Is a Nintendo Switch UFS mod possible?

Dominator211

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So my question I pose to you all is this;

Ever since the original model switch had its NAND chip on a daughter board the question of storage upgrades have been on the table (there are posts from 2017 by me about this topic, I called it)

Since then people have been able to get 256GB of internal eMMC storage in a switch which is super super cool. But this is unfortunately the limit as eMMC Chios are no longer being made and 256GB is the highest capacity.

But I have a even bigger question;

Would it be theoretically possible for someone to design a daughter board with the exact dimensions of the current one except with a different BGA pinout for chips that support larger capacities ( like an iPhone chip)

There are a few roadblocks that I can see when thinking about this from a technical standpoint. Because we are switching from a eMMC chip to a UFS chip there could be some sort of “driver” incompatibility that would make it inoperable.

Another one would be that since UFS and eMMC are so different from each other, would it just be incompatible all together?

I know just enough about the hardware to know that it technically could be possible but not enough to know that it’s not possible. So if anyone with a deeper understanding of the Switch’s software can help me with this that would be super appreciated!!!


EDIT: It seems I already made a thread about this 2 to 3 years ago. My bad.
 
Last edited by Dominator211,

binkinator

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So my question I pose to you all is this;

Ever since the original model switch had its NAND chip on a daughter board the question of storage upgrades have been on the table (there are posts from 2017 by me about this topic, I called it)

Since then people have been able to get 256GB of internal eMMC storage in a switch which is super super cool. But this is unfortunately the limit as eMMC Chios are no longer being made and 256GB is the highest capacity.

But I have a even bigger question;

Would it be theoretically possible for someone to design a daughter board with the exact dimensions of the current one except with a different BGA pinout for chips that support larger capacities ( like an iPhone chip)

There are a few roadblocks that I can see when thinking about this from a technical standpoint. Because we are switching from a eMMC chip to a UFS chip there could be some sort of “driver” incompatibility that would make it inoperable.

Another one would be that since UFS and eMMC are so different from each other, would it just be incompatible all together?

I know just enough about the hardware to know that it technically could be possible but not enough to know that it’s not possible. So if anyone with a deeper understanding of the Switch’s software can help me with this that would be super appreciated!!!

UFS and eMMC are different way beyond just form factor. Take a look at this: https://evision-webshop.de/Knowledge-Base/en/UFS-vs-eMMC-Differences-and-Similarities

1647605287177.jpeg


issues:

speed
serial vs parallel
duplex (half vs full)

…they are just way too different.
 

Dominator211

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UFS and eMMC are different way beyond just form factor. Take a look at this: https://evision-webshop.de/Knowledge-Base/en/UFS-vs-eMMC-Differences-and-Similarities

View attachment 302257

issues:

speed
serial vs parallel
duplex (half vs full)

…they are just way too different.
Ah I understand,
Obviously, the board pinout and underlying electronics so to speak would have to be different. Physically speaking I don't see why you couldn't make all this work and Fit via a custom PCB.

I don't mean to sound arrogant by saying this: but all of the issues listed above seem like mostly software except for maybe the connection point where the PCB and Daughterbaord meet like the lanes are just physically not there in order to transfer the data. Thats the only thing I could think of.

I was thinking Software would be the biggest problem as in the chip may be able to get power and communicate on an electrical level, just that the software like Horizon, would have a utter conniption trying to read from it
 

Allen-R

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Sorry, this is unrelated but this is the first time I saw a updoot/downdoot thing in gbatemp:
1647632867859.png
1647633024408.png


Is this a new thing?
Doesn't seem to be present in the other threads.

(either that or I just missed it & is this a thing that was always there but could be enabled/disabled)

edit: Doesn't even seem to be present in the 4 threads made after this one.
 
Last edited by Allen-R,

binkinator

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Ah I understand,
Obviously, the board pinout and underlying electronics so to speak would have to be different. Physically speaking I don't see why you couldn't make all this work and Fit via a custom PCB.

I don't mean to sound arrogant by saying this: but all of the issues listed above seem like mostly software except for maybe the connection point where the PCB and Daughterbaord meet like the lanes are just physically not there in order to transfer the data. Thats the only thing I could think of.

