FriendlyElec NanoPi M4: The Raspberry Pi alternative can now be used as a NAS for just US$25 thanks to a new HAT expansion board
The NanoPi M4 is a powerful alternative to the Raspberry Pi, which Friendly Elec equips with a hexa-core Rockchip RK3399 SoC and 2 GB or 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. As usual for single-board computers, the NanoPi M4 has numerous ports for use in various projects. The device is powerful enough for use not only in craft projects but also as network memory.
FriendlyElec has now released a new HAT expansion board that it has specifically designed for the NanoPi M4 to allow it to become a NAS. The company has based the SATA HAT on a Marvell 88SE9215 chip and has integrated four SATA ports that can run at up to 6 GBit/s. FriendlyElec cools the Marvell 88SE9215 with a custom heatsink that attaches via two mounting holes.
There are also two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, a fan connector for active cooling, a 12 V power in and two GPIO connectors on the rear. Moreover, the HAT can power up to four 3.5-inch HDDs via a 4-pin SATA power out and incorporates individual status LEDs for each SATA connection. There is a power key and a jumper too should you need to use it.
The SATA HAT for the NanoPi M4 will work with FriendlyCore 18.04 (64-bit), FriendlyDesktop 18.04 (64-Bit) and Lubuntu 16.04 (64-bit), according to FriendlyElec. The expansion board weighs just 33 g and is currently available for US$25.