raspberry pi

The Petabyte Pi Project

I haven't had time to write up the details yet, but I wanted to share a project that's been many months in the making: The Petabyte Pi Project on YouTube.

I'm still doing follow-up testing based on feedback from Broadcom storage engineers, and will put out a much more in-depth blog post later, but the gist is:

Can a single Raspberry Pi cosplay as an 'enterprise' storage server, directly addressing 1 PB of storage?

Now... caveats abound here. What does 'enterprise' mean? And what does 'directly addressing' mean? Those things are all answered in the video linked above.

But to give a tl;dr: The Pi does not perform swimmingly. But... I did get a single array of 60 hard drives—20TB Exos HDDs to be exact—working in a 45Drives Storinator XL60 chassis, controlled only through a single Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. Of course I had to rip out the Xeon guts and replace them with said Pi:

External graphics cards work on the Raspberry Pi

AMD Radeon HD 7450 Graphics card with Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

In October 2020, after Raspberry Pi introduced the Compute Module 4, I started out on a journey to get an external graphics card working on the Pi.

At the time, it'd been over a decade since the last time I'd built a PC, and I had a lot to learn about PCI Express, the state of graphics card drivers in Linux, and PCI Express support on various ARM SoCs.

8 New Compute Module 4 boards for Spring 2022

It's been a busy start to the year on my Raspberry Pi PCIe Devices website. Not only have we finally made some significant progress learning about the BCM2711's PCIe bus (both good and bad), I've also added a few dozen new Raspberry Pi CM4-based boards to the site.

In my YouTube video today, I go through four of them in depth, showing how they're built and what they're used for.

The four projects I cover in depth are:

  1. Bigtreetech's Raspberry Pad 5
  2. Seeed Studio's reTerminal
  3. Waveshare's Dual Ethernet 5G/4G base board
  4. Ab-log's RPi4-RTC-PoE DIN rail computer

And there are some other projects I'm watching closely as they journey down the road towards production:

Playing sounds with Python on a Raspberry Pi

Today I needed to play back an MP3 or WAV file through a USB audio device on a Raspberry Pi, in a Python script. "Should be easy!" I thought!

Clarence the Raspberry Pi Bell Slapper with USB audio output and speaker

Well, a couple hours later I decided to write this blog post to document the easiest way to do it, since I had to take quite a journey to get to the point where sound actually plays through the USB audio output.

The problem is most guides, like this simple one from Raspberry Pi's project site, assume two things:

Top 10 Pi Projects for Raspberry Pi's 10th Birthday

Original Raspberry Pi model B and Pi 4 model B with old Pis in background

In case you didn't know, the Raspberry Pi turns 10 today!

That's right—the Raspberry Pi model B (pictured above, front left) was launched on February 29th, 2012. And it sold out immediately.

That seems to have become a theme with every Pi model, but for anyone who does have a Pi kicking around in a box somewhere—or if you're lucky enough to find a Pi in stock—check out my latest video, where I go through my top 10 Raspberry Pi projects (all of which I've built, and most of which I'm still running today!):

Building a desktop Pi PC with Axzez's Interceptor

A couple months ago, Axzez reached out and asked if I'd like to test out the Interceptor—an ATX-style mini motherboard for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, complete with 5 SATA ports.

Axzez Interceptor Carrier Board for Compute Module 4

The board is meant to be used as an NVR (Network Video Recorder): You pop a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 on top, you plug in up to 5 SATA hard drives for storage, and then you plug IP cameras into the 3 extra LAN ports (via an RTL8367RB switch) on the back, and you can store IP camera footage on the drives, and access it over the network.

Gaming at 1080p and 120 Hz on a Raspberry Pi 4

I often like exploring what's possible on a Raspberry Pi (or other low-end hardware). One area I haven't explored much is GPU performance. I typically run my Pi's headless, and have only dabbled in embedded machine vision with Pi cameras, so most of my experience is on the programming / software side.

But seeing Apple's 120 Hz 'ProMotion', and ever-higher refresh rates in the enthusiast gaming realm (we may hit 480 Hz soon!), I wanted to see how a tiny Raspberry Pi could perform in this realm.

The Pi's VideoCore GPU can output 1080p at refresh rates up to 120 Hz—at least there's a setting for it. But I'd never tried it. The hardest I pushed a Pi was 4K at 60 Hz for my Pi 4 a Day challenge, and that didn't go as well as I'd hoped.