Choosing external storage for Pioneer-FreedomBox

I am looking to purchase a new Pioneer-FreedomBox together with external storage from Olimex and wondering how to think about choosing between HDD and SSD storage add-ons. First would be cost, followed by speed. Increased purchase cost of SSD would presumably be mitigated somewhat by decreased running costs.

My primary intended use is to host my own website, and as a NAS for backups for me and my family, but I am excited to explore the other use cases too.

Anything else I should be taking into account before choosing between HDD and SSD?

I am running a similar setup as you intend and am using an old magnetic USB HDD as external storage with my FB. It has been up and running for a few years now, no issues. The main reason was that I had a spare I could use without purchasing a new disk. If you have this option, that’d be my recommendation.

Nowadays I would purchase an SSD instead. They usually have significantly lower power consumption and faster access speeds overall and the price difference compared to magnetic disks is not that big anymore. The power consumption may actually be important if it’s powered through USB only: If you have other peripherals connected to the Pioneer box you may need a stronger power adapter.

Cheers & HTH,

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I have both devices but currently I am only using the one with SSD. That choice was because, at some point, I was trying to use the one with HDD for something else.

With the power supply from Olimex, the one with HDD had problems (disk unmounted and remounted during writes), and other people mentioned that they solved problems with Pioneer and external disk by changing the power supply, hence I bought two 5A power supply from another vendor. I have been using the Pioneer with SSD with such a power supply for at least 6 months without any issue.

However, I have not tried the Pioneer with the HDD with that power supply so much.

I could measure the current on the Pioneer with the SSD, but I am mostly using email, quassel and radicale, so not really a NAS usage.

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Thanks for you reply.

When you say ‘both devices’ do you mean two Pioneer FreedomBoxes, one with SSD and one with HDD?

In total, I have 5 Pioneer boxes, 3 without SSD/HDD, one with SSD, one with HDD.
I am running Freedombox on two of them, in different networks.

Until my previous message, for those two, I used the Pioneer with SSD and a Pioneer without SSD. Your message made me think that, since I had no immediate plans for the Pioneer with HDD, I could move to it the microSD card with Freedombox that was in a Pioneer without SSD/HDD, so I just did. I only had to setup the local IP address in plinth (I had one manually set, for some reason, it went to automatic, so I had to reconfigure it to manual again and reboot).

So now I am also also using the Pioneer with HDD for Freedombox, but I have not moved the root filesystem to the HDD yet, I will do it soon.

EDIT: I have moved the root filesystem to the HDD, installed samba and tried making a copy of data I use on another machine, I’ll play more with it.

EDIT2: The previous system (Pioneer with HDD) was pretty stable, the new system is really not. I even just completely lost control and I screwed up the microSD card, not sure I am able to boot it again.

I would recommend using an SSD.

  • An HDD will normally produce more noise than an SSD.
    So if the FreedomBox is in a room where people stay, it is probably better to use an SSD.

  • SSDs (usually) need less energy than HDDs.
    Also: I read a few forum-posts about problems with energy-consumption when using the storage-add-on with an HDD and the power-supply that is sold with the FreedomBox Pioneer; they apparently needed to buy a different power-supply to have their FreedomBox Pioneer work without stability-problems.

  • SSDs are faster.

It is probably a good idea to consider buying the storage-add-on without a bundled storage-device (“no-disk”-option), and buying a 2.5" SATA SSD/HDD separately; it may be cheaper.

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