Before we talk about the alternatives of the Raspberry pi, let’s take a look on the features of Raspberry. The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B packs a quad-core 900 MHz processor, 4 USB ports, a full HDMI port, 1 GB of RAM, camera and display interfaces, Ethernet port, micro SD card slot, and a GPU for graphics. It can run Linux as well as Windows 10, and costs about $35.
The first-generation Raspberry Pi is still available, but the specs are conspicuously step down from the Pi-2. Early models don’t have Ethernet ports, so users won’t be able to plug them into an internet connection. The Pi 2 is a step up in every way. Raspberry Pi is also a great board for making robots and you can find many good raspberry pi robot kit to get started.
The main reason that we look for alternatives is that a lot of boards out there that give more power. They have more ram, faster processors, more connectors, and better GPUs. Moreover, some have wifi built-in and some offer gigabit Ethernet, and a few even offer a solid amount of onboard storage.
So, if you are working on a project and you know your project will need more than the bare bones of a computer, in that case, going with another board might be a good idea. And, obviously, it’s always fun to use something that’s not monotonous.
Best Raspberry Pi Alternatives
Here are the five alternatives of Raspberry Pi that people can use.
1. Beagle Bone Black
Beagle Bone Black computer system has hardware which is open-source, low-powered, and single-board. IT is developed by Texas Instruments. It was designed with a mind of open-source development. The board comes with an AM335x 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 with 512MB DDR3 RAM, 4GB 8-bit eMMC onboard flash storage, 3D graphics accelerator, NEON floating-point accelerator,2x PRU 32-bit microcontroller a micro SD slot, and a USB host port and multipurpose device port which includes low-level serial control and JTAG hardware debugs connections.
2. The ODROID
The ODROID is a single-board computer built and designed by the Hardkernel Co Ltd, which is an open-source hardware company works in South Korea. The name ODROID is derived from Open + Android; however, the hardware is not actually open source since the design rights are held by the company. Primarily, the ODROID systems are created to run the Android OS; however, they are also able to run Linux.
Its features include a Amlogic Cortex-A5 (ARMv7) 1.5GHz quad-core CPUs, Mali-450 MP2 GPU (OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1 enabled for Linux and Android), 1Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM, Gigabit Ethernet, 40pin GPIOs, eMMC4.5 HS200 Flash Storage slot / UHS-1 SDR50 Micro SD Card slot, USB 2.0 Host x 4, USB OTG x 1, Infrared (IR) Receiver and can run Ubuntu 14.04 or Android KitKat.
3. Banana Pi
Banana Pi is often mentioned as a close alternative to the Raspberry Pi. It is a single-board computer made in China. It is flexible; it can run on Android, Ubuntu and Debian. Raspbian OS can also run, but the CPU is obliged by the requirements of the Debian Armhf port instead.
It is a quad core version of Banana Pi and a good alternative to the Raspberry Pi 2. It has support for WIFI on board. It uses a 1Ghz ARM7 quad-core processor with 1GB DDR3 SDRAM, comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port, and one of the most mentioned points is that it can easily run 1080P high-definition video output, so equally good if you are using it for home entertainment.
4. Minnow Board Max
The Minnow Board Max is for those who are looking for spec, however; it will cost you a lot more than the alternatives listed here.
The Minnow Board Max is powered by a 64-bit Atom processor, a version with a single-core 1.46GHz Atom E3815 with 1GB of DDR3 RAM is available, and a dual-core 1.33GHz Atom E3825 version with 2GB, both are 22nm parts with the code-name “Bay Trail”, and are clocked at 400MHz and the E3825’s at 533MHz in terms of Intel HD graphical support.
NanoPC-T1 is for those who are looking for a low-cost way to get into micro-computing. Its main features include, a 1.5 GHz Samsung quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of onboard storage, HDMI and audio ports, three USB ports, an Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and support for Linux and Android. It means it’s very unlikely that you come up with a project to which this system does not support.