Raspberry Pi 5 Official M.2 HAT Now Available for NVMe Drives and AI Accelerators

The Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT allows users to attach NVMe SSDs and other M.2-format accessories to the Raspberry Pi 5.
Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT

After a long wait, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced today the general availability of the official Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT for the latest Raspberry Pi 5 single-board computer.

Raspberry Pi 5 was released in October 2023 with powerful components like the Broadcom BCM2712 2.4GHz Quad-Core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A76 processor with 512KB per-core L2 caches and a 2MB shared L3 cache, as well as a VideoCore VII graphics card capable of supporting OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan 1.2 graphics technologies.

While these upgraded components are quite attractive for Raspberry Pi fans wanting a faster computer, the Raspberry Pi 5 included another appealing feature, namely support for attaching M.2 M-key peripherals directly on the board through a so-called M.2 HAT, which will dramatically boost the performance.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation teased us with two such M.2 HATs, one designed for mounting larger devices and another one in an L-shaped form factor that supports mounting 2230- and 2242-format devices inside the Raspberry Pi 5 case.

Some third-party hardware manufacturers were quick to release M.2 HAT adapter boards for the Raspberry Pi 5, but true fans like me preferred to wait for the official Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT, which is finally here allowing Raspberry Pi 5 owners to attach M.2 M-key peripherals like NVMe drives and AI accelerators.

Called Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+, the adapter board promises up to 500 MB/s data transfer to and from these peripherals. To support fast peripherals, the Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ attaches to Raspberry Pi 5’s single-lane PCI Express 2.0 interface exposed on a 16-pin, 0.5mm pitch FPC connector on the left-hand side of the board.

Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ supports devices with the M.2 M-key edge connector in the 2230 and 2242 form factors, supplying them with up to 3A. The board features a 16mm stacking header and threaded spacers to be fitted on a Raspberry Pi 5 board that uses the official Raspberry Pi Active Cooler.

“We wanted to make sure that our product really was a HAT+, which in turn meant we had to resolve a few last wrinkles in the Raspberry Pi HAT+ specification,” said James Adams. “If your Raspberry Pi 5 has up-to-date firmware, and an M.2 HAT+ attached, an installed PCIe device will be probed at power on and, if it’s an NVMe drive, it will be available as a boot source.”

The official Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ costs only $12 USD and can be purchased right now from Raspberry Pi Foundation’s network of Approved Resellers worldwide. I can’t wait to buy it from my local reseller and I’ll try to report my experience with it as soon as possible.

Image credits: Raspberry Pi Foundation

Last updated 2 weeks ago

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