Saturday, May 25, 2019

Raspberry Pi Alternatives

Probably the most well-known single board computers out there, Raspberry Pi strikes a fine balance between usability and performance.

The microcomputer has become the next huge thing among enthusiasts across the globe. The latest version of the Raspberry Pi model has 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core processor, a display interface, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a micro SD card slot, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, dual-band wireless LAN, faster Ethernet and a full HDMI port.

raspberry pi alternatives

Even though it is not the most compact and powerful option but with Raspberry Pi you can perform computer based functions such as develop software, mine cryptocurrency, gaming, etc. at small price when compared to commercial equipments.

While Raspberry Pi does extremely well in the performance aspect, it still leaves a lot of room for other single boards to tweak the formula. There are plenty of alternatives to Raspberry Pi which can offeryou better features such as more power, better GPUs and more RAM.. In this post we will guide you through a few of such alternatives that are available in the market now.

Asus Tinker Board

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Asus Tinker Board is a robust, small yet powerful hardware. Asus is one of the largest computer manufacturing companies and the world and the name itself speaks a lot. Specification wise, Asus Tinker Board is almost similar to Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.  The price however, is a little on the higher end. However, it has a faster system-on-chip and double the RAM as compared to Raspberry Pi.

Specifications for Asus Tinker Boards:

  • 1.8GHz quad-core RockChip CPU 
  • 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 4K Video
  • Mali T764 GPU
  • 192k/24bit audio playback
  • Four USB 2.0 Ports
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4
  • An HDMI output
  • Gigabit Ethernet

The Tinker Board is a better alternative for Raspberry Pi when it comes to features because it has a more powerful processor. Even though it consumes a bit more power that Raspberry Pi but that would be a huge issue This microcomputer is customisable too and would be pretty good choice for its speed and performance.

Orange Pi Prime

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Orange Pi Prime is almost identical to Raspberry Pi in terms of specifications and features. It runs on various operating systems which include Android and Linux both. This single board PC is compact and affordable with impressive features and vast range of applications.

Specifications for Orange Pi Prime:

  • H5 quad-core Cortex A53 CPU.
  • 1GbE LAN port.
  • 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 40-pin GPIO Header
  • Mali-450 GPU
  • 2K Video
  • Bluetooth 4
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • Micro SD card slot
  • HDMI output

ODroid XU4

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When compares to Raspberry Pi, the ODroid XU4 is smaller in size which makes it more compact. It has a more dynamic and energy efficient hardware. ODroid XU4 can run several favours of Android (such as Android 4.4 Kit Kat) and Linux (e.g. Ubuntu 16.04)

Specifications for ODroid XU4:

  • Samsung Exynos5422 Cortex-A15 at 2.0 GHz and Cortex-A7 Octa-core CPU
  • Mali-T628 MP6
  • 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • HDMI 1.4a
  • USB 3.0 support
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 5V/4A Power input

These amazing features give ODroid XU4 a lightning fast data transfer speed which lets the users enjoy an upgrade in computing with rapid webs browsing , booting and 3D games.

Onion Omega2 Plus

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Onion Omega2 plus runs the Linux Embedded Development Environment operating system, a distribution based on OpenWRT. This Wi-Fi development board is designed with the purpose to enable makers to build connected hardware applications. Omega2 Plus can boot the operating system immediately, thus reducing the time to get started.

Specifications for Omega 2 Plus:

  • 580 MHz MIPS CPU
  • 32 MB storage
  • 128 MB memory 
  • Micro SD Slot
  • 3.3V Operating Voltage
  • 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 
  • USB 2.0
  • 18 GPIOs
  • 10M/100M wired Ethernet 

The price, outstanding features, small form, power efficiency, flexibility, processing and encryption capabilities make it perfect for Internet of Things Projects. You can create plenty of web applications and develop any programming language such as Python, GoLang, Rust, etc. with minimal effort and time with Omega2 Plus. To explants the functionality, you also have the option to buy various docks and add-ons. The only drawback with Omega2 Plus is that it does not have a mini HDMI port.

Pine H64 Model B

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Pine H64 Model B has similar price range as of the latest version of Raspberry Pi; however it is more powerful and compact. It is an upgrade to the previous Pine H64 Model A, with lots of improvement such as support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This version has double the memory of Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ which is the main selling point for this single-board computer. It also features a mini PCIe connector, 4K video playback, a 3.5mm headphone and mic plug and huge memory.

Pine H64 Model B supports Armbian and Android 7.0 operating systems. It is perfect for use as a developer board for different software and hardware projects.

Specifications for Pine H64 Model B

  • Quad-core, Arm Cortex A53-based processor
  • Mali-T720 MP2
  • 128MB SPI Flash Memory
  • 2GB LPDDR3
  • HDMI 2.0a output
  • Micro SD Card
  • eMMC support
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2*20 pin GPIO Connector

NanoPi  M4

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NanoPi M4 is more expensive than Raspberry Pi but comes with outstanding features. It is a compact platform for fast product prototyping which includes both commercial and industrial applications. It supports Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop, Lubuntu 16.04, Android 7.1 and Lubuntu Desktop.

Specifications for NanoPi M4

  • 2GHz 64-bit dual-core Cortex-A72 Connector and 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A53
  • 4GB LPDDR3 and 2GB DDR3-1866
  • HDMI 2.0 Type A port
  • Mali-T864
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • RPi compatible 40-pin connector
  • eMMC socket
  • RTC port
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • PCIe*2
  • USB 2.0

The RK3399 hardware provides a decent performance which is suitable for running apps, watching 4K videos and surfing the web. So, NanoPi M4 is suitable of you are going to use it as a mini PC.

Rock64

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The Rock64 beats Raspberry Pi with the amazing speed and attractive price. The Rockchip RK3328 is faster than Raspberry’s processor and also you get double the RAM in almost half the price with Rock64. Moreover, it is capable of handling 4K video at 60fps.

Specifications for Rock64

  • RK3328 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU
  • Mali-450 MP2 GPU 
  • USB3.0 host port
  • 128MB SPI Flash
  • eMMC socket
  • HDMI out capable of 4K at 60Hz
  • 3.5mm A/V Jack
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Standard Pi2 GPIO header

The only downside is the lack of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; otherwise this single board computer is a solid competitor to the latest version of Raspberry Pi with a vibrant community and huge application support.

Wrapping up

Raspberry Pi has been an undisputed champion when it comes to single board computers and most of the credit goes to its huge community support. Many competitors are trying to roll out better alternatives for Raspberry at a furious pace and cheaper price every year. You can find a lot more options in the market, such as Pocket Beagle, Le Potato, BBC micro: bit, PixiePro, etc. However, the ones that we have discussed fall in every price range and you will find one that suits your need. we hope this post was helpful in letting you make a decision.

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