Raspberry Pi 3 review: A faster processor plus Bluetooth and built in Wi-Fi take the Pi to the next level
WD Labs PiDrive review: The essential Raspberry Pi accessory
For a long time, your options as far as storage on the Raspberry Pi were concerned have been limited. Limited to your microSD card, a USB stick or, if you wanted more storage space, an externally powered hard disk. The WD PiDrive extends your options by one, adding the ability to install a large mechanical hard disk without the need for an extra power supply.
The PiDrive is a 2.5in internal hard disk, but with one key difference: instead of a SATA interface and power connector on its rear edge, you’ll find a microUSB 3 connector which you can use to connect the drive directly to one of your Raspberry Pi’s USB ports. Why has WD Labs done this? To reduce the power load on the Pi’s USB ports and obviate the requirement for an external power supply.
It’s an elegant solution, and one that adds a huge amount of storage capacity to your Raspberry Pi 3. The model sent to me for review was the 314GB model, which sells for £27 inc VAT. There’s also a 1TB model, but this isn’t available from WD’s UK shop, unfortunately.
It isn’t a particularly fast disk; I tested it using the DD command line tool and it gained sequential read and write speeds of 41MB/sec and 31MB/sec respectively.
But that’s not really the point of the PiDrive. Couple it with the recommended companion app, BerryBoot, and the drive makes light work of installing and running multiple Raspberry Pi OS images side by side. Mount it in a case with the Pi board, and you have an ultra-cheap desktop computer or media centre Kodi powerhouse with storage capacity to burn. Whatever you use it for, though, it’s a great little product at a decent price and an excellent companion to the Raspberry Pi 3.