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SupTronics Launches a Range of Raspberry Pi 5 NVMe Storage Boards — and a SATA One, Too

Whether you need to mount one 2.5" hard drive or two high-speed full-size M.2 NVMe drives, there's an add-on board for you.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoHW101

Hardware design firm SupTronics Technologies has launched a family of storage adapters for the Raspberry Pi 5, offering connectivity for everything from a single 2.5" SATA hard drive to a pair of high-speed M.2 Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSDs.

Following SupTronics' successes with accessory boards for early Raspberry Pi models, the company has come from the drawing board with a family of Raspberry Pi 5 equivalents — all, bar one, designed to connect to the single-board computer's Flat Flexible Circuit (FFC) connector which, for the first time in a mainstream Raspberry Pi model, offers a user-accessible PCI Express Gen. 2 lane.

The SupTronics X000x family spans a considerable range of models, depending on specific requirements. The best model is the X1000 V1.5, which supports a single M.2 2230 or 2242 format NVMe SSD running at the officially-supported PCI Express Gen. 2 speed or a higher but out-of-spec Gen. 3 speed. The X1001 V1.1, meanwhile, offers support for longer M.2 2280 format drives — and the X1002 V1.0 includes the same drive support but in a board which sits underneath the Raspberry Pi, leaving the top free for other Hardware Attached on Top (HAT) accessories.

For those who need additional storage the X1004 V1.0 supports up to two M.2 2280 format drives, connected to the Raspberry Pi 5's single PCIe lane through an on-board switch — which comes at the cost of losing PCI Express Gen. 3 support, with the link forced down to PCIe Gen. 2 mode. The X1003 V1.3 is the smallest in the range, with an extra-short FFC cable, and drops back down to M.2 2230 and 2242 support — but boasts full compatibility with the Raspberry Pi 5 Active Cooler and the Raspberry Pi 5 Case, if you remove the fan from the latter.

Finally, the X1100 V1.0 is designed for those who have older 2.5-format SSDs — and even mechanical hard drives. Designed to have the drive slung underneath and the Raspberry Pi 5 sat on top, it eschews the PCI Express lane in favor of using a 180-degree adapter to connect to one of the board's two USB 3 ports. Those opting for the M.2 versions, though, are warned by SupTronics of incompatibilities with drives built around a Phision controller — including the Western Digital Blue SN550 and SN580, Green SN350, and Black SN850 families.

The SupTronics boards aren't the first M.2 HAT+ adapter for the Raspberry Pi 5, though it's the smallest we've seen so far: it follows on the heels of the Waveshare PCIe to M.2 HAT+ adapter, which offers a cutout for the Raspberry Pi 5 Active Cooler's fan, and Pineberry Pi's HatDrive. Sheffield-based Pimoroni has also released an adapter of its own, though it sits underneath the Raspberry Pi 5 rather than on top — as does the HatDrive Bottom, a second design from Pineberry Pi. Raspberry Pi itself, meanwhile, has yet to bring its promised M.2 HAT+ to market — due, the company has said, some time early this year.

Details on the range are available on the SupTronics website, but the company doesn't sell direct to consumers; CNX Software has spotted the first stockist in Geekworm, which has the X1000 listed at $15.99, the X1001 at $15, the X1002 at $16, and the X1003 at $27 — only available, at the time of writing, in a bundle with a 27W USB Power Delivery (PD) power supply.

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