LyCOM shows off a range of Raspberry Pi Hats at Computex 2017

Taiwanese LyCOM, a maker of various I/O accessories showed off a range of Raspberry Pi compatible expansion boards at Computex. Some of them are rather unusual, such as the Pi-112 which adds M.2 drive support. LyCOM also offers modules that adds SATA and mSATA support. Common among all three modules is that they use a USB to SATA bridge chip, although unfortunately I wasn’t able to determine who the manufacturer of the bridge chip was, as all the hats were in a glass display case. All three hats have a micro USB connector that needs to be connected to one of the USB ports on the Raspberry Pi board, but they can also be connected via a pin-header. The M.2 adapter also has a second micro USB port for power and it’s of course only compatible with SATA based M.2 drives.

M.2 SATA SSD HAT for Raspberry Pi
SATA pHAT for Raspberry Pi Zero
mSATA HAT for Raspberry Pi

LyCOM was also showing off a full-size SD card adapter and a couple of serial port adapters. Judging by the company’s website, they also have some additional models, but these are less unique in terms of features, but you can find more details here.

SDXC Board for Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi GPIO to DB9M Serial Board
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Sander
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Sander

Assuming the price is reasonable (5-20 USD per board), I like this very much. And *especially* the M2 board (see http://www.lycom.com.tw/Pi-112.htm)

Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
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@Sander
Last time, I checked M.2 SSDs were much more expensive than mSATA ones, and on the Raspberry Pi, there should not be performance difference between the two. So if the price difference is still there, I wonder why one would want to use M.2 instead of mSATA for this use case. I may be missing something.

Sander
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Sander

cnxsoft :
@Sander
I wonder why one would want to use M.2 instead of mSATA for this use case. I may be missing something.

Because of size: M2 is just a nice small strip. Much smaller than a 2.5inch drive.

tkaiser
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tkaiser

cnxsoft :
I wonder why one would want to use M.2 instead of mSATA for this use case. I may be missing something.

You miss the majority of Raspberry Pi users being somewhat clueless and believing in miracles (the first such mSATA HAT was sold with promises of up to 60 MB/s which is plain BS since you can not exceed 37.5 MB/s due to the single USB2 connection on Raspberries).

BTW: USB to SATA bridge used here is Renesas µPD720231A. You can spot it on the pictures eg. here: https://www.conrad.de/de/msata-ssd-erweiterungs-platine-fuer-den-raspberry-pi-1337091.html

Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
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@Sander
I see, but an mSATA SSD is different from 2.5″ SSD, and also small (albeit not quite as small) as M.2 form factor, once you consider the HAT board the size and height are about the same.
The following link describes the different SSD form factor quite well: https://rog.asus.com/articles/hands-on/easy-guide-to-ssds-sata-msata-m-2-and-u-2/

tkaiser
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tkaiser

@cnxsoft
Hmm… I checked some prices of M.2 (SATA) vs. mSATA: https://geizhals.de/?cat=hdssd&sort=r&xf=1035_Crucial%7E1035_Intel%7E1035_Samsung%7E1035_SanDisk%7E4832_4%7E4832_8

M.2 being more expensive is not necessarily true (any more). BTW: ‘price per capacity’ sorted, to change that you would have to click at the ‘Preis’ label at the table’s header.

tkaiser
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tkaiser

@cnxsoft
The M.2 variant called Pi-112 of these enclosure-less enclosures 😉 is at least not blocking the GPIO header so it might be able to combine it with a real HAT (making use of the GPIO pins unlike these strange USB-to-SATA PCBs here).

@Sander
Search for ‘1487097 – 89’ at conrad.nl to see how overpriced this stuff is (you get an Orange Pi Zero including the more useful ‘NAS Expansion board’ for the same price)

Nobody of Import
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Nobody of Import

Most of these look appealing. Very much so, if they keep the prices down a bit as it looks like they’re going to go for.

sander
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sander

(Hopefully this comment will be visible)

@tkaiser: Conrad.nl shows the “M.2 SATA SSD-expansion board for the Raspberry Pi” for 17.99 Euro. Not too bad, considering it’s Conrad.

Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
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@sander
Do you still get comments disappearing?