Getting Started with Raspberry Pi using the WD Labs PiDrive

Raspberry Pi Technology
Getting Started with Raspberry Pi using the WD Labs PiDrive

Make: pal and former staffer, Donald Bell, has a new tutorial on his Maker Project Lab YouTube channel showing how relatively easy it is to get a full-blown Raspberry Pi computer system up and running. Donald’s channel is sponsored by Western Digital and the video is of him unboxing and setting up their turn-key PiDrive Compute Center (just add monitor). So this is basically advertorial content, but I’ve been curious about the PiDrive since it was announced and think this video does a good job of explaining the system and basic Pi-based computing in general. The PiDrive does look like a great way for the every-maker, especially those who might be a little intimated by command-line computing, to have an out-of-box solution at a dirt-cheap price.

I love the idea of a custom-engineered (for greater power efficiency) hard drive formatted with a bunch of bootable project partisans so that you can easily switch between project spaces. For just over US$100, you get a 375GB WD HDD, a Raspberry Pi 3 (Model B), a microSD card pre-loaded with the NOOB software, a mouse, keyboard, USB cables, power adapter, and a black plastic case to hold the system. You can also get a PiDrive kit without the mouse, keyboard, etc., for as little as $16 (64GB Flash version) up to $38 for a 375GB HDD version. The PiDrive kit comes with NOOB, Raspbian PIXEL and Raspbian Light on a microSD card, and a custom USB-based Pi-to-HDD cable.

YouTube player

Donald does a really good job of covering everything from the unboxing of the Compute Center to setting up the hardware (basically plug-n-play), to installing and updating the software. One of the biggest intimidating factors for many users who aren’t hardcore computer geeks is working with a command-line interface. It really isn’t something that should intimidate too easily. After you learn a few basic commands and basic command syntax, you can do a lot. And as Donald puts it, “the general trick is to know what you want to accomplish and then ask the Internet for help.” And: “I know it can be intimating, it’s still intimidating to me… but every problem I run up against is a web search away from finding a solution.” When he have a positive approach to learning something like setting up and programming a Raspberry Pi, and you know how and are not afraid to ask for help, you really can do and learn some amazing things.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.