Radxa's SATA HAT makes compact Pi 5 NAS

Radxa's latest iteration of its Penta SATA HAT has been retooled to work with the Raspberry Pi 5.

Radxa Penta SATA HAT for Raspberry Pi 5 with a Pi mug

The Pi 5 includes a PCIe connector, which allows the SATA hat to interface directly via a JMB585 SATA to PCIe bridge, rather than relying on the older Dual/Quad SATA HAT's SATA-to-USB-to-PCIe setup.

Does the direct PCIe connection help? Yes.

Is the Pi 5 noticeably faster than the Pi 4 for NAS applications? Yes.

Radxa Penta SATA HAT installed on Pi 5 with Drives next to it

Is the Pi 5 + Penta SATA HAT the ultimate low-power NAS solution? Maybe.

macOS Finder is still bad at network file copies

In what is becoming a kind of hobby for me, I've just finished testing another tiny NAS—more on that tomorrow.

But as I was testing, I started getting frustrated with the fact I've never been able to get a Raspberry Pi—regardless of internal storage speeds, even with 800+ MB/sec PCIe-based storage—to consistently write more than around 100 MB/sec write speeds over the network, with either Samba or NFS.

NFS would be more consistent... but it ran around 82 MB/sec:

NFS file copy to Raspberry Pi 5 stalled at 80 MB per second

Samba would peak around 115 MB/sec, but it was wildly inconsistent, averaging around 70 MB/sec:

Samba file copy to Raspberry Pi 5 wild undulations

I have a problem: I use macOS1.

Learning about ZFS and efficiency on my new Arm64 NAS

HL15 with Ampere Altra and ASRock Rack motherboard - NAS fully built

I've been building out a new Arm-based NAS using ASRock Rack's new 'Deep Micro ATX' motherboard for Ampere Altra and Altra Max CPUs.

I posted about the hardware earlier, in Building an efficient server-grade Arm NAS. Go check that out if you want details on the specific hardware in this setup.

But at the end of the build, I installed Rocky Linux, and found the power consumption to be a bit higher than expected—over 150W at idle!

As it turns out, the NAS must've been doing something when I took that initial measurement, because after monitoring it for a few more days, the normal idle power usage was around 123W instead.

Forget spaceships; I just want my music

A couple weeks ago, as my kids settled into the car, I asked like I always do, "what songs do you want me to play?"

They have a range of favored earworms, from Baby Shark to Babaloo, and usually the songs are tolerable, at least.

But a few albums, like Bluey's soundtrack, transcend the children's genre. They're genuinely fun to listen to, for everyone in the car.

Well, that fine day, the kids chose Ladybug Music. And let me tell you, besides a few duds, Ladybug Music slaps. And the songs incorporate diverse styles, too, it's not just the same nursery rhymes regurgitated in a bubbly voice.

So I found the album on my phone and noticed the songs were all greyed out.

I tapped one, and nothing. Just this notice:

Song not available Apple Music on iPhone

Not available in my region? Well, that's weird. I pay for Apple Music. And I know the artist is in the US, and I'm in the US...

Building a tiny 6-drive M.2 NAS with the Rock 5 model B

As promised in my video comparing SilverTip Lab's DIY Pocket NAS (express your interest here) to the ASUSTOR Flashstor 12 Pro, this blog post outlines how I built a 6-drive M.2 NAS with the Rock 5 model B.

The Rockchip RK3588 SoC on the Rock 5 packs an 8-core CPU (4x A76, 4x A55, in a 'big.LITTLE' configuration). This SoC powers a PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 slot on the back, which is used in this tiny 6-drive design to make a compact, but fast, all-flash NAS:

6-bay Rock 5 NAS

How I installed TrueNAS on my new ASUSTOR NAS

A common question I get asked whenever my ASUSTOR NAS makes an appearance is: "but can it do ZFS?"

I'm still trying to convince them to add it to ADM alongside EXT4 and Btrfs support, but until that time, the 2nd best option is to just run another OS on the NAS! This is now permitted, but you won't get technical support from ASUSTOR for other OSes.

Some people (myself included) like buying hardware and... doing what we want with it! And for computer hardware, that often involves installing whatever OS and software we want to do the things we want to do. Pretty crazy, coming from a guy who uses a Mac, right?

ASUSTOR Flashstor 12 - front

First look: ASUSTOR's new 12-bay all-M.2 NVMe SSD NAS

Last year, after I started a search for a good out-of-the-box all-flash-storage setup for a video editing NAS, I floated the idea of an all-M.2 NVMe NAS to ASUSTOR. I am not the first person with the idea, nor is ASUSTOR the first prebuilt NAS company to build one (that honor goes QNAP, with their TBS-453DX).

But I do think the concept can be executed to suit different needs—like in my case, video editing over a 10 Gbps network with minimal latency for at least one concurrent user with multiple 4K streams and sometimes complex edits, without lower-bitrate transcoded media (e.g. ProRes RAW).

ASUSTOR Flashstor 12 Pro - front and top

Streaming services lost the plot

Do you remember when Netflix first started their movie streaming service, back in 2007?

2007 era Netflix home page courtesy of the Wayback Machine

Physical media was still the preferred way to consume media. Besides sports content, and some TV shows that were cable-exclusive for a time, most people would run by Blockbuster and pick up a movie.

Netflix started with mail-order DVDs, then switched to streaming. The absence of ads (which were rampant on cable channels) and the convenience of not having to drive to a physical store (Blockbuster et all) made Netflix a no-brainer, especially considering the depth of their initial library.

Building a fast all-SSD NAS (on a budget)

All SSD Edit NAS build - completed

I edit videos non-stop nowadays. In a former life, I had a 2 TB backup volume and that stored my entire digital life—all my photos, family video clips, and every bit of code and text I'd ever written.

Video is a different beast, entirely.

Every minute of 4K ProRes LT footage (which is a very lightweight format, compared to RAW) is 3 GB of space. A typical video I produce has between 30-60 minutes of raw footage (which brings the total project size up to around 100-200 GB).