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I've got an Intel SSD 320 Series 160GB that's suddenly failed - it just wouldn't boot one day. I'd like to have a go at recovering the data by desoldering the memory chips and soldering them onto the PCB of an identical, working SSD. However, assuming that would even work, I need to find out whether the problem is the controller or one of the memory chips themselves.

What steps can I take to identify what's gone wrong?

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  • IANA(SSD expert), but my naive guess is that a sudden failure is more likely to be the controller than a memory chip. If a single memory chip failed you'd probably get random failures. Sep 26, 2015 at 16:52

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These ssds encrypt the data before writing it to the flash chips, the encryption is automatic and always on. If you've never entered any passwords then it only uses a random key somewhere on the controller. This doesn't make your data any safer, but allows for practically instantaneous wiping of the drive (the old key is deleted and a new one generated), if you've entered a password then this key is encrypted with your password (this does also protect your data).

However if you were to just move the flash chips to another ssd of the same model, the first key would still be different rendering the data unreadable. Sorry.

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