Raspberry Pi was a great initiative started in 2012 and helped thousands explore the power of computer with a very little investment.
It is without a doubt one of the most loved and explored maker boards.
As Raspberry Pi became popular, many companies started making clones or alternatives which are compatible with Raspberry Pi formfactor, meaning size, various interfaces like HDMI connector, USB, Ethernet, etc. ports were all same just they were using the different processor and supporting different Linux distributions.
There are so many alternates and clones of raspberry pi available in the market but a few are similar in the formfactor (Size, ports position, etc.) and have very similar features on board other than CPU.
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This article lists some of the popular Raspberry Pi alternatives (RPi formfactor) available in the market.
List of Raspberry Pi Alternatives:
1. Asus Tinker Board
Asus developed a Raspberry Pi formfactor compatible Tinker board using Rockchip RK3288. The Tinker Board offers makers, IoT enthusiasts, hobbyists, PC DIY enthusiasts and others a reliable and extremely capable platform for building and tinkering their ideas into reality.
Tinker Board features an ARM-based RK3288 SoC and is equipped with four cores to enhance multi threaded application performance. It operates at frequencies of up to 1.8GHz, improving performance across all applications. This increase in CPU core count, along with an increase in processor frequency, helps to enable significantly faster performance across a wide range of applications, extending and enhancing project capabilities. It boots OS from SD Card.
There are a lot of benchmarks mention on the product page about its performance.
2. Aeon UP Board
UP is the computer board for Professional Makers and Industrial Applications. It is powered by Intel® Atom™ x5-z8350 Processor (2M Cache, 1.44 GHz up to 1.92 GHz) CPU with 64 bit architecture; Quad Core and it has options for RAM( 1GB/ 2GB/ 4GB ) and Flash ( 16GB eMMC/ 32GB/ 64GB )
The extensive features included within UP make it the perfect solution for applications such as Robotics, Drone, Machine Vision, Smart Home, Education, Digital Signage, Intelligent Cars and Internet Of Things (IoT) solutions.
Aeon created UP board, the product, the community, and the shop to help professional makers and industrial customers create their products and be able to move to the next level: volume production. Thanks to the core of the embedded business, the UP board provides 2-years longevity and customization for the embedded customers.
Some of the key features are :
- Compatible with most of Raspberry Pi HAT
- Quad Core Intel CPU and Graphic performance
- Developer Community Support (www.up-community.org)
- Rich Linux support (Debian-Ubilinux, Ubuntu, yocto Linux)
- Windows 10 Support
- Ubiworx IoT framework with Cloud service
- Scalable IO module integration
- Industrial level product and backend Support
As per their website, they can also help with custom requirements. For more information, please check www.up-board.org
3. BananaPi BPI-M4
Banana Pi BPI-M4 use Realtek RTD1395 chp design ,it is a 64-bit quad-core A53 mini single board computer. It features 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB eMMC.
It also has onboard WiFi for b/g/n/ac and BT 4.2. On the ports side, the BPI-M4 has 4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB TYPE C port, 1x HDMI port, 1x audio jack. support M.2 Key E PCIE 2.0 interface.
Banana Pi BPI-M4 has a 40-pin GPIO header that matches that of the Model Raspberry Pi 3.
Best thing about Banana Pi board is that it has eMMC so SD card related issues are not there.
There are other Banana Pi boards which are also compatible with Raspberry Pi, see here.
4. Orange Pi PC Board (also PC2)
It’s an open source embedded linux board with AllWinner H3 Quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC, and has 1GB DDR3 SDRAM. OS is runs from the SD card.
It has Raspberry Pi formfactor and 40 pin header is also compatible.
|CPU||H3 Quad-core Cortex-A7 H.265/HEVC 4K|
|GPU||Mali400MP2 GPU @600MHz|
Supports OpenGL ES 2.0
|Memory||1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)|
|Storage||TF card (Max. 32GB) / MMC card slot|
|Network||10/100M Ethernet RJ45|
|Video Input||A CSI input connector Camera:|
Supports 8-bit YUV422 CMOS sensor interface
Supports CCIR656 protocol for NTSC and PAL
Supports SM pixel camera sensor
Supports video capture solution up to 1080p@30fps
|Video Outputs||Supports HDMI output with HDCP|
Supports HDMI CEC
Supports HDMI 30 function
Supports simultaneous output of HDMI and CVBS
|Audio Output||3.5 mm Jack and HDMI|
|Power Source||DC input can supply power, but USB OTG input don’t supply power|
|USB 2.0 Ports||Three USB 2.0 HOST, one USB 2.0 OTG|
|Low-level peripherals||40 Pins Header|
|GPIO(1×3) pin||UART, ground.|
|LED||Power led & Status led|
|Key||IR input, POWER|
|Supported OS||Android Ubuntu, Debian Image|
ROCK PI is a Single Board Computer (SBC) in an ultra-small form factor that offers class-leading performance while leveraging outstanding mechanical compatibility.
ROCK Pi has a modern and powerful hexa-core ARM based processor, RK3399 (Dual Cortex-A72, frequency 1.8Ghz with quad Cortex-A53, frequency 1.4Ghz) inside, it offers significantly improved performance versus other popular SBC boards.
All models are equipped with LPDDR4 3200 Mb/s RAM and optional high performance eMMC modules, boost all applications.
ROCK Pi features maker friendly expansion options, including a 40-pin GPIO interface that allow for interfacing with a range inputs from buttons, switches, sensors, LEDs, and much more.
