Reliable setup - alternatives to SD cards on RPi 3?

Hi all,

Does anyone have thoughts or experience with alternatives for SD cards for Volumio on the Pi 3?

In little over a year, my Raspberry Pi 3 running exclusively Volumio has corrupted three SD cards - all 16 Gb, class 10 cards from either Sandisk or Samsung. Yesterday was the third one. Out of the blue, Volumio was inaccessible (also via SSH) and remained so after several reboots. After a reboot it started in the setup wizard again. Then after setting it up it seemed to get stuck in an infinite boot loop judging by the status LEDs. The exact same thing happened after re-flashing the card, also with a different power supply.
In GParted it showed that one of the partitions had errors. A badblocks analysis found a few hundred thousand (!) bad blocks on the card that is only several months old.

It is well-known that the use of SD cards is the weak point of many SBC designs, but for most people it is stable for extended periods.
In my case Volumio is running 24/7, and playing several hours per day. I also thought 16 Gb would be enough headroom to compensate any wear of the card. Apparently not.

So I’m looking for a more reliable alternative on my RPi 3 (other than buying an ODroid C2 with eMMC storage). The RPi3 should allow to boot directly from a USB drive, but there is plenty of discussion whether this is more reliable since it’s the same technology as SD cards.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

If you want rock-solid and reliable operations go with Tinkerboard S. We found it suitable for proessional applications.

BTW, we optimized Volumio as much as possible against SD Card corruption and we have several systems on the field working since years. 90% of issues and corruption are due to low quality power supply: use one which outputs exactly 5V under load and that can supply at least 2,5 A and you’ll be fine

Thanks for the clear story, michelangelo.

I like the Tinkerboard, but it’s quite a bit pricier than an RPi 3. Future upgrade…
As for the power supply, I have a dedicated RPi power supply designed to maintain 5.2V output at 2A load. I might just swap it for my beefy 5V/5A power supply to test.

Just ordered two Samsung Evo Plus 32 Gb cards and the official RPi 5.1V/2.5A power supply (I needed an extra one anyway). Let’s see if it is more stable.

I’m also looking for a linear power supply to power the Schiit DAC seperately. That should minimize any power dips, even though it’s power consumption and spikes are minimal. I think with that I’ve taken all the steps possible to get the most reliable setup possible with an RPi 3.