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Building a 2.5 Gbps 5-drive Pi NAS - Hardware Setup

A few months ago, an ASUSTOR representative emailed me with an offer I couldn't refuse. He saw my blog post and video about building the fastest Raspberry Pi NAS, and asked if I wanted to put up my best Pi-based NAS against an Asustor NAS.

We settled on the Asustor Lockerstor 4, with dual-2.5 Gbps networking, 4 GB of RAM, and a quad-core Intel CPU. To make things even, he convinced Seagate to send four 8TB IronWolf NAS drives. I don't fancy he thought it would be a good show if I kept on using my four used WD GreenPower drives from 2010!

I posted a video of the hardware build process for both NASes on my YouTube channel:

Building the World's Tiniest NVMe RAID Array

Just posting to the blog for reference; I posted this video on YouTube recently, in which I built (what I believe to be) the world's tiniest NVMe SSD RAID array, using the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and three diminutive WD SN520 NVMe drives (which are M.2 2230 size, which makes them each about the size of a quarter):

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I ran some benchmarks in RAID 5 and RAID 0, as well as one drive by itself, and found one surprising thing: the Pi's overall IO bandwidth is already saturated by just one drive, so putting NVMe disks in RAID doesn't really help with performance, like it does with slower spinning hard drives.

How to join multiple MP4 files from a GoPro with ffmpeg

I recently shot some footage with a GoPro, and realized after the fact the GoPro 'chapters' the footage around 4 GB, so I ended up with a number of 4 GB files, instead of one larger file. There are various reasons for this, but in the end, I really wanted one long file, so it would be easier to synchronize with footage from another camera and my audio recorder.

So I found this answer on StackOverflow, which had exactly the commands I needed:

ffmpeg -i 1.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts intermediate1.ts
ffmpeg -i 2.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts intermediate2.ts
ffmpeg -i 3.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts intermediate3.ts
ffmpeg -i 4.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts intermediate4.ts
ffmpeg -i "concat:intermediate1.ts|intermediate2.ts|intermediate3.ts|intermediate4.ts" -c copy -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc output.mp4

Note: If you use the 'High Efficiency' (HEVC) encoder for your GoPro videos, change h264_mp4toannexb to hevc_mp4toannexb in the above commands.

M.2 on a Raspberry Pi - the TOFU Compute Module 4 Carrier Board

Ever since the Pi 2 model B went to a 4-core processor, disk IO has often been the primary bottleneck for my Pi projects.

You can use microSD cards, which aren't horrible, but... well, nevermind, they're pretty bad as a primary disk. Or you can plug in a USB 3.0 SSD and get decent speed, but you end up with a cabling mess and lose bandwidth and latency to a USB-to-SATA or USB-to-NVMe adapter.

The Pi 4 actually has an x1 PCI Express gen 2.0 lane, but the USB 3.0 controller chip populates that bus on the model B. The Compute Module 4, however doesn't presume anything—it exposes the PCIe lane directly to any card it plugs into.

TOFU board by Oratek - Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Carrier with M.2 slot

And in the case of Oratek's TOFU, it's exposed through an M.2 slot, making this board the first one I've used that can accept native NVMe storage, directly under the Pi:

Microsoft repo and key are automatically added to Raspberry Pis

A couple weeks ago, I noticed when running apt-get upgrade on one of my Pi projects that a new repository was added.

VSCode Repository added to Raspberry Pi OS automatically during apt upgrade

It was a little odd, because Linux distributions don't typically 'inject' new repositories like this. And it was even stranger because this particular repository was for VSCode, from Microsoft.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation just posted an article to their blog about Visual Studio Code coming to the Raspberry Pi—but that post didn't address any of the controversy surrounding this change.

There's also a video that goes along with this post: Is Microsoft Spying on your Raspberry Pi?

What Happened

In late 2020, Microsoft released a version of VSCode compatible with the Raspberry Pi.

How I make my YouTube videos - 100K Office/Studio Tour

Early this year, I passed a major milestone on my YouTube channel—100,000 subscribers!

I've had a channel since 2006, but never really devoted time to it until last year, and I'm blown away by the positive response I've gotten publishing videos on Raspberry Pi, Kubernetes, Ansible and more.

How I make my YouTube videos - 100K YouTube subscriber silver play button

To celebrate the milestone, I created a 'how it's made' video where I go behind the scenes and show how I made—from start to finish—my Argon One M.2 Raspberry Pi Case review video.

Getting better sound recordings - will a new mic help?

I recently received an email from someone asking me how I got the voice recording in my videos to sound so clear and strong. The answer to that question is much more complex than I'll deal with here, but that person asked me mostly about the microphone I used, and if that could make a big difference in getting better recordings. Here's what I replied:

I currently use an EV RE320 in a shock mount.

EV RE320 in Shockmount

WiFi 6 is not faster than Ethernet on the Raspberry Pi

I didn't know it at the time, but my results testing the EDUP WiFi 6 card (which uses the Intel AX200 chipset) on the Raspberry Pi in December weren't accurate.

It doesn't get 1.34 gigabits of bandwidth with the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 like I stated in my December video, WiFi 6 on the Raspberry Pi CM4 makes it Fly!.

I'm very thorough in my benchmarking, and if there's ever a weird anomaly, I try everything I can to prove or disprove the result before sharing it with anyone.

In this case, since I was chomping at the bit to move on to testing a Rosewill 2.5 gigabit Ethernet card, I didn't spend as much time as I should have re-verifying my results.

MZHOU WiFi Bluetooth M.2 NGFF Adapter Card for PCIe Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 AX200 Intel 6