Pimoroni’s NVMe Base Duo Brings Dual SSD Support to the Pi 5

Pimoroni’s NVMe Base Duo Brings Dual SSD Support to the Pi 5

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Pimoroni’s NVMe Base Duo for Raspberry Pi 5, features dual M-key NVMe SSD that supports 2230 to 2280 SSDs while utilizing PCIe Gen 2 technology for fast storage speeds. With dual SSD support, this device is built for media centers and server applications.

A few months ago, Pimoroni released the Pimoroni NVMe Base that can support a single SSD. Now, with the introduction of this new board, users can connect dual SSDs to the Pi 5. This isn’t the first dual SSD board; previously, Geekworm released the X1004 HAT+, which also offered dual SSD support.

The NVMe Base Duo utilizes PCIe Gen 2 technology for fast storage access, suitable for file servers or media centers, with a throughput of around 450MB/sec. Its compact design allows mounting above or below the Raspberry Pi 5, stabilizing with rubber feet and connecting via a PCIe Flex cable.

Pimoroni’s NVMe Base Duo Specifications:

  • NVMe Base Duo: PCIe Gen 2 extension board for Raspberry Pi 5, supporting two M-key NVMe SSDs (2230-2280).
  • Usage: Ideal for fast storage tasks like file servers, media centers, or high IOPS workloads.
  • Mounting and Design: Compact, mountable above or below Raspberry Pi, includes ‘PCIe Flex’ cable and rubber feet.
  • Performance: Offers about 450MB/sec total throughput, around 220MB/sec per disk.
  • Compatibility: Works with updated Raspberry Pi OS and firmware; compatible with a range of tested SSDs.
  • Bundles: Available alone or with 500GB (2x250GB) or 1000GB (2x500GB) SSDs.
  • Tested SSDs: Includes brands like Samsung, Crucial, and Kingston.
  • Limitations: Can’t boot Raspberry Pi 5 from NVMe drives due to firmware restrictions.
  • Product Variations: Minor differences are possible in the final product, but core features remain the same.

One little problem with most of these types of HAT is that the NVMe Base Duo can’t currently boot the Raspberry Pi 5 from its attached SSDs due to firmware limits, but this may change with future updates. Users should keep their Raspberry Pi OS and firmware updated to use all features.

The NVMe Base Duo package includes the PCB with two M-Key M.2 slots, a ‘PCIe Flex’ flat flex cable for connection, and four rubber feet for stability. For mounting, it comes with a set of hardware: four M2 bolts and two 5mm standoffs for SSD mounting, four 12mm M2.5 standoffs and eight short M2.5 bolts for the base, and four 20mm M2.5 bolts for ‘pass-thru’ mounting with a HAT.

The NVMe Base Duo alone costs £30, while bundled versions with 500GB (2x250GB) and 1000GB (2x500GB) SSDs are available for £91.80 and £115.50, respectively. At the time of writing the HAT is available for pre-order and it’s expected to ship around mid-April 2024.

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About Debashis Das

Tech Content Creator | Hardware Design Engineer | IoT Enthusiast | Digital Storyteller | Video Creator | From crafting digital dialogues at Semicon Media to orchestrating online engagement at Electronics-lab.com, my journey is about making tech talk interesting and accessible. In the quiet corners of the day, I advocate for easier tech education, one tutorial at a time. Let's connect and keep the digital dialogue going!

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