Links referenced for video
- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HKGGPLR - Western Digital 250GB WD Blue SN570 NVMe
- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08G14NBCS - ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure
Please excuse any grammatical errors. I used a tool to generate the transcript and haven't had a chance to read through it yet. ✔️
In today's video, I wanted to cover the hardware components on the Raspberry Pi. Understanding what you are working with is helpful and I find it impressive what they have managed to cram on this circuit board. Towards the end of the video, I will suggest an upgrade if you plan to use it for full-time hosting. On the top right, we have a gigabit Ethernet port, which supports true gigabit Ethernet speeds. The Ethernet transceiver chip on the Raspberry Pi allows you to achieve full gigabit speeds of 1000 megabits per second, compared to the Raspberry Pi 3, which was limited to 300 megabits per second. Below the Ethernet port, we have two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. On the side view, we can see the Ethernet port in the center and two USB 3.0 ports (which have blue inside) and two USB 2.0 ports (black) on the left. Below the Ethernet controller, we have the USB controller chip. On the previous Raspberry Pi 3, the Ethernet and USB controller were on the same chip, causing the limitation of 300 megabits per second on the gigabit Ethernet interface.
Now, that's broken up into two separate chips, which allows for USB 3.0 and the true gigabit Ethernet port. So now, if we continue on our way around the board, here we have a four-pole stereo output jack, which is handy if you want to connect headphones or some other external speaker. To the left of that, we have a CSI camera port. This is something I've never actually used, but if you wanted to connect an external web camera, if you use this as a desktop replacement, that's what that port could be used for. To the left of that, we have two micro HDMI ports, which means that this board does support dual displays, which again is impressive for something so small. If you only use a single monitor, then this board can support 4K at 60 frames per second. If you use the dual display option, it can support two monitors at 4K 30 frames per second. Now, to the left of the micro HDMI ports, we have a USBC port, and this is used to provide power to the Raspberry Pi. Now, returning to the top of the board, here we have a DSi display port, this is something I've never used. And, continuing up to the top left, we have a radio frequency shielded module that provides Dual Band Wi-Fi 2.4 and 5 gigahertz. It provides 802.11 BGN and AC along with Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth LE. So, if you don't have a nearby Ethernet port, you can still use the wireless adapter and have internet access. It's also helpful if you use this as a desktop computer replacement; you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to it. Above that, we have this black bar with 40 pins in it; this is a 40-pin GPIO header, you likely won't be using this. And next to that, we have a grouping of four pins, and this is used for PoE. There's an extra module you can purchase, which is a PoE hat, and what that allows you to do is use PoE with the Raspberry Pi. PoE stands for power over Ethernet, so what that does is, once you plug in the PoE hat to the Raspberry Pi, you can now plug in an Ethernet cable, and if your switch supports PoE, then that singular cable can provide both network connectivity and power to the Raspberry Pi, and you don't need to use the USBC port to power it.
So, in the center, we have the "star of the show." This is a 64-bit quad-core Arm Cortex A72 processor clocked at 1.5 gigahertz. This processor has been more than enough for small projects. To the right of the CPU, we have DDR4 SD RAM. This will vary in size depending on the Raspberry Pi purchased. This one has 4GB of RAM, but it can range from 2GB to 8GB. This concludes the top of the board.
Moving to the bottom, there's one component to highlight: the Micro SD card slot. This is commonly used to store the OS and related files. To upgrade, the author suggests using an NVMe SSD instead of the Micro SD card. You'll need an NVMe SSD and an enclosure to plug the SSD in, then connect it to the Raspberry Pi via USB. This author uses it for a Mastodon server on a Raspberry Pi. You'll still need a Micro SD card for initial setup, but once that's done, the OS and data will be stored on the NVMe SSD. The reason for this upgrade is that Micro SD cards can be unreliable with large amounts of reading and writing. If a modern SD card fails, it goes into read-only mode to protect data.
I actually experienced this twice when I was setting up my Mastodon server. I tried to use only a Micro SD card, but when I installed the ruby gems, which required a high number of reads and writes, the SD cards went into read-only mode and I could no longer use them. Since I upgraded to the M.2 SSD, I haven't had any issues and it's been running reliably. I'll link both the enclosure and the NVMe SSD below if you're interested in purchasing them. I bought both from Amazon, the bookstore run by Bezos. The enclosure cost me around $19 and the specific NVMe drive that I bought was $35. There are cheaper drives available, but I like Western Digital, so you can probably pick one up for $15 on the low end. Again, this isn't a required upgrade, you can still just use the Micro SD card if you prefer, but for reliability's sake, I would suggest making the upgrade. There were some comments on my last video that said you can get a used old laptop for cheaper. This is likely true, but I like the small form factor and low power consumption of the Raspberry Pi, so I stick with it. The self-hosting guides that I'll have in the near future can be adapted to whatever hardware you have lying around, but I'll be demonstrating and performing the installs on a Raspberry Pi. If you made it this far and are not tired of hearing me talk yet, the top video is one I think you'll enjoy if you liked this one, and the bottom one was chosen for you by the YouTube algorithm.