I would like to know, if it is possible to use a SSD as the only drive for a Raspberry PI.

The reason is, I would like to use it as database- and webserver and I am not sure about the lifetime of SD-cards.

4 Answers 4


Another option could be to use an alternative to the Raspberry Pi with an SATA-interface, like the Cubieboard (see this list on Wikipedia).

On the other hand, SD cards are not as unreliable as you might think.

  • The list is awesome ^_^ As long as they support Mono like the Raspberry Pi I am happy. The problem with SD Cards is also the limited storage...
    – Knerd
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 9:10

You can boot from the SD card then just use an attached SSD, but you can not get around using the SD card for booting.

Once booted you can make the SD card read only and make sure all the software etc is running of the SSD

  • 1
    I think you can put the root on an external drive. So only the /boot partition on the sd is used. And that is only used during boot.
    – Gerben
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 20:31

cmdline.txt contains root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 indicating the root partition.

I assume that if you used a SSD with a suitable partition you could use root=/dev/sda1 (or whatever). I have not tried this (and don't share the paranoia many seem to have about using SDCARDS).

It is not clear whether Raspbian contains the SSD trim support needed to ensure reasonable lifetime on a SSD.

It would be interesting to see if this works. I might even give it a go with a HD.

  • I've tried it, it works. Just do a direct partition copy off the SD to the HD with another device and you're good to go. Trim support is a function of hardware support and filesystem support. For ext4 it needs to be mounted with the discard option to enable it.
    – Fred
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 16:27
  • You probably also need to modify /etc/fstab on the HD from /dev/mmcblk0p2 / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1 to the new device
    – Milliways
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 11:52

2020 answer:

As of recently (June 2020) booting from USB is out of "beta" but hasn't been announced as officially supported. Read all about it here

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