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What is the best Raspberry Pi 4 SD Card Size?.
This question all depends on your project scope and your particular use case. Below we have listed a few common scenarios and what our recommendations would be.
Before you Buy.
We recommend a few things before you consider buying/using an SD card on your Raspberry Pi:
- Beware of fake cards. Only buy from reputable providers like Amazon etc.
- Do not use an SD card for critical data storage. Unless you have a regular clone/backup. This is due to high fail rates on SD cards. They are not reliable enough for this type of use. Instead store critical data on an attached SSD or USB 3.0 hard drive see our guide for the best SSD or USB 3.0 external drive for the Raspberry Pi 4.
The Best SD Card Size For Coding and Learning On Your Raspberry Pi.
If you are using your Raspberry Pi 4 for learning in a none production environment like for instance you are learning electronics, python or how to use Linux then an SD card with 16GB of space should fit your purpose quite nicely.
The minimal SD Card recommended size for installing Raspberry Pi OS is 8GB. However, choosing anything below 16GB you will find once the Operating system is installed the remaining space will quickly get used up after a few projects so you may find spending that little bit extra will save you frustration in the long run.
For coding and basic learning, we recommend the following SD cards:
The Best SD Card Size For An Always On Raspberry Pi 4 Server Production Environment.
A Raspberry Pi 4 makes for an ideal affordable, compact, low-powered server solution. However, using an SD card in a server production environment can be problematic in certain scenarios.
Due to how SD Cards read and write data to the SD card over time the SD Card can start to generate data errors and this can potentially result in complete failure. In fact, if you regularly write to an SD card this will degrade its lifespan and is in fact very common for this process to completely destroy the card leaving the data stored on it unrecoverable.
So it comes down again to your use case and how often your operating system is going to write to the SD Card.
The Best SD Card Size For A NAS File Server:
If you are wanting to set up a file server with network shares mounted to folders on an external USB 3.0 hard drive which is attached to the Raspberry Pi 4 then using an SD card for this project should be completely fine.
I would recommend an SD card of 32GB for this type of environment. I would also consider buying a 2 pack which will give you a spare card for fast replacement should one develop a fault.
Here are our recommendations:
The Best SD Card Size For Server Or Application Hosting:
If you plan on using your Raspberry Pi 4 for hosting network applications either directly installed onto the operating system or using a container environment like docker then we recommend that you avoid using an SD card altogether.
Instead, use a Solid State Drive (SSD) to install your operating system and containers.
Please note that you will still need an SD card to install the operating system to an SSD drive so please bear that in mind.
Applications read and write many times to the SD card and this kind of strain will inevitably result in the SD card failing to result in data loss. Save yourself the hassle and use an SSD drive. Check out our guide here.
The Best SD Card Size For Desktop Computing:
If you are using your Raspberry Pi 4 for desktop use for instance running a full version of Raspberry Pi OS. Using an SD card might not be the best option for long-term use.
With Desktop computing you will need a higher storage capacity. This can be better achieved using an SSD drive.
You may also have all the same problems we have listed above with data storage reliability due to SD Cards having a high failure rate compared to something more efficient like an SSD drive see our guide to installing Raspberry Pi OS on an SSD drive here.
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Last update on 2023-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API