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I am looking for a cheap way to utilize USB 3.0 speeds for my external peripherals. The latest Pi 3 model B still has USB 2.0 ports and from what I have read, until USB 3.0 prices fall, it will be a long time until it is natively built into a Pi.

That said, is there a HAT that supports USB 3.0? I understand for traditional motherboards, the motherboard either needs to support USB 3.0, or you need a spare PCI-e slot and a USB 3.0 card.

I do not know much about the GPIO pins or the architecture of the Pi in general. If the Pi is not capable of USB 3.0 speeds, I am open to other cheap alternatives including other single board computers or even other products that have USB 3.0 and can run a basic (command line/ssh) version of Linux.

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    I suggest you study the Pi's architecture. Then study the architecture of other SBCs and choose the best for your application. – joan May 9 '16 at 8:57
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No, there is not a HAT that supports USB 3.0, for a variety of reasons.

  1. The Broadcam SOC provided in the RPi only supports USB 2.
  2. The CPU itself isn't powerful enough to deal with USB 3. There is a done of overhead for USB in general. And you need a pretty powerful processor to keep up with the speed of USB 3.
  3. The RAM built into the RPi is unlikely to be fast enough, and there likely isn't enough of it to gain any benefit from USB 3.
  4. The RPi simply couldn't supply the power required to operate multiple USB 3 devices.

If truly need USB 3 speeds, the RPi is likely not a good platform for you to use. At this time, I have not seen any development boards in the RPi's price range that truly utilize USB 3. The Minnowboard Max has a USB 3 port, but it's a significant jump in price.

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The simple answer is NO :)

Pi's SoC only has USB2.0, no PCI, GPIO can not do that also. You can use USB3.0 hub then connect to the USB2.0 port. But I dont think there are any huge improvements.

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    There could not be any improvement... – goldilocks May 9 '16 at 11:37
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Finally as of June 2019, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B had been released:

RPi 4

It comes with 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 2x 4K-Display support over Micro-HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and up to 4 GB of RAM. This makes it possible to use it as a full desktop replacement if you want to. But it also powers your peripherals with USB 3 speed, as you requested.

The price seems to start from $35.

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Another option is the Odroid XU4. It has 2 USB 3.0 interfaces. I use it for my NAS and VPN.

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