I currently have a raspberry Pi 2B with a 64GB Lexar USB 3.0 jumpdrive, it's already pretty fast, but I'm wondering if I can bypass some of the bottlenecks in the system by using te x600 expansion board (link) with a 2 500GB HDD's attached in LVM, or should I just use 2 USB to SATA adapters?

I also want to attach a USB 3.0 Gigabit ethernet adapter. The device will be directly connected to the router and streaming only happens over LAN (plex).

The device is currently running in Turbo mode (1Ghz) and is running plex, a samba share, couchpotato, sickrage and Deluge.

Is this a good setup, and does anyone have suggestions to improve?

Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    no matter what speed the device claims USB is still likely to be the limiting factor, and hence a waste of money (e.g. the Pi does not support USB 3). Jan 2, 2016 at 14:30
  • Thanks for your reply, I already have the 2 500GB HDD's (got them from a old NAS that was no longer working) I'm just looking for the best way to attach them." The USB drive was one I was not using, so I just used it as a temporary storage. Also, what kind of speeds will I get on a external HDD?
    – iSidle
    Jan 2, 2016 at 14:33
  • since USB is likely the limiting factor. A cheap USB enclosure should do it. Jan 2, 2016 at 14:34
  • I know USB is the limiting factor, but will a normal HDD speed it up? And will a Gigabit ethernet adapter improve streaming speeds? Benchmark of USB: pastebin.com/B7ZDiwd2
    – iSidle
    Jan 2, 2016 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


It appears that the data links are just going through one of the pi's existing USB ports via an adapter. The GPIOs passed through are presumably not used for anything (trying to use them to implement > USB 2.0 speeds would I think be futile anyway). This means you are still limited the same way. You could now attach a SATA drive, but it won't be working at SATA speeds.

will a normal HDD speed it up

No. Any drive or stick you attach will operate at USB 2.0 speeds.

I also want to attach a USB 3.0 Gigabit ethernet adapter.

You could (in theory), get a faster ethernet connection this way (although you do not need that board to do so) since the max rate of the USB bus is probably ~280 Mbps whereas the existing ethernet is 100 Mbps.

That ~280 Mbps USB 2.0 speed (which your benchmark is within) would include both the ethernet and any connected drive. It is not per port, it is in total. Note that this is true with or without an additional adapter, since the ethernet and USB jacks use an integrated controller.

  • So, to sum this up, I should just use a simple USB to SATA cable and the Ethernet adapter? And would this then be sufficient to stream to 2 LG TV's simultaneously with plex?
    – iSidle
    Jan 3, 2016 at 0:25
  • USB -> SATA If the reason is "This is the only hard drive I own and I cannot afford $50 for a normal USB external drive", I would say sell one of the TVs. Using a SATA drive is more likely to be a disadvatage because it is a complication with no conceivable benefits. Keep in mind the pi was NOT designed or intended for use as a high performance multimedia center. No one claims that it was, but you are free to experiment. Will it work as well as a readymade device? Maybe maybe not, but certainly not as easily (meaning, you will have to experiment and be prepared to accept disappointment).
    – goldilocks
    Jan 3, 2016 at 4:18
  • That is not the case at all, I just have these HDD's laying around gathering dust, so I thought why not put them to a good use? But if it really is such a huge disadvantage I'd happily buy a normal external hdd. A $50 USB is really not gonna cut it because I need atleast 1TB and that's already tight
    – iSidle
    Jan 4, 2016 at 11:27
  • Fair enough. I'm sorry if I sounded a bit rude. My point is the pi is not a high performance media center; it can serve as a basic media center. That add-on board does not look bad, just it is not going to speed anything up (and it does not claim otherwise). WRT what you want to do, all you can do is try. If you do use those drives, use ext4 on them if you want the best performance. You can't use fat at that size, I believe, and ntfs will just slow things down and/or add stress to the processor. So in terms of trying to have your cake and eat it too, keep that one in mind.
    – goldilocks
    Jan 4, 2016 at 12:17
  • 1
    Got it working, had to get a SATA connector with external power connector, but it's working (old 3.5" drive).
    – iSidle
    Jan 26, 2016 at 11:13

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