Raspberry Pi: that $35 microcomputer is undisputed when one talks about single board computers. Through its ability to perform regular PC- based functions; ticking all the boxes when you consider performance, price, and usability at the cost — it has amassed enthusiasts around the globe. And its success, has opened the door for a lot of imitators, or if you will, competitors.
At $35, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B clocks in with the following specs:
64-bit (quad-core) ARM Cortex A53 processor, clocked @ 1.2 GHz
1GB of RAM and a 400Hz Dual Core VideoCore IV GPU.
Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
4 USB 2.0 ports and MicroSD support.
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Based on the specs above, let’s explore the alternatives to Raspberry Pi.
1. ODroid XU4 ($89)
The compact ODroid XU4 features a fan-cooled Samsung Exynos 5422 (Cortex-A15 at 2.0GHz and Cortex-A7 Octa-core) CPU together with a Mali T-628 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The XU4 can run various flavors (or versions) of Android, including Android KitKat (4.4), Lollipop (5.0), and Nougat (7.1). It is also able to run Ubuntu 16.04 and other versions of Linux.
Its Gigabit Ethernet interface ensures it delivers fast data transfer speeds. It also comes with support for USB 3.0.
2. Asus Tinker Board ($57.45)
The Asus Tinker Board is considered to be a clone of the Raspberry Pi as it takes after it from the form factor with the same layout, size, feature set, and the 40-pin connector that the Raspberry Pi 3 model B has. However, the Tinker Board has the edge over the Raspberry Pi.
The specs are as follows:
64-bit (quad-core) ARM SoC clocked @ 1.8GHz,
Mali T764 GPU and the 2GB RAM,
4K video support and 192k/24bit audio playback support.
3. Banana Pi-M64 ($52)
The 64-bit Banana Pi M64 sports a dual-core Mali 400 GPU, a 1.2GHz octa-core processor, and a 2GB RAM with 8GB of onboard storage expandable via microSD.
The M64 has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, as well as support for 1080p video playback and two USB ports.
4. NanoPi NEO4 ($45)
The NanoPi NEO4 is a six-core single board computer. The specs area Rockchip RK3399 (64-bit dual-core Cortex A72 + Quad-core Cortex A53) processor coupled with a Mali-T864 GPU. It comes with USB 3.0 support as well as support for 4K video playback via HDMI 2.0. Also, it has Gigabit Ethernet ports for speedy data transfers. However, its 1GB RAM is a disappointment.
5. Rock 64 ($35)
The Rock64 single-board microcomputer has a 4GB variant that utilizes the ARM Cortex A53 64-bit processor. It is capable of handling 4K video at 60fps. It also comes with a 40-pin GPIO header which that can be useful in DIY projects.