Raspberry Pi: Before you buy

tags: #linux #raspberry #pi #storage #cooling #tips

While it could be easy to buy a Raspberry Pi and run it. You should know some tips before buy anything.

Raspberry Pi as a server is very good. In my opinion, you should buy with it a good SD Card and an active cooling solution.


One of the key part of a Raspberry Pi

SD Cards

SD card are not equals ? Nope. If you don't have the right SD Card, use a Pi can be painful. With the Raspberry Pi software, I reviewed my old SD card. You can see after 3 runs that my SD card is failing at writing enough fast to be usable.

*SD Card: Sandisk Ultra 64GB (branded for 1080p photo/video save)*

Raspberry Pi Diagnostics - version 0.10
Tue Aug 16 19:17:18 2022

Test : SD Card Speed Test
Run 1
Sequential write speed 11467 KB/sec (target 10000) - PASS
Random write speed 436 IOPS (target 500) - FAIL
Random read speed 1284 IOPS (target 1500) - FAIL
Run 2
Sequential write speed 8927 KB/sec (target 10000) - FAIL
Note that sequential write speed declines over time as a card is used - your card may require reformatting
Random write speed 431 IOPS (target 500) - FAIL
Random read speed 1280 IOPS (target 1500) - FAIL
Run 3
Sequential write speed 13747 KB/sec (target 10000) - PASS
Random write speed 443 IOPS (target 500) - FAIL
Random read speed 1279 IOPS (target 1500) - FAIL

Then, I bought a more recent SD Card and all tests passed instantly.

*SD Card: Sandisk Extreme 32GB (branded for 4k photo/video save)*

Raspberry Pi Diagnostics - version 0.10
Tue Aug 16 19:28:50 2022

Test : SD Card Speed Test
Run 1
Sequential write speed 36167 KB/sec (target 10000) - PASS
Random write speed 1306 IOPS (target 500) - PASS
Random read speed 268And2 IOPS (target 1500) - PASS

USB Stick

Finally I would try to boot on a Kingston DataTraveler 64GB but I can't get it working. The Pi booted but it was terribly slow.

After 20 minutes of booting, it is stuck during OS initialization.


Missing a free SSD SATA, not tested.

Cooling Solution

The Raspberry Pi 4 can be very hot sometimes. I can only advise you to buy an "ICE Tower Raspberry Pi 4 CPU Cooler". You will never need to buy anything else or maybe a GPIO controlled fan. This active cooler make your Pi running in a range of 36°C to ~56°C during heavy load. You can use it as a passive cooler if your Raspberry Pi is a small server.

I also tested the "Geekworm Heavy-duty Aluminum Passive Cooling Metal Case", a passive cooler which was fine but I wasn't comfortable with heavy load tasks when I was not at home.

This is why I bought the ICE Tower with a GPIO controlled fan. 80% of the time the fan is not active and I don't have a permanent noise in my room. During heavy loads, the fan become active automatically with one of my program.


SD Card Flashing

- Use "Raspberry Pi Imager"

- Go to the cog icon

- Change your default user name (default: pi)


After the first boot of your hardware

# update os 
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y 
# ensure you have rpi-eeprom installed
sudo apt install rpi-eeprom
# Automatically install bootloader and USB (VLI) EEPROM updates && Use the default bootloader config (not needed on every installation)
sudo rpi-eeprom-update -da

Last-Updated: 2022-09-17
Content from gemini://kelgors.me/articles/rpi-before-buy.gmi

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