NanoPi M4 is one of the many Rockchip RK3399 boards available on the market today. The SBC follows Raspberry Pi form factor, comes with 2 to 4 GB RAM, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Etherent, HDMI 2.0, etc.. and exposes the 2-lane PCIe interface from the Rockchip processor not through a typical PCIe slot or mini PCIe slot, but instead through a 2.54mm pitch header.
I feel like an odd choice at first glance, but it now makes complete sense, as the company has launched a 4x SATA HAT for NanoPi M4 board that leverages the header with PCIe 2x signals.
- PCIe to SATA Chipset – Marvell 88SE9215 four-port 6Gbps SATA I/O controller
- USB – 2x 4-pin USB 2.0 host connectors
- Expansion – NanoPi M4 40-pin header exposed
- Power key, unpopulated power key jumper
- Power LED, 4x SATA LEDs
- Heat dissipation – 2x PCB nuts for mounting a heatsink on top of Marvell chipset; 2-pin header for fan, PWM modulation for 12V output
- Power Supply
- 12V DC input via power barrel jack or 4-pin header; 2A needed for one 3.5″ hard drive or four 2.5″ hard drives; 5A needed for four 3.5″ hard drives
- 4-pin power connector with 12V and 5V output
- Dimensions – 65 x 56 mm
- Weight – 33.48 grams
The company provides Ubuntu based FriendlyCore 18.04 64-bit, FriendlyDesktop 18.04 64-bit, and Lubuntu 16.04 32bit with Linux 4.4, Uboot-2014.10 for NanoPi M4, and those images can be used with the M4 SATA HAT.
The company ran iozone to show the performance with one 750GB Crucial MX300 SSD.
Random reads and writes are much faster than eMMC flash modules and micro SD cards, but do not quite reach the performance of NVMe SSDs which can be connected to the company’s higher end NanoPC-T4 board.
This HAT will ease the design of NAS based on Rockchip RK3399 processor with up to four drive, and it won’t bread the bank as the 4x SATA HAT sells for $25 with heatsink, thermal pad, screws, metal standard, SATA I/F and power cable. If you don’t own one already, you’ll also need to add NanoPi M4 for $65 and up, a 12V power supply, an enclosure, and obivously the storage device(s).
Thanks to theguyuk for the tip.