Watch the associated video here:


In this article we’ll take a quick look at what NVMe is all about, and how to install an NVMe drive on a Raspberry Pi 5. Then we’ll look at how to setup a NAS server using Samba.

What does NVMe stand for?

NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express.

  • NVM refers to memory that retains its stored data even when the power is turned off. Unlike volatile memory (like RAM), which loses its data without power, non-volatile memory keeps the data intact
  • Express - This term is borrowed from “PCI Express” (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), a high-speed interface commonly used in computers
  • NVMe - was specifically designed to unleash the potential of solid-state drives, which were being bottlenecked by older interfaces like SATA that were designed for slower spinning hard drives

What do the NVMe sizes mean?

Regarding sizes, NVMe SSDs commonly come in a few different form factors:

  • M.2 - Most common form factor. M.2 SSDs are small and compact, making them ideal for laptops and small form factor PCs. They come in various lengths, typically labeled as 2280, 2260, 2242, etc., where the first two digits represent the width in millimeters (22mm) and the last two or three digits represent the length (e.g., 80mm, 60mm, 42mm).
  • U.2 - Formerly known as SFF-8639, U.2 NVMe SSDs are larger and often used in enterprise or server environments. They are physically similar to traditional 2.5-inch SATA drives but with a different connector to support NVMe’s higher performance.
  • PCIe Add-In Card (AIC) - These are full-sized cards that slot directly into a PCIe slot on a motherboard. They offer higher capacities and often better performance but are larger and require a desktop PC with available PCIe slots.
  • NF1 - NF1 (Next-generation Form Factor 1) is another form factor mainly used in servers and data centers. It’s designed for high density and offers a higher capacity than M.2.

Each form factor is tailored for different use cases and system configurations, from ultra-portable laptops to high-end servers and workstations.

A slide showing the different NVMe form factors

Installing an NVMe Drive

  1. First of all, you’ll need to get your hands on an NVMe drive. I bought a 1TB drive from Amazon for £80.
  2. Next you’ll need a Hat or Base board to connect the NVMe drive to the Raspberry Pi 5.
  3. The boot order in the EEProm news to be changed to boot from the NVMe Drive
  4. Samba needs to be installed to share the files on your network

Two great options are the:

There are also two approaches to adding the NVMe drive to your Raspberry Pi 5; via a HAT or via a Base board that fits underneath the Raspberry Pi 5.

How to Install a Pimoroni NVMe Base

A Slide showing the installation steps described above

The NVMe drive is installed by pushing it at a slight angle into the NVMe board and then securing it with a small screw.

A slide showing how to insert the nvme drive

A Slide showing the installation steps described above

Screw the NVMe Base to the Raspberry Pi 5

A Slide showing the installation steps described above

Push the cable into the NVMe Base and then into the Raspberry Pi 5

A Slide showing the installation steps described above

How to install Raspberry Pi OS on an NVMe drive

This guide assumes you have a Raspberry Pi, a Pimroni NVMe Base and a NVMe drive. The Raspberry Pi 5 is already running Raspberry Pi OS via an SD Card.

Next we need to install Raspberry Pi OS on the NVMe drive. This is done by using the Raspberry Pi Imager.

  1. On the Raspberry pi 5, open the Raspberry Pi Imager

    A Slide showing the installation steps described above

  2. Click the Choose Device button

    A Slide showing the installation steps described above

  3. Select the Raspberry Pi 5 option

    A Slide showing the installation steps described above

  4. Select the Raspberry Pi OS 64bit option

    A Slide showing the installation steps described above

  5. Click the Choose Storage button

  6. Choose the NVMe drive

  7. Click the Next button

  8. Once the Raspberry Pi Imager has finished writing the image to the NVMe drive, turn the Raspberry Pi off by pressing the on/off button

  9. Finally Remove the SD Card from the Raspberry Pi 5 and reboot the Raspberry Pi 5

How to boot a Raspberry Pi 5 from NVMe

Next we need to change the boot order of our Raspberry Pi 5. This is done by editing the EEProm on the Raspberry Pi 5 using the rpi-eeprom-config command.

sudo rpi-eeprom-config -e

The add the following line to the file:


Then save the file and reboot the Raspberry Pi 5.

What does NAS stand for?

NAS means Network Attached Storage. This is a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous group of clients. NAS is specialized for serving files either by its hardware, software, or configuration.

How to setup Samba on Raspberry Pi 5

  1. Install Samba

     sudo apt install samba samba-common-bin
  2. Create a directory to share

     mkdir /home/pi/share
  3. Edit the Samba config file

     sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
  4. Add the following lines to the bottom of the file

     Comment = Pi shared folder
     Path = /home/pi/share
     Browseable = yes
     Writeable = Yes
     only guest = no
     create mask = 0777
     directory mask = 0777
     Public = yes
     Guest ok = yes
  5. Add a Samba user

     sudo smbpasswd -a pi
  6. Restart Samba

     sudo systemctl restart smbd
  7. Finally, on your computer, open a file browser and type in the IP address of your Raspberry Pi 5, followed by the name of the share folder.


In this article we looked at what NVMe is, how to install an NVMe drive on a Raspberry Pi 5 and how to setup a NAS server using Samba.

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