Recently we got a Samsung XP941 512GB drive in for testing. Our SSD test bed did not have an onboard PCIe capable m.2 drive slot. In search of alternatives there are a number of NGFF m.2 PCIe x4 adapters on the market, most of which are very similar. When looking for these adapters we ended up buying one with a heatsink which we saw on both Amazon and ebay. A heatsink for a high-performance SSD seemed like a bonus, but we found otherwise.
The item we purchased was from Amazon.com here: M.2 (NGFF) PCIe SSD M Key to PCIe X4 Adapter for Samsung XP941 | Amazon.com for about $30 shipped. It can also be purchased on ebay from a number of vendors and sold as a Sintech brand adapter and also sold by Micro SATA Cables. As a plus, these listings say the adapter is for the Samsung XP941, the exact drive we are installing.
Looking at the adapter itself, one can see that the unit comes with both low profile and full height brackets. For those looking to use these adapters in servers, that is an excellent feature, and was one of the reasons we purchased this particular adapter.
One item to note here: both brackets are solid. For the big heatsink atop the SSD, there is no place for air to vent to the rear of the chassis.
The heatsink uninstalls very easily with four screws. underneath one can see a very simple PCB with the m.2 slot. One can also see four different NGFF sizes with the largest being the 2280, the size we need for the Samsung XP941.
With the Samsung drive installed, we can see a very neat package. Installation difficulty was absolutely minimal. One can see the PCIe x4 connector at the bottom of this PCB which provides plenty of bandwidth for the gum stick sized drive.
Affixing the heatsink took all of four screws. When the heatsink was tightened we noticed something unexpected, lots of space. There was a significant gap between the Samsung XP941 and the heatsink. Air is an extremely poor conductor of heat, so this is less than ideal. The bottom line is that one should not expect any excellent cooling simply due to the heatsink.
Now for the good news, the adapter works very well. We saw over 1GB/s transfer speeds from our XP941 test unit. Buying again, this is a perfectly fine option. Just do not expect excellent cooling from the heatsink. Realistically, these NGFF drives are meant for low power ultrabooks where there is little cooling, so a heatsink is not necessary. Chalk it up to a marketing gimmick (which worked on us.)