Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ here at last with a $12 price tag

Speedy storage for your Pi 5

The Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ has finally put in an appearance, allowing Pi 5 owners to connect M.2 M-key peripherals to their computers and take advantage of NVMe drives.

It has been a while coming. When the Pi 5 was launched, a prototype HAT+ was shown off. The device provided a bridge from the Pi's PCI Express connector and the standard M.2 M-key form factor.

Switching to an NVMe device promised a far better storage experience than sticking with SD cards. After all, NVMe storage is considerably swifter.

However, as the months passed, it became clear that making the hardware work was proving a bit of a challenge. Third-party products, such as the NVMe Base, stepped up in the meantime, but an official add-on remained conspicuously missing.

Until today, that is. Retailing at £11.50 including VAT, or $12, the Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ was announced by the COO of Raspberry Pi Trading, James Adams.

Adams explained that the delay was initially due to the effort involved in developing the Raspberry Pi 5, which features new hardware designs. Issues around the connector needed to be dealt with, wrinkles ironed out of the HAT+ specification, and drives had to be tested.

The Raspberry Pi gang are no strangers to issues that crop up after testing. Following problems with the Power Over Ethernet adapter for the Pi 3 Model B+, Pi supremo Eben Upton told The Register that the lessons had been: "Do more testing, particularly where we have multiple vendors for key bits of silicon."

Adams said: "We took the opportunity to test a wide variety of NVMe drives and other peripherals, and to investigate the various issues we found." One issue was an NVMe drive with firmware that didn't like the PCIe controller inside the BCM2712 chip, which required a firmware update from the drive manufacturer.

We asked the Pi team for a list of NVMe drives tested and will update the piece if we receive a response.

According to forum posts, the hardware should fit in the official case, although with the active cooler rather than the case fan. The Raspberry Pi 5 does tend to run a little warm, so we will confirm this when our hardware arrives.

Absent from Adams' announcement was the other M.2 adapter promised at launch. This L-shaped device is intended to allow the mounting of 2230 and 2242-format devices inside the Raspberry Pi 5 case. ®

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