This would be my first attempt at purchasing and using the pi for any use-case. I am attempting to build a full bitcoin node using raspberry pi (which is I/O heavy). I plan to purchase the a.) motherboard (Pi 3), b.) case with fan, power adapter, and c.) USB HDD ~250 or 500GB. Two questions

  1. Does the rPi need a microSD to boot, or can a USB HD work?

  2. Will microSD cards available online meant for phone cameras work as intended on the system?

  3. There seem to be microSD of 256GB available for ~20$. I was curious if i can go with just a microSD and avoid the USB HDD.

I want to optimize for physical space over performance (but obviously performance should not degrade to a point where it doesn't serve its purpose).


1) The Raspberry Pi 3B+ can reliably boot from USB HDDs and pendrives. The 3B has slight reliability issues. All other models always need an SD card to boot at all.

2) Yes. Please note that normal class ratings are not meaningful for Linux systems (Class 4, Class 10 , UHS etc.) The newer "Application Performance Class" ratings are probably much more useful to predict card performance under Linux (random I/O !).

3) Yes, but that price is absurdly low and a sure sign of a counterfeit card. Counterfeit cards are common. Do not cheap out !

  • Thank you. And finally if you have any recommendations for microSDs and USB HDDs, do post them as a comment reply. – noi.m May 21 '18 at 18:50
  • If you have further questions, ask further questions ;) Comments are meant to clarify answers. Please note that shopping suggestions are off-topic here. A dedicated shopping suggestion SA exists for that reason. – flakeshake May 22 '18 at 8:22

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