I've read that running raspbian from an usb-stick can speed up your raspberry pi (as explained here). How to do this is clear to me, but I was wondering if it matters what kind of usb stick I'll use.

I know that you can test it by mounting it, but was wondering if it matters if you use a full size or a low profile stick. Because I would very much prefer a low profile one. Are there any differences in the type of usb stick used when booting raspbian from it?

  • 2
    Note that you'll have to boot the pi from the SD card, and continue operation on the USB stick. The pi can't boot from an USB drive
    – saloalv
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


Are there any differences in the type of usb stick used when booting raspbian from it?

No. The only thing that's going to make a significant difference would be speed, and the hard deck there is determined by the pi itself, not the stick, presuming it legitimately meets USB 2.0 standards.

Of course, I can't promise that some sticks aren't made better than others, but the fact that we don't see manufacturers trying to claim "Ours is the fastest!" is a big clue about reality here.

  • Ok great, I was worried that in order to shrink the size of the low profile usb sticks their functionality/speed/reliability might have been compromised, compared to their larger cousins. Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 21:21
  • Btw., I've read that some recommend using a 3.0 stick, for the extra headroom. But that doesn't make sense to me. Or could that actually help with speed? Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 19:24
  • I don't know everything, but it seems unlikely. The bus on the pi side is USB 2.0, and that has a max speed. A 2.0 stick should meet it as easily as a 3.0 stick.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 19:32
  • Is the capacity (number of GBytes) of the USB stick limited? Would for example an USB stick with 512 GByte of capacity work? I am asking this because for microSD cards the Raspi (officially) does only support up to 32 GByte. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 7:55
  • @user1364368 I don't see why there why there would be any problem. I've used a 500 GB USB hard drive with them since the first pi I bought 4 years ago and never had any problems (besides power, which shouldn't be an issue with a solid state stick); plenty of people here have referred to 1 and 2 TB drives.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 12:22

The appearance of the stick (low profile, high profile, blue, red, or black) makes no difference to the Pi.

Use any USB stick which works.

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