Here’s one good reason you may want to ‘downgrade’ your SSD and lose capacity in the process — cheap QLC SSD can be transformed into expensive SLC to improve endurance but it’s not for the fainthearted

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We love crazy tech projects here at TechRadar Pro – Some of our recent favorites include an enthusiast getting ChatGPT to run on a NAS, and the person who transformed AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor into a storage device with read-write speeds to rival some of the best SSDs.

The latest idea to cross our desks comes from Gabriel Ferraz, a computer engineer and TechPowerUp’s SSD database maintainer, who turned a 512GB QLC SATA III SSD into a 120GB SLC one.

You probably know this, but just as refresher, SLC NAND holds one bit of data per cell, resulting in faster data writing, lower power consumption, and higher cell endurance than QLC NAND which stores four bits per cell. QLC NAND is denser and cheaper, but with the downside of compromised longevity and speed.

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3000% endurance increase

Ferraz’s idea was to trade capacity for massively improved performance and endurance. He took 512GB a Crucial BX500 SSD which has a Silicon Motion SM2259XT2 controller and NAND flash dies from Micron. Using an app called MPtools for the Silicon Motion SM2259XT2 controller, he identified the precise die used in the SSD and inputted in new die reference numbers.

Was it worth it? Well, while Ferraz lost a lot of drive space, he says “the SSD endurance jumps to 4000 TBW (write cycles), which is about a 3000% increase. Additionally, performance increased as well.”

Ferraz explains his process here, and you can also watch him perform his clever trick in the video below, which includes benchmarking results.

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