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Running my Raspberry PI 4B from an external hard drive

VP9KS

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I have been doing some research, and experimentation with my Pi 4, in an attempt to speed things up without overclocking. What I have is the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 starter MAX kit, which includes a Samsung 64 GB EVO plus micro sd card which came pre-installed with NOOBS. This is a C10 U3 V30 chip, which spec calls for a 30MBPS data transfer rate. This is type called UHS-I, the fastest interface with only one row of pins. The faster UHS-II (312 MBPS) and UHS-III (624 MBPS) have 2 rows of pins, which would not work with the pi. They are also MUCH more expensive. Being a cheap lad, I wanted to find something which would not cost a fortune. Fortunately I had at hand, an alternative. Many moons ago, I purchased an ULTRA USB to IDE/SATA cable adapter. It will connect 2.5 / 3.5 inch IDE drives, or 2.5 / 3.5 inch SATA drives to any computer via a USB 2.0 port. It also came with a small power supply for the 3.5 ide and 2.5 / 3.5 SATA drives, (the 2.5 inch IDE drive is powered by the usb cable) but the power supply did not last very long. No worries, I also have an old PC power supply on the bench, which I had modified to output +5v & +12v for external drives. This has worked well with the USB adapter in the past, so I decided to use it for this project also.

I took an old 2.5 inch 30GB IDE drive and transferred the new 64bit image for PI to it. I then removed the EVO micro SD card, and plugged in the IDE drive using the aforementioned USB adapter. It booted normally, I did the setup, and was up and running in no time. After a couple weeks of using it, I randomly got an error in the bottom right corner of the main monitor which read "Voltage low check power supply". I have used 2 different external USB 3.0 drives with the Pi in the past, a 2TB My passport Ultra and a 1TB Toshiba, with no such errors, so this caused me to wonder if the small IDE drive was not drawing too much current. So I carried the experiment one step further and transferred the 64bit image to a 3.5 inch IDE drive, connected it to the USB port, and powered it from the bench supply. That is my current configuration. I call it my "RETRO IDE PI". Yes, there is nothing like booting your Raspberry Pi 4 to the sound of hard drive heads seeking! It seems to run faster, and it definitely shuts down much faster. What do all of you think of my Frankenstein's monster?

Happy Trails,
Paul
 
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VP9KS

VP9KS

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Some further information on my above post:
UHS-I Sd card interface transfer rate: 30 MBPS
IDE Interface transfer rate: 133 MBPS
USB2.0 interface data transfer rate: 480 MBPS.

I was considering purchasing the USB 3.0 equivalent cable, but it looks like it would be overkill, since the drive will not transfer any faster with it. Now a SATA drive.........

Happy Trails,
Paul
 
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craigevil

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I use a Samsung portable SSD 500GB. It works great.
 

NORD

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I have been seeing seagate 5Tb portables for 120.00 at walmart.
 
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VP9KS

VP9KS

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Yes, as do many of the other solutions associated with that link. I also saw a listing in that link for a 8gb pi4b kit. :) Unfortunately, the old IDE drive finally died on me. The good news is that I had backed it up to the micro SD card, and I just went back to using the micro SD card. Easy peasy! Anyway it was a fun experiment that actually worked out quite well! :cool:
 
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Stellaris

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old IDE drive
Didn't you experience any speed issues while using iDE? My experience with HDD's was a disaster and it was a SATA I used. For some reason, I faced so many issues on corrupted data problems on RPI. At first, I thought it could be a hard drive issue, but it works fine on other machines and the health test reports are also came good.
Then I moved to a SSD, experience was smooth.
 
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VP9KS

VP9KS

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Didn't you experience any speed issues while using iDE? My experience with HDD's was a disaster and it was a SATA I used. For some reason, I faced so many issues on corrupted data problems on RPI. At first, I thought it could be a hard drive issue, but it works fine on other machines and the health test reports are also came good.
Then I moved to a SSD, experience was smooth.
Not really. It was slower overall than the micro sd card, but still perfectly usable.:) I never tried it with a SATA or a SSD just because I did not have either lying around the shop.
 
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