I was thinking Software would be the biggest problem as in the chip may be able to get power and communicate on an electrical level, just that the software like Horizon, would have a utter conniption trying to read from it

Agree 100%. Your custom PCB would be a work of art though and have to adjust for different signal levels, to store and forward data, and be the traffic cop between the vastly different speeds. I don’t think it’s arrogant at all, you are right. Just about anything can be solved with software…as long as you have enough hardware behind it. With the race to make devices smaller and smaller, final products have just enough to run what they’re designed for and not much else. A fast general purpose machine can mask that.
 

binkinator

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Sorry, this is unrelated but this is the first time I saw a updoot/downdoot thing in gbatemp:View attachment 302344View attachment 302345

Is this a new thing?
Doesn't seem to be present in the other threads.

(either that or I just missed it & is this a thing that was always there but could be enabled/disabled)
LOL…had the same question, and just as you mentioned it, this thread started doing doots on my end as well. Not sure what triggers it. Gave you an updoot. Enjoy? LOL
 

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Sorry, this is unrelated but this is the first time I saw a updoot/downdoot thing in gbatemp:View attachment 302344View attachment 302345

Is this a new thing?
Doesn't seem to be present in the other threads.

(either that or I just missed it & is this a thing that was always there but could be enabled/disabled)
When creating thread you have 3 types to choose from. Votes are showed for "Question" type
 

Allen-R

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When creating thread you have 3 types to choose from. Votes are showed for "Question" type
Ah ok. Went to look for it in Post Thread after I noticed and didn't see any up/downdoot toggle thing.
Guess having it enabled for Question-threads makes better sense so that the best answers can be sorted to the top.
 

randy_w

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Think of it as SATA vs IDE. The pinout is different and the command is different too. You can't just connect an IDE drive to SATA controller without any bridge chip, and vice versa. Same for eMMC/UFS, theoretically you can design a FPGA to translate all emmc commands into ufs and act as those SATA to IDE adapters on PC.

Anyway if you just want bigger storage maybe someone can replace the internal eMMC with an SD card. SD cards run the same command as eMMC chips, just with 4 data lanes instead of 8. So it could be a drop in replacement, but speed/reliability would be an issue.
 
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Dominator211

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Agree 100%. Your custom PCB would be a work of art though and have to adjust for different signal levels, to store and forward data, and be the traffic cop between the vastly different speeds. I don’t think it’s arrogant at all, you are right. Just about anything can be solved with software…as long as you have enough hardware behind it. With the race to make devices smaller and smaller, final products have just enough to run what they’re designed for and not much else. A fast general purpose machine can mask that.
The "traffic cop" and adjusting to signals on the board, would be done with little microchips on the board or would this be a controller level thing on the chip.

EDIT: I want to make it clear that I'm willing to do any kind of testing possible or even provide some funds to try and get a working prototype. Since I don't think anything we are discussing or doing is illegal in anyway.
 
Last edited by Dominator211,

binkinator

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The "traffic cop" and adjusting to signals on the board, would be done with little microchips on the board or would this be a controller level thing on the chip.

Oh yeah, I think it could be done given enough time, money and talent (and I'm missing at LEAST 2 of those.) I just think that with Switch being 2TB SD Card ready today (as soon as they become available) it's going to be the easier path to large amounts of storage. I'd argue that emunand speed is acceptable and while eMMC is faster it's not necessary to enjoy Pokemon.

Now...that all said, if we're discussing whether or not transplanting a Chevy V8 into a Porsche is cool or not (it IS, in fact, hella cool ) then the easy path isn't really a factor and we're just doing it because we can. If that's what we're doing here, then get in sit down strap in and shut up...we're going for a ride!

😁
 

binkinator

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Think of it as SATA vs IDE. The pinout is different and the command is different too. You can't just connect an IDE drive to SATA controller without any bridge chip, and vice versa. Same for eMMC/UFS, theoretically you can design a FPGA to translate all emmc commands into ufs and act as those SATA to IDE adapters on PC.

Anyway if you just want bigger storage maybe someone can replace the internal eMMC with an SD card. SD cards run the same command as eMMC chips, just with 4 data lanes instead of 8. So it could be a drop in replacement, but speed/reliability would be an issue.

Was thinking FPGA and your IDE vs SATA analogy is spot on! Once you make the move to SD Card you might as well use the slot we already have. Cheap and replaceable, just not as cool as a German muscle car!
 

