NVMe Base Duo for Raspberry Pi 5 - NOT boot up

Add two super-fast NVMe SSDs to your Raspberry Pi 5! Ideal if you need redundancy or just a load more storage on your RPi!
R494.50  Inc VAT

You might also need one of our tested 128GB, 256GB or 512GB NVMe drives or a clear acrylic case to protect your RPi5 and NVMe Base.

NVMe Base Duo is a PCIe Gen 2 extension board for Raspberry Pi 5. Simply populate it with one or two M-key NVMe SSDs (2230 to 2280 sizes supported) and mount it under (or over) your Pi for a compact and fast storage solution - It even comes with rubber feet!

It's the perfect solution for turning your Raspberry Pi 5 into a file server, media centre, reverse proxy, etc. - really any task that benefits from large amounts of fast storage, redundancy, or just to make use of a couple of spare disk - especially with random high operations per second (IOPS) workloads. In short it's a game changer!

NVMe Base Duo follows the new "PIP" design guidelines provided by Raspberry Pi ensuring that it will be easy to use and be supported long term by updates to Raspberry Pi OS - though it is very early days and things are improving rapidly there!

What's in the box?

1 x NVMe Duo Base PCB with M.2 Slot (M-Key)
1 x cable and bolts kit

NOTE: You cannot boot from NVMe drives installed on the NVMe Base Duo. We hope the RPi 5 firmware will support this in the future, but for now, it can only boot from drives that are the root device on the PCIe Bus. i.e. Not behind a packet switcher/multiplexer - you'll need to boot from SD and then the system can handover to the pair of fast SSDs!

NOTE: The shipping product may have minor differences to the photos, but will be the same in essentials.

Raspberry Pi Firmware

For the most hassle-free experience, make sure your Raspberry Pi OS is up to date, and your RPi 5 firmware is updated to 2023-12-06 (Dec 6th) or newer. This supports all the features of the RPi PCIe spec and means you don't have to mess with config files to get started.

Base Kit

  • NVMe Base Duo PCB with two M.2 slots (M-Key)
  • 'PCIe Flex' Flat Flex Cable
  • 4x Rubber feet
  • 4x M2 bolt and 2x 5mm standoffs for SSD mounting
  • 4x 12mm M2.5 standoffs for base mounting
  • 8x short M2.5 bolts for base mounting 
  • 4x 20mm M2.5 bolts for 'pass-thru' mounting with a HAT

NVMe Base Duo + 500GB (2 x 250GB) SSD Bundle

The Base Kit bundled with 2 x 250GB+ NVMe SSDs (PCIe Gen 3 or better, although this Base only supports Gen 2 speeds). 

NVMe Base Duo + 1000GB (2 x 500GB) SSD Bundle

The Base Kit bundled with 2 x 500GB+ NVMe SSDs (PCIe Gen 3 or better, although this Base only supports Gen 2 speeds).

We recommend running the Raspberry Pi 5 at PCIe Gen 2 x 1 speeds with this Base. The total throughput is around 450MB/sec, or 220MB/sec+ per disk for simultaneous access as they share the bandwidth through the PCIe Switch. 

Due to the tides and vagueries of the SSD market, we will ship whichever drive offers the best value for decent specs. We can say that:

  • It will have 250/500GB or better capacity
  • It will be rated by the manufacturer at PCIe Gen 3 or better speed
  • We'll have personally tested the drive with the NVMe Base and it will be in the list below.
  • It'll be backed by the usual Pimoroni guarantees and customer service.

SSD testing with the NVMe Base Duo is underway, in the meanwhile here is a list of drives tested with the single-drive NVMe Base.

We have usually tested one drive from one batch, so this is not comprehensive, or an 'Approved' list, but it's a good guide for drives to seek out:

  • AData Legend 700
  • AData Legend 800
  • AData XPG SX8200 Pro
  • Axe Memory Generic Drive
  • Crucial P2 M.2
  • Crucial P3 M.2
  • Crucial P3 Plus M.2
  • Inland PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Kingston KC3000
  • Kioxia Exceria NVMe SSD
  • Kioxia Exceria G2 NVMe SSD
  • Lexar NM620
  • Lexar NM710
  • Netac NV2000 NVMe SSD
  • Netac NV3000 NVMe SSD
  • Origin Inception TLC830 Pro NVMe
  • PNY CS1030
  • Sabrent Rocket 4.0
  • Sabrent Rocket Nano
  • Samsung 980
  • Samsung 980 Pro (500GB/1TB)
  • Team MP33
  • Western Digital Black SN750 SE (Phison Controller)

' Maybe' List. Works with quirks/not ideal.

These drives either needed extra power, were a bit quirky when we tested them or we've had reports of them being problematic. It may just be the drive we had, but they're probably best avoided.

  • Kioxia BG4 2230. Performance very patchy. Runs at quite a high temp.
  • Patriot P300 - These drives have various controllers, some of which seem to be incompatible at this time.
  • Patriot P310 - These drives have various controllers, some of which seem to be incompatible at this time.
  • Samsung 970 EVO Plus. Runs at a higher temp. Some user reports of problems under heavy load or not showing up on boot.
  • Samsung 980 Pro (250GB). Reports of this size not working.
  • WD Blue SN550. Our fresh unit could be used as storage but could not be booted from.
  • WD Red SN700. Slow to boot first time, but worked and booted OK.
  • WD SN740. Our fresh unit worked well. YMMV.
  • WD Black SN770. Our fresh unit worked fine. YMMV.
  • Patriot P300. All units we've tested work but we have heard of a 256GB/1TB variant that doesn't.

'Avoid' List. We've had problems or reports of problems.

  • Transcend 110Q (TS500GMTE110Q)
  • WD Green/Blue/Red/Black not in the above list. Variable results or not working because of quirks of a SanDisk controller/firmware. Our SN350 and SN570 prevented the RPi 5 from booting at all especially.

Otherwise most M.2 NVMe drive (Not SATA!) you have lying around should work fine.

Check out our benchmark results over at pibenchmarks.net!

NOTE: Drives may be from the same manufacturing batch. If you're a storage-integrity aficionado, you may want to source your own drives to avoid the unlikely edge-case of an issue or bug affecting an entire batch of drives.

Getting started

Firmware

Make sure your Raspberry Pi OS and RPi 5 firmware are up to date and newer than December 2023. Software update on the RPi OS should do this for you, but you can force it by starting a Terminal and running sudo raspi-config and choosing 'latest' under firmware options, then running sudo rpi-eeprom-update in the Terminal. This will also tell you which firmware is running.

Notes

  • Always power off your RPi and disconnect the power supply before installing or uninstalling the NVMe Base.
  • You cannot, at this time, boot from the drives installed on the NVM Base Duo. The single NVMe Base does support booting from the NVMe.
  • NVMe Base Duo offers offers two PCIe Gen 2 M.2 slots behind a PCIe Gen2 Packet Switcher on a general purpose PCIe x1 connection - while we know most people want to add fast storage in theory you can use other devices with it, we just can't help you make them work! :-D What Would Jeff (Geerling) Do
  • Availability: Out of Stock
  • Model: PW NVME dual base
  • Brand: Pimoroni