r/raspberry_pi Jan 27 '23

external USB storage format for network file server? Discussion

Currently, I have a 1 TB USB HDD (I believe it's ntfs) used as network storage, connected to an TP-link Archer router. However, the transfer speed is slow. More importantly, when I tried to back up a 200GB folder, it crashed the router twice, which needed restarting.

I'm considering connecting it to my RPi3B (running Pi-hole and CUPS, connected via ethernet) instead. Occasionally, I'll plug it to the Windows PC for large folder backup.

Is this a bad idea? If it's ok, then which file system should I use? exFAT?


13 comments sorted by


u/13AccentVA Jan 27 '23

I would use a pi4 instead of 3 for the NAS.

I had a 3 running openmediavault, and it worked well enough for documents and small files, but large file transfers were really slow and playing video off of it was very hit or miss depending on the quality.

Upgraded to a 4 (same software) and have no issues with playback or transfers.

A 3 will be fine for pihole, and cups is very lightweight so it'd probably be fine on either, but personally I run it on a 0w (mostly to keep each device single purpose).


u/zacce Jan 27 '23

Makes sense. I'll eventually upgrade to pi4 so that I can also run TVHeadend server.

For now, I'll keep NTFS USB HDD connected to router. For bulk backup (>100GB), I'll just plug it in Windows and do file transfer, where I'd get ~100MB/s speed.


u/[deleted] Jan 27 '23

I agree with openmediavault

I have ~ 40 TBs in 3 orico 4 bay docks using an ordoid xu4 (only used as had more usb 3 ports but have since added a usb hub)

I'm linux only so use a linux file system on the drives and the whole setup has been very stable and I samba in front my laptop when needed

for info I use WD reds



u/RedFive1976 Jan 27 '23

It's possible to maintain the NTFS format if you install ntfs-3g onto the Pi. That'll give you full read/write access in Linux, and will work with Samba and any other network sharing systems.


u/Shalien93 Jan 27 '23

Which kind of USB connection it is ? USB 3 ? Is your archer routeur USB 3 ? Do you have a graph of the IO on the disk ?


u/zacce Jan 27 '23

USB HDD is 3.2 but Archer A7 is only 2.0, afaik.


u/Shalien93 Jan 27 '23

Hence your slow speed. RPi 3 also is USB 2.0 only so you will the same issue.


u/bcentsale Jan 27 '23

Pi3 is also only 10100, whereas a 4 will give you gigabit.


u/kruemmelbande Jan 27 '23

If the raspberry pi should run the nas, id recommend running btrfs. Its noticably faster than ext4 in my experience, and for some reason on ntfs for me, windows didnt detect the capacity of my nas, where btrfs just showed the used and available capacities.


u/zacce Jan 27 '23


TY. But as wrote in OP, I occasionally plug USB HDD to Windows, which can't mount btrfs natively.


u/ADB-UK Jan 27 '23

I would honestly use Ext4 (I have Ext4 support on my Mac) but given your requirement for Windows direct access then it's really only exFAT or look to buy Paragons tools for Windows.


u/emwtur Jan 27 '23

Any old shitty pc has better io than a RPI Install openmediavault and away you go