Affordable and Versatile: $10 Raspberry Pi 5 M.2 HAT Fits Perfectly in the Official Case

There are a lot of reasons to love the Raspberry Pi 5, and the inclusion of a single-lane PCI Express 2.0 interface for expansion is, for me, chief among them.

I (hastily) bought a Pimoroni NVMe Base so I could use an M.2 SSD with my Pi 5 (a stonkingly faster experience than a slow-poke microSD card). Only problem is it’s large. With that board attached, my Raspberry Pi 5 can’t fit in the official Raspberry Pi 5 case.

And while the newer, smaller official Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ can be used in the official case, you have to keep the top off (which makes it less of a case and more of a clingy coaster).

But users who want an expansion board that doesn’t take up much room are in luck.

The folks at Pineboards have engineered a svelte solution.

Pineboards HatDrive! Nano

The Pineboards HatDrive! Nano is a 55×34mm M.2 HAT for the Raspberry Pi 5. It not only fits in the official case (even with an M.2 2242/2230 card attached), but fits in the case with enough room to leave the official active cooler unobstructed.

This budget-friendly expansion board supports anything that uses an M.2 M-Key interface (M.2 2242/2230 only). Use it with PCIe 2 and 3 NVMe storage (it supports SUSCLK signal), an NPU, wireless card, and so on.

They also added a 3A buck converter to improve efficiency and lessen heat output, which is ace.

And it’s not just a small footprint that the Pineboards HatDrive! Nano offers. The price tag is equally diminutive too: mere $10/€9/£9 — and yup, that includes a 25mm PCIe FPC cable, plus screws, and spacers for attaching it.

Obviously, shipping has to be paid on top of that, but the same is true of most M.2 HAT boards, including Raspberry Pi’s own.

It’s available for buy from The Pi Hut in the UK, Welectron or Botland in Germany (and Poland and Czech Republic for the latter), or direct from the Pineboards Store, which (appears to) ship to the US.

A real sweetener for specific needs

If you own a Raspberry Pi 5, and the official case, and you want to take advantage of the board’s PCIe expansion capabilities without drawbacks or case modifications, then Pineboards’ HatDrive! Nano is truly a sweet deal.

But if you don’t care about using the official case, don’t need a specific HAT size, and/or don’t need a board to sit in a specific position, there’s plenty of choice out there now,

The official Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ is an affordable, solid shout; Pimoroni has several offerings, including a new NVMe Base Duo for dual SSDs setups; and an ever-growing crop of Raspberry Pi 5 cases come with built-in SSD expansion, like the ace Argon One v3.

Anyway, I figured I’d pass on word of this since Ubuntu 24.04 LTS runs brilliantly on the Raspberry Pi 5 when booted from an SSD.