The Raspberry Pi 5 is the first single-board computer from Raspberry Pi with a PCIe interface that allows you to connect high-speed accessories including storage devices and AI accelerators. But you need an add-on board to actually make use of that feature, because instead of a PCIe slot on the board itself, the Raspberry Pi 5 has an FPC connector that lets you run a cable to a board with a standard M.2 connector for PCIe devices.

In recent months we’ve seen a number of companies released M.2 boards that work with the Raspberry Pi 5, but now Raspberry Pi has released its own first-party add-on board. It’s called the Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ and it’s available now for $12.

In a blog post, the Raspberry Pi team explains that part of the reason so many third-party products were able to beat this official accessory to market is that its developers want to spend time ironing out the PCIe Connector specification and HAT+ specification and ensure the M.2 HAT+ complies with them both.

As a leader in the single-board computer space, the company notes that “Raspberry Pi specifications, like our 40-pin GPIO connector and our three-pin debug connector, often become de facto standards for the rest of the industry, and we have a responsibility to get them right first time.”

The good news is that Raspberry Pi says it’s M.2 HAT+ board should have broad compatibility with existing SSDs: basically any PCIe NVMe drive should work with this board, and users will be able to install an operating system to the SSD and use it as a boot source.

The Raspberry Pi M.2 Hat+ officially supports M.2 2230 and M.2 2242 devices. It can supply up to 3A of power to connected M.2 devices.

Officially the board supports a single-lane PCIe 2.0 interface with up to 500 MB/s peak transfer rates. But you can get the Raspberry Pi to support PCIe 3.0 speeds by making some software tweaks.

The board comes with 16mm stacking headers and threaded spaces, allowing you to position it above a Raspberry Pi with an Active Cooler (fan) installed.

Raspberry Pi has also released documentation for the add-on board, as well as schematics for use as a reference design by anyone looking to make their own M.2 boards for the Raspberry Pi 5.

Or you could opt for one of the many third-party PCIe add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi 5 if you’d prefer a board that lets you add five SATA drives, four M.2 SSDs, longer M.2 2280 drives, 2.5 GbE Ethernet, or other accessories.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign

or...

Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,546 other subscribers

Join the Conversation

7 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. The only real negative I saw was $12 for the board and 14.95 shipping.
    Gotta pass on that for now.

  2. “Raspberry Pi’s $12 M.2 HAT+ lets you add NVMe storage to a Raspberry Pi 5”

    If you can find a Pi 5 much less afford one ($80 for 8GB)! Raspberry Pi is no longer the goto board – for anything. Sad…

    1. The Pi 5 is always in stock at PiShop, Adafruit, etc, as well as various Amazon sellers. The shortage disappeared with the Pi 5’s arrival last fall. $80 is the most expensive Pi 5; there’s a $60 version, and you can also get a Pi 4 or 3 for less, and a Pi Zero for a lot less. Finally, there isn’t another SBC with 10% of the traction that the Pi has.

      1. Pi is nice and has nice traction for hobbyist projects, but can’t run stock debian linux. Pi has 10% of the traction that debian linux has for real work. The new Beagleboard is similar in several respects, costs less than the Pi5 and can do more.

        1. If you use a UEFI build, they will run vanilla arm64 debian. Available for Pi 5/4/3(/2 but requires the 64-bit capable variant)

    2. The Pi has priced itself out of the market it created it seems. So many better and cheaper alternatives now. Heck, at this point you can buy used SFF desktops for cheaper than a Pi.