Radxa Targets NAS Builders with Rock Pi, Raspberry Pi Compatible Dual, Quad, and Penta SATA HATs

Taking up to five drives — four on the Raspberry Pi-compatible model — the new HATs should make for easy NAS builds.

Gareth Halfacree
6 months agoHardware 101
Radxa's new SATA HAT family supports up to five drives. (📷: Radxa)

Fresh from the launch of the Rock Pi N10 single-board computer, Radxa has unveiled a new trio of add-ons which aim to make building network-attached storage devices from the Rock Pi and Raspberry Pi SBC families easier: the Rock Pi SATA HATs.

"We are very happy to announce the Rock Pi SATA HAT, a series of SATA expansions targeting at the NAS solution for Raspberry Pi 4 and Rock Pi 4," the company explains in its product announcement. "The ROCK Pi SATA HATs come in 3 models: Dual/Quad SATA HAT; Penta SATA HAT. The Dual/Quad SATA HAT is designed for Raspberry Pi 4 as well as Rock Pi 4, and the Penta SATA HAT is designed for Rock Pi 4 only."

The Dual and Quad SATA HAT models support, as their names suggest, either two or four 2.5" or 3.5" SATA hard drives or solid-state drives per HAT. While they connect to the host Rock Pi or Raspberry Pi via the general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header, this isn't used for data transfer; instead, that's handled by a pair of USB 3.0 ports which connect to the matching ports on the host device. The HATs are capable of running 2.5" devices using only a USB Type-C Power Delivery (PD) power supply of 30W or greater; a connector for an ATX power supply is included for more power-hungry device.

The Penta SATA HAT, meanwhile, is an exclusive to the Rock Pi 4 for one very good reason: It uses the M.2 PCI Express slot on the board to offer support for up to five SATA devices, four of which are provided as standard internal SATA connectors and one as an eSATA with power port. According to Radxa's testing, there's a dramatic performance difference between the two designs: The USB-connected Dual and Quad SATA HATs max out at a peak 400MB/s throughput, while the Penta SATA HAT hit around 803MB/s using five SSDs configured as a RAID0 array.

An optional Top Board, compatible with any of the three designs, provides a software-controlled cooling fan, a small OLED display to show the currently-assigned IP address, and a user-configurable switch designed to operate as a soft power switch. The company has also designed an all-metal NAS case which accepts a Raspberry Pi 4 with Quad SATA HAT, four 2.5" drives, and the optional Top Board.

More information on the Rock Pi SATA HAT family is available on the Radxa wiki.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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