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Raspberry Pi 5 gets super-fast storage option with tiny $10 PCIe board, but maybe it’s just too small

New tiny PCIe board
Last Updated on July 8, 2024
The HatDrive! Nano for Raspberry Pi 5
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The Raspberry Pi 5’s introduction of a PCIe slot is opening up exciting possibilities for Pi enthusiasts. Pineboards, formerly known as Pineberry Pi, is capitalizing on this with their new HatDrive! Nano, a small and affordable board that allows you to add NVMe storage or other PCIe devices to your Raspberry Pi 5.

At just $10 (plus taxes!), the HatDrive Nano is a compelling option for anyone looking to boost their Pi’s performance. This tiny board is designed to fit neatly on top of your Raspberry Pi 5 without interfering with the official heatsink or cooling fan. This ensures proper airflow and avoids overheating issues.

The HatDrive! Nano is remarkably small, measuring only 55mm by 34mm, potentially making it the most compact M.2 HAT available. It supports 2230 and 2242 M.2 M-key SSDs, offering significantly faster speeds compared to even the best microSD cards currently available for Raspberry Pi.

The HatDrive! Nano – Image Source: Pineboards

HatDrive! Nano is convenient

While the HatDrive! Nano doesn’t strictly adhere to the HAT size specifications (which requires matching the footprint of the GPIO and mounting posts), it still offers convenient installation. It secures firmly with two screws and provides full access to the GPIO pins.

You can even connect an NVMe SSD for storage or utilize the board for other purposes like adding the Hailo-8L NPU (Neural Processing Unit) used in the official Raspberry Pi AI Kit. Another advantage of the HatDrive! Nano is its compatibility with the official Raspberry Pi 5 case. This allows you to keep your Pi and the expansion board protected within a single enclosure.

However, its small size is not for everyone

While the HatDrive! Nano boasts a tempting price tag for NVMe storage on your Raspberry Pi 5, its tiny size creates limitations. It might not work with other HATs you want to stack, potentially restricting expandability for intricate projects. Additionally, the lack of comprehensive reviews leaves performance and compatibility under question. For advanced users who value expandability or need a fully HAT-compliant solution, the size limitations might outweigh the slight cost savings.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.