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QLC SSDs (Quad-Level Cell Solid-State Drives) are a type of SSD that use NAND flash memory technology to store four bits of data per memory cell. This advancement allows QLC SSDs to offer higher storage capacities compared to other SSD types. While SSDs in general have revolutionized data storage by providing faster and more reliable performance than traditional hard-disk drives (HDDs), QLC SSDs represent the latest innovation in this field, enhancing storage efficiency and capacity.

When it comes to data storage, solid-state drives (SSDs) have transformed the landscape, especially compared to traditional hard-disk-drive (HDD) technology. However, there is much more to SSDs than just the form factor or capacity.

These incredible and powerful devices come in various types, including Quad-Level Cell (QLC) SSDs, which represent the latest advancement in storage technology. This article aims to explain what exactly QLC SSDs are and how they compare to other types of SSDs.

Note: If you want to transfer your Windows system to SSD, please refer to : Upgrading to SSD: Migrating Windows 10 for Better Performance , Beginner’s Guide to Samsung Disk Cloner: Start Cloning Today

Understanding what QLC SSD is

SSDs use NAND flash memory, and QLC SSDs are a type of this technology. QLC stands for Quad-Level Cell, which refers to the ability of the NAND flash within the SSD to store data per memory cell—in this case, four bits of data per memory cell. The key advancement with QLC SSDs is the ability to fit more bits per cell within the device. This is achieved by having sixteen different voltage states per cell, compared to earlier technologies that use fewer voltage states. This evolution allows for greater storage density and cost efficiency.

QLC vs SLC vs MLC vs TLC

To better understand QLC SSDs, let’s compare them to other types of NAND flash memory:
Type of NAND FlashBits per cellKnown for
Single-Level Cell (SLC)OneHigh performance and durability, more costly, and lower density
Multi-Level Cell (MLC)TwoGood balance between of performance, write endurance, and cost
Triple-Level Cell (TLC)Three3x SLC and 1.5x MLC density at lower cost, hindering performance
Quad-Level Cell (QLC)FourSignificant storage density and reduced cost per gigabyte, endurance issues

Benefits of QLC SSDs

Total cost of ownership: One of the primary advantages of QLC technology is cost efficiency. By storing more bits per cell, SSD manufacturers can produce higher-capacity drives at a lower cost. For cloud service providers (CSPs) and data centres, this means smaller, higher-density, higher-capacity SSDs within their data centre footprint, helping to consolidate and optimize space usage.
Read performance: While QLC SSDs may not match the write speeds of SLC or MLC SSDs, they generally offer excellent read performance. This makes them ideal for applications such as operating system drives that require fast boot times, gaming that involves texture streaming, and database applications.
Storage density: QLC SSDs excel in storage density and have lower power consumption. These features make them suitable for data centres and CSPs. The market has seen the emergence of 61.44TB QLC SSDs, such as the Solidigm D5-P5336, a staggering feat that will surely continue to evolve.

Use cases for QLC SSDs

Data centres: QLC SSDs are a great option for data centres and specific deployments like storage arrays, content delivery networks (CDNs), and object storage. QLC NAND flash offers real advantages in terms of storage density and cost-effectiveness, making it an appealing choice for environments that handle large amounts of data.
Consumer use: Outside of data centres, QLC SSDs offer benefits for consumer use. For example, content creators who deal with vast amounts of large files can benefit from the large capacity options that QLC SSDs provide. They are also excellent for backup options and long-term storage of expensive project files and media assets.


In summary, QLC SSDs represent a significant advancement in storage technology, offering higher storage density and cost efficiency. While they may have some limitations in write performance and endurance compared to SLC and MLC SSDs, their benefits make them an excellent choice for data centres, CSPs, and even consumer use. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect QLC SSDs to play an increasingly important role in data storage solutions.
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