The_Handy_Andy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:13 pm

Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:04 pm

So far I have found:

:D Kingston DataTraveler 100 G3 32Gb - boots from image written by RPi imager (Pi OS lite, Pi OS desktop, haven't tried Pi OS Full) (also tried RISC OS Pi and got as far as a command prompt, I got stuck!!).

:( Netac Portable SSD ZX 250Gb (UASP supported) - DOESN'T boot from either image written by RPi imager (Pi OS Full) or SD card copied using SD Card Copier (I suspect ticking the New Partition UUIDs option wouldn't do much)! The drive itself isn't bad, it's a LOT faster than the Kingston flashdrive and will still be useful.

Please add to this list (in the making).
Andrew

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craigevil
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:22 am
Location: OZ

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:49 am

type: USB vendor: Samsung model: PSSD T7 size: 500 GiB

Boots and works great on my pi400. All I did was use disk copier to copy my install from 64GB sd card to the SSD.

It is technically a Portable SSD. The drive itself has a USB-C port.
Raspberry PI 400 Raspberry Pi OS (Unstable) Kernel: 5.10.42-v8+ aarch64 DE: MATE Ram 4GB
Debian - "If you can't apt install something, it isn't useful or doesn't exist"

KeithMck
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:58 am

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:02 am

Netac Portable SSD ZX 250Gb
USB 3.2/USB C - the USB C socket is only wired for power supply.

(There are many threads on here about various USB disks, & usually on those that don't work, it is the adapters chip at fault.)

Every single pendrive that I have used boots OK.

Every sdcard adapter, not so.

The RPi 3B/3B+/3A+ will boot from external SSD drives, if set to boot from USB, & it uses an appropriate chip in the drive housing.

The RPi 4/400 will even boot from an external HDD, not just SSD drives, if it uses an appropriate chip in the drive housing or adapter cable.

The_Handy_Andy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:13 pm

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:02 pm

After a bit of detective work I've found that the Netac ZX drive is PCIe based. The driver chip on the SSD is an SM2263XT.

I have also noticed that all of the articles about booting a Pi4/400 from an SSD, that I've looked at so far, tend to use SATA based devices. Lucy's article https://magpi.raspberrypi.org/articles/ ... -ssd-drive uses SATA, The Argon ONE M.2 case uses a SATA drive.

I know this is just anecdotal but I am now thinking that PCIe based drives aren't fully compatable yet

The_Handy_Andy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:13 pm

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Sat Apr 17, 2021 1:01 pm

I now have a working combination.

I am using a WD Green 240Gb M.2 (not the quickest drive but a. cheap £25.99 direct from WD (free p&p) delivered in 2 days and b. runs very cool).

The enclosure is a UGREEN M.2 SSD SATA Enclosure USB 3.1 to NGFF (not a cheap enclosure but it was better to be safe than sorry)

PiKen
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:41 am

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:08 am

I've been booting with WD My Pasport 1TD powered from Pi400's USB3 with no problems. I do use powered hub on second USB3 for other drives, K400r keyboard and sometimes a SDRplay RSPdx software defined radio.

FrancisTurner
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:21 am

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Fri May 14, 2021 1:11 am

I've booted from a transcend 128MB SSD (TS128GJF910) which works fine. There was an oddity that the first time I tried it, it didn't work unless I also had an SD card inserted - though the OS that booted was from the USB SSD. That was with ubuntu 20.04 on the USB. When I changed to 64 bit Raspios it worked fine though so that might have been something to do with the ubuntu image?

Piromancer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:32 am

Re: Pi400 boot from Flash drive / ssd: what works, what doesn't

Fri Jun 04, 2021 5:33 am

For the most part, SATA works better with the Pi 400 and Pi 4. This has to do with peak current draw of the SSD.
NVMe SSDs tend to draw more power from the USB 3.0 port, compared to a SATA SSD. The Pi 400 and Pi 4 share the power supplied to the four USB ports (the Pi 400 has a 4th USB connector internally for the built-in keyboard).

From expereince, I've found that NVMe SSDs tend to boot fine, but as soon as you stress it with a large file-copy operation, it will cause errors. This is due to the NVMe SSD being under-powered from the USB 3.0 port it is connected too. SATA drives don't seem to have this issue, as their peak power draw is lower and within the power envelope of the Pi's USB 3.0 ports.

For example, when I connect a Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe M.2 SSD in a NVMe-USB enclosure to the Pi 400, Pi OS boots fine to the Desktop. As soon as I do a copy of a few multi-gigabyte ISO files, poof, wierd things start to happen, eventually locking up the Pi 400. The same thing happens with my Sandisk Extreme Pro Portable NVMe SSD. This is due to the NVMe SSDs drawing more current that the USB 3.0 port can comfortably supply.
When I connect a Samsung 860 EVO SATA drives (either M.2 or 2.5" form-factors) I get no storage errors at all, even when doing multi-gigabyte file copying. Stable as a rock.

If you are thinking that you are losing out on performance by using a "slow" SATA SSD compared to a faster NVMe SSD, consider that even a low-end SATA SSD can saturate the USB 3.0 connection. Put another way, the USB 3.0 is the limiting factor here. You cannot transfer data any faster that the slowest link in the connection, in this case the 5Gbits USB 3.0 connection. In practice, I get about 335-350MB/sec (that's Mega Bytes per second) on a Pi 400 overclocked to 2.36GHz (USB3.0 performance is affected by its host processor's speed). This is measured using fio (Flexible I/O Tester) the same back-end test engine used by Raspberry Pi Diagnostics' SD Card Speed Test.

Another consideration is the bridge chip used in your SSD enclosure or adaptor. In general, avoid enclosures/adapters that use JMicron chipsets. These have imperfect implementations of the storage protocols that necessitates running them in BOT (Bulk-Only Transport) mode in order to get them to work, instead of the more efficient and performant UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) mode. When helping users who have JMicron bridge-chip based adapters, you may find advice to use "quirks-mode" as a workaround to get it to work on a Pi. Quirks-mode eseentailly turns off UASP and hobbles the controller by putting it into BOT-mode, resulting in drastically reduced SSD performance. Personally, I've had solid and reliable performance with ASMedia ASM1153E chips and VIA Labs VL715 chips with my Pi 400. The brand of the enclousre or adapter is irrelevant. It is the SATA-USB bridge chip inside that matters.

So until a native NVMe connector is available on the next Pi model (the Pi CM4 already has a 1x PCIe connector) stick to SATA SSDs connected via ASMedia ASM1153E adapters.
Running Windows 10 Pro 21H1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB. Also testing Windows 10 Insider Preview 21390.1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB (overclocked to 2.35GHz at 4K 60p) with 64-bit x64 Windows applications through the built-in x64 emulation layer.

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