more we found. Every press-fitting used to secure the screws that pass through the metal plate to keep it all together has these cracks.
Even though our drive never leaked during our testing, we think over time with the heat cycles; the cracks will spread and eventually cause a failure.