ROCK Pi also features a Gbit LAN for network, with dedicated bus and controller, it works without latency under heavy load network applications. On board 802.11 ac wifi offers 2.4G&5G WLAN connectivity. With Bluetooh 5.0, ROCK Pi benefits improved Bluetooth speed and greater range.
ROCK Pi also features one USB 3.0 host and one USB 3.0 OTG ports, each 5Gbps/s, working independently. The USB 3.0 OTG can work as USB device such as Android ADB or USB gadgets. A hardware switch is provided for OTG mode switch.
6. FriendlyARM Nano Pi M4
Nani Pi M4 is a RK3399 ARM SoC based Raspberry Pi formfactor compatible board.
It has ports and interfaces compatible to Raspberry Pi 3+. It also has onboard 2.4GHz and 5Ghz Wifi and Bluetooth module, 4x USB3.0, 1x Gbit Ethernet, 1x HDMI, Audio Jack. It has GPIO 40 pin header & 24 pin connector (USB connections), dual MIPI_CSI Camera interface, 2x PCIe, USB2.0, eMMC Socket, RTC Board, etc.
Board has an option to boot from SD card or eMMC Flash memory. It support Linux-4.4-LTS & U-boot-2014.10.
Please check more details on the product page. There is also newer version Nano PI M4V2 which has LPDDR4 RAM instead of LPDDR2 and few buttons to ease the development.
7. Le Potato Libre Computer
Libre Computer is the only solutions provider with key expertise in both hardware design and upstream free-open-source software (FOSS) stack for Amlogic’s GXL SoC family including S805X, S905D, S905W, S905X, and S912. This SoC family features the Amlogic Video Engine 10 (AVE10) capable of handling H.265, H.264, and VP9 streams with HDR metadata making it ideal for 4K digital signage on mainline Linux and the latest Android 9.0 Pie.
- Form Factor Compatible with Raspberry Pi® 2/3 Model B/B+
- Quad 64-bit Low Power Cores
- Penta Core 3D GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0
- Amlogic Video Engine (AVE10)
- HDMI 2.0 with 4K HDR support
- Up to 2GB DDR3
ROCK64 is a small size Single Board Computer powered by Rockchip RK3328 Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor and support up to 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 memory. It provides an eMMC module socket, MicroSD Card slot, Pi-2 Bus, Pi-P5+ Bus, USB 3.0 and many others peripheral devices interface for makers to integrate with sensors and devices.
Various Operating Systems are made available by open source community and partner projects including numerous Linux Distributions, Android, *BSD and many more to come.
The ROCK64 4GB board is designated as LTS (Long Term Supply), which means that PINE64 is committed to supply it for at least 5 years – until year 2022 and beyond.
- Rockchip RK3328 Quad-Core SOC with Mali 450MP2
- LPDDR3 RAM (up to 4GB)
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Micro SD Slot
- eMMC Module Slot
- SPI Flash 128Mbit
- 4K Digital Video Out
- 2x USB 2.0 Host
- 1x USB 3.0 Host
- PI-2 Bus
- PI-P5+ BUS
- IR R/X Port
- Real Time Clock Port (RTC)
- Power Over Ethernet (POE) (when using optional HAT module)
- A/V Jack
- Power, Reset and Recovery buttons
- 3.5″ Barrel Power (5V 3A) Port
9. iWave RZ/G1C Board
iWave’s RZ/G1C Raspberry Pi compatible SBC is based on Renesas Dual/Solo core ARM Cortex A7 CPU cores operating @1GHz speed. This board can be used for quick prototyping of various applications targeted by the low power RZ/G1C processor having built in PowerVR SGX531 3D Graphics core.
The ODROID-C2 is a 64-bit Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A53 quad-core raspberry pi compatible single board computer (SBC).
- Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A53(ARMv8) 1.5Ghz quad core CPUs
- Mali™-450 GPU (3 Pixel-processors + 2 Vertex shader processors)
- 2 Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM
- Gigabit Ethernet
- HDMI 2.0 4K/60Hz display
- H.265 4K/60FPS and H.264 4K/30FPS capable VPU
- 40 pin GPIOs + 7 Pin I2S
- eMMC5.0 HS400 Flash Storage slot / UHS-1 SDR50 MicroSD Card slot
- USB 2.0 Host x 4, USB OTG x 1 (power + data capable)
- Infrared(IR) Receiver
- Ubuntu 16.04 or Android 6.0 Marshmallow based on Kernel 3.14LTS
11. ROCK Pi X
ROCK PI X is a raspberry pi compatible board using Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail, 64 bit quad-core X86 processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo), it also has Intel Gen8 HD graphics running at 500 MHz.
The features which are different than Raspberry Pi would be USB 3.0, onboard RTC and wide power supply input(5 – 20V). Board will support Linux and Windows 10.
At the moment there is no product page but information is available on their wiki.
If you are planning to use Raspberry Pi in your product development I recommend you to read this article which will give you an idea why maker boards like these are not recommended for commercial or industrial products.
I am not discouraging you to use these boards but want to make you aware of the shortcomings they have.
Raspberry Pi Compute Module could be a choice for make commercial product, read about advantage and some limitations of raspberry pi compute module here.
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Any suggestion or comments, let me know here. Read my other articles on embedded system design.
Happy learning to you!
Which one of these will be able to properly work with the new raspberry pi camera module 3?