Blazing-fast storage in a tiny footprint.
One of the best additions to PCs over the last 10 years might be NVMe m.2 SSDs. It allows us to reach storage writing and reading speeds that are impossible with SATA-based storage, with the PCI Express interface being the only real bottleneck for drive performance. The Raspberry Pi 5 was the first generation of the tiny board to actually support M.2 SSDs, but it doesn’t have the full-size lot, which is where an adapter can help.
The Mcuzone MPS2280 is a HAT (short for hardware attached on top, although there’s a pun that could be made here) that lets you add an m.2-2280 to your Raspberry Pi 5. It’s a board that sits on top of your device, takes barely any space, and has just enough space for connecting an ultra-fast SSD to your Pi. Just screw the board in to secure it in place (the screws or other optional accessories are apparently sold separately) and you can just slot in the SSD just like you would install it on a regular PC—put it on the slot, then screw in the tiny screw that comes with it to secure it in place. It supports drives with Gen 2 or Gen 3 speeds, so make sure to not overspend on a Gen 4/Gen 5 drive if you’re getting it for a Pi.
It’s very convenient since it doesn’t just hang from the computer or take up any significant extra space, but it’s just a tiny, thin board that sits on top of your Pi. The ports are not obstructed, and you still have space to put a heatsink on your Pi under this board without it interfering. The 40-pin GPOIO connector is also still accessible. The board technically has only enough space for an m.2-2280 drive, but if you want to go bigger than this, there’s even two holes that let you zip-tie a bigger m.2-22110 drive in place if you want to do that. Clearance might be a concern if you want to throw the Pi into a case with a humongous 22110 drive, but if that’s not a problem for you, it’ll be fine for use.
The HAT is available for $7 on AliExpress, and it’s a great addition to any Pi, although be mindful that you might have to buy other accessories separately.