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unfortunately it is not possible to use ufs memory in the switch. except with a bridge chip (FPGA). the tegra chip can't even handle ufs memory.
there are two other ways to expand the memory of the switch.
the first option would be to modify atmosphere to boot from USB. this is possible but not easy.
the second option would be to find the pcie x4 connection and connect an nvme there. but then atmosphere must also be adjusted.
Ctcaer explained it to me like this.
 

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Dominator211

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Oh yeah, I think it could be done given enough time, money and talent (and I'm missing at LEAST 2 of those.) I just think that with Switch being 2TB SD Card ready today (as soon as they become available) it's going to be the easier path to large amounts of storage. I'd argue that emunand speed is acceptable and while eMMC is faster it's not necessary to enjoy Pokemon.

Now...that all said, if we're discussing whether or not transplanting a Chevy V8 into a Porsche is cool or not (it IS, in fact, hella cool ) then the easy path isn't really a factor and we're just doing it because we can. If that's what we're doing here, then get in sit down strap in and shut up...we're going for a ride!

😁


Alright I am officially buckled in and ready to go on a ride lmao.

Obviously it won't be super cheap considering 1tb nand Chips for iphones are close to $300 now. Honestly I am curious about this for "just because I can" and that (at least on paper) emmmcs are faster then SD cards and that seems to hold up in load times.
 

Dominator211

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unfortunately it is not possible to use ufs memory in the switch. except with a bridge chip (FPGA). the tegra chip can't even handle ufs memory.
there are two other ways to expand the memory of the switch.
the first option would be to modify atmosphere to boot from USB. this is possible but not easy.
the second option would be to find the pcie x4 connection and connect an nvme there. but then atmosphere must also be adjusted.
Ctcaer explained it to me like this.
See going into this I had no clue the Tegra X1 didn’t have UFS support. But the PCIe lanes are very interesting, assuming they are gen 3 you have some pretty fast speeds there.

I don’t know if there are any schematics of the X1 out there that would show the PCIe lanes. For all we know they could psychically be there and just inaccessible by some means.

Assuming one could even find these connectors, there is still the problem of “how in the fuck are we going to shoehorn this in here” even the smallest of drives NVM 2230s I believe Are pretty chonky. You’d have to do some serious modifications to the chassis for it to even fit. Then there is the cooling aspect. Which I could be mitigated some by thermal pads or paste. But I could see it getting pretty hot in there and we don’t want to damage anything.

Assuming we could figure out the space and thermal questions/limitations. There would still be the question of software. I guess the easiest way to do this would be to point the SD settings/configurations/etc to the NVMe.
So that in the settings app you move things to the Nvme and not the second card and the capacity/available space of the drive is shown instead. Or if we want to get really batshit crazy (idek if this is possible) someone could try and add the NvMe as a third storage option within horizon. That last option is really out there though.
 

Dominator211

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unfortunately it is not possible to use ufs memory in the switch. except with a bridge chip (FPGA). the tegra chip can't even handle ufs memory.
there are two other ways to expand the memory of the switch.
the first option would be to modify atmosphere to boot from USB. this is possible but not easy.
the second option would be to find the pcie x4 connection and connect an nvme there. but then atmosphere must also be adjusted.
Ctcaer explained it to me like this.
See going into this I had no clue the Tegra X1 didn’t have UFS support. But the PCIe lanes are very interesting, assuming they are gen 3 you have some pretty fast speeds there.

I don’t know if there are any schematics of the X1 out there that would show the PCIe lanes. For all we know they could psychically be there and just inaccessible by some means.

Assuming one could even find these connectors, there is still the problem of “how in the fuck are we going to shoehorn this in here” even the smallest of drives NVM 2230s I believe Are pretty chonky. You’d have to do some serious modifications to the chassis for it to even fit. Then there is the cooling aspect. Which I could be mitigated some by thermal pads or paste. But I could see it getting pretty hot in there and we don’t want to damage anything.

Assuming we could figure out the space and thermal questions/limitations. There would still be the question of software. I guess the easiest way to do this would be to point the SD settings/configurations/etc to the NVMe.
So that in the settings app you move things to the Nvme and not the second card and the capacity/available space of the drive is shown instead. Or if we want to get really batshit crazy (idek if this is possible) someone could try and add the NvMe as a third storage option within horizon. That last option is really out there though.

EDIT: I don’t have a damn clue as to why that posted twice, I did not post it twice.
 
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