Raspberry Pi 3 with external hard drive best practice?

I’ve dug around the forums a bit, but haven’t been able to find the answers to my questions. I recently ordered a Raspberry Pi 3, and a Western Digital PiDrive, and am wondering what the best setup would be.

Is it best to install OSMC onto the PiDrive (as WD intended), or to install OSMC onto the SDcard, and use the PiDrive strictly for data?

The Pi will be used as an OSMC media center (pulling from various streaming sources, in addition to local content), but possibly with downloads happening in the background, and with a file server running so that people on the home network can transfer their media over.


Well there are debates around it, so just three comments:

  1. My suggestion is to have OSMC complete on the SD Card and Data on the Drive
  2. Everything that is connected to the USB port (the drive) will compete with the Ethernet connection on bandwidth on the USB bus
  3. Ensure that you have a quality SD Card Samsung or Sandisk

Personally, my current setup is using SD card for OSMC, external drive for data. But I’ve thought going to external drive for all.

If you think about it, once up and running the OS doesn’t do much read/write to the drive. It’s the media that uses the USB Bandwidth, so the theory that having the OS on the USB drive doesn’t really work for me. The OS uses the bandwidth most on bootup.

  1. The main reason I ask is that, as I understand it, SDcards don’t handle read/write quite as well as HDs, and the buffering may cause the SDcard to fail; is it possible to change the cache location within OSMC?

  2. That I’m aware of (and was hoping would be solved with the Pi3, but wouldn’t be an issue in my setup (except when transferring media to the drive from networked computers).

  3. Already done.

In my case, it would; streaming sources would need to use the SDcard/HDD for cache; and that’s where I am torn.

You have a 1G RAM, if you don’t buffer to extreme you should be fine doing it in RAM

Even nominal buffering is “extreme” seeing as how Kodi (and thus OSMC) buffer both ahead, and behind, of your current viewing point; that, and the RAM is shared with the GPU, so it’s not a full gig.

Are you aware of any +/- to installing on the SDcard, vs installing on the HD; or if it’s possible to change the cache location to the HD? I’m still waiting on all of the parts to arrive, so I haven’t played around yet; but I’d rather have my setup nailed down before they arrive, so that I can just get to it.