dcaccount
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Question on WD PiDrive

Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:24 am

Hello,
I am looking for a reliable storage unit for my NAS configured Rpi3.

I found the 314 Gb PiDrive.

What I am wondering if anyone uses it, if it is a good pick or if there are better options, for instance SSD.

Thanks,
Daniele

jbudd
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:45 am

I have the PiDrive, the Pi has no SD card, it boots from the PiDrive.
It has been running continuously for 3 months, it is quiet and reliable.

My only problems with it are :
The LED on the drive is blindingly bright and it can't be turned off.
Booting the Pi from a hard drive takes a bit longer.
Because the file system is much larger, it's not easy to make disk image backups.

IMHO the best feature is the cable because it provides power to the Pi via the hard disk rather than the other way around, and the Pi struggles to provide power for my other small hard disks. I wonder if a PiDrive cable and a portable (USB3, because of the cable plug) hard drive would do the job slightly cheaper.

Martin Frezman
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:10 am

I have the PiDrive 1G and am quite happy with it, except for one thing. This fits in with the theme of the previous response and with my general feeling that the weakest link - the part most likely to wear out - in a Pi setup is the power supply.

Anyway, the Pi in question is hooked up with the supplied power supply (the one that came with the drive) that, as noted, powers both the hard drive and the Pi itself. It has been running 24/7 for a couple of years now but lately (within the past 6 months), it has crashed a few times, and I'm 98% sure the problem is that the power supply is slowly failing. Usually, after a reboot, everything is well, but the last time this happened, I had to actually fully power down and unplug/replug the power supply to get things working again.

So, this is my only caveat...
If this post appears in the wrong forums category, my apologies.

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:42 am

The PiDrive is just a mechanical hard drive with a native USB interface. It's a cool product at a reasonable price, but a normal portable USB hard drive will do basically the same thing. The only difference is the packaging.

If you want more power efficiency and performance, then an SSD is certainly an option. An expensive option, but one that could also offer a smaller overall package, since SSD drives are available in smaller form factors like mSATA and M.2/NGFF. Also note that performance gains will be limited by the USB 2.0 interface, so you won't get the huge jump in performance of a typical PC with native SATA, but you should still see some improvement.

You could use something like this for mSATA
Image

Or this for M.2/NGFF
Image

Pictures are links to Amazon USA (you should put your location in your profile for more relevant answers).

EDIT:
Found another one that supports USB 3.0. Of course the current Raspberry Pi computers are only USB 2.0, but this may change in the future, and this adapter will be ready. This also looks like it won't interfere with cooling as much, since it sits mostly over the USB end.

Image

I just ordered one and will post about it after I have had a chance to play with it.
Last edited by HawaiianPi on Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HawaiianPi
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:36 am

Oh, and here's a fun fact. If you have a WD Passport portable hard drive, then you already have a Pi Drive, because those aren't your typical SATA drives in a case with a USB adapter, they are native USB hard drives, just like a Pi Drive. The things you learn by taking stuff apart.

So now I wonder if someone at WD thought to pull some of those drives off the Passport assembly line and sell them to "those Pi enthusiast" people, or did some Pi hacker post something about stripping the drive out of a Passport for use with the Pi, and WD caught onto that idea. Hmm... chicken or egg?
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rpdom
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:16 am

HawaiianPi wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:36 am
o now I wonder if someone at WD thought to pull some of those drives off the Passport assembly line and sell them to "those Pi enthusiast" people, or did some Pi hacker post something about stripping the drive out of a Passport for use with the Pi, and WD caught onto that idea.
Neither. The Pi Drives are based on the Passport ones, but the firmware has been changed to reduce the current needed to drive them, thus making them more suitable for driving from the Pi USB.

IIRC it is things like a lower storage capacity, slower spin up time and stuff like that that reduces the power requirements.

dcaccount
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:19 am

rpdom wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:16 am
HawaiianPi wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:36 am
o now I wonder if someone at WD thought to pull some of those drives off the Passport assembly line and sell them to "those Pi enthusiast" people, or did some Pi hacker post something about stripping the drive out of a Passport for use with the Pi, and WD caught onto that idea.
Neither. The Pi Drives are based on the Passport ones, but the firmware has been changed to reduce the current needed to drive them, thus making them more suitable for driving from the Pi USB.

IIRC it is things like a lower storage capacity, slower spin up time and stuff like that that reduces the power requirements.
Thanks to all for replying.

So as far as I read, they should be advisable.

Are they still in production or have they been discontinued. It is something that I read somewhere, I do not know if true or false.

Thanks,
daniele

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rpdom
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:03 am

I have a few Pis that use disks. The configurations differ due to usage. The main one is a Pi2B which has /boot on the SD card and everything else on the disk. I am currently using Seagate Expansion 2TB drives which seem to be ok. I run all these systems headless, so can't see if they get a lightning bolt symbol, but they have been 100% reliable for over a year now.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:53 pm

rpdom wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:16 am
Neither. The Pi Drives are based on the Passport ones, but the firmware has been changed to reduce the current needed to drive them, thus making them more suitable for driving from the Pi USB.

IIRC it is things like a lower storage capacity, slower spin up time and stuff like that that reduces the power requirements.
That's not true. They come with a 3.5A power supply that powers both the drive (first) and the Raspberry.
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jbudd
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Re: Question on WD PiDrive

Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:15 pm

I wonder if a PiDrive cable and a portable (USB3, because of the cable plug) hard drive would do the job slightly cheaper.
According to https://community.wd.com/t/pidrive-cabl ... ves/147390 you can indeed use the PiDrive cable with other WD portable drives.

When I got mine, just the cable was £10 (UK) and it still is at some well known Pi shops.
But WD Labs are selling a 3A power supply and the cable together for £6.50 plus postage. The 250GB drive and cable are £23.

Perhaps these prices are to dispose of remaining stock...
Are they still in production or have they been discontinued. It is something that I read somewhere, I do not know if true or false.
"The WDLabs team has learned a great deal from engaging you and designing products for DIY community. We continue to investigate emerging ideas, however, and the time has come for our engineers to explore new areas. The WDLabs products for the Raspberry Pi ecosystem are now available only on a limited basis and will be discontinued